Thursday, March 01, 2007

Traction Software, Inc. | Blog372: What is a Blog? A Wiki?

Timely snapshot from Jordan Frank of Traction Software. 

Despite years of debate, constructive discussion and an occasional flame war as well as scores of wikipedia edits, there remains ambiguity and disagreement on "what is a blog" and "what is a wiki." In a series talks at KMWorld, Burton Group’s Catalyst Conference, IQPC’s IntranetWeek and others over the last year, I've offered my own definition. So, here goes my attempt at a baseline set of definitions, with a bit of historical context.

Read the full post for historical context and insights.  Jordan eventually notes:

And that, finally, brings me to a baseline definition for both blogs and wikis:

A system for posting, editing, and managing a collection of hypertext pages (generally pertaining to a certain topic or purpose)...

Blog: ...displayed as a set of pages in time order...

Wiki: ...displayed by page as a set of linked pages...

...and optionally including comments, tags or categories or labels, permalinks, and RSS (or other notification mechanisms) among other features.

Both "blog" and "wiki" style presentations can make pages editable by a single individual or editable by a group (where group can include the general public, people who register, or a selected group). In the enterprise context, more advanced version control, audit trail, display flexibility, search, permission controls, and IT integration hooks may also be present.

I agree with many of Jordan's points, but I think the fundamental model for both blogs and wikis starts with (collections of) information items, not hypertext pages.  I also think the primary difference between a blog and a wiki is that a blog is an asynchronous communication channel, while a wiki is a workspace designed to facilitate content-based asynchronous collaboration (joint, purposeful activity).  The boundaries are increasingly blurry, however, e.g., with blog tools that support in-context discussion/comment threads, and wiki tools that offer XML syndication (RSS and/or Atom) views, including time-ordered views of information item activity in the wiki (views which tend to look a lot like blogs...).

Source: Traction Software, Inc. | Blog372: What is a Blog? A Wiki?

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