I am looking at some technologies to enable a local virtual community of kids (teens and tweens) who love to develop Flash animations, write and play online games.
So as part of that project I installed TikiWiki on my server earlier this week. It’s only one of many wiki apps that are available in the open source community (you can find a comprehensive listing here), but I picked it because my hosting provider has that listed as one of the wiki apps that I could auto-install on my server.
I was stunned by the richness of the application. Not only does this Wiki come with a blogging module (and a WYSIWYG editor), it also comes with a forum module, a chat module and a ton of other modules too lengthy to list here (here is their home page).
These experiences just strengthen my conviction that the combination of wikis and blogs make for a very potent community platform – both inside the firewall and outside. Combine wikis and blogs with a smart rss reader (note my affiliation with BlogBridge) which enables the discovery of content and the ability to tag, blog or “wikitize” some of that content and you end up with a great virtual work environment. Not only that, I think that you may end up with a functioning knowledge management solution.
Remember that? Knowledge management (KM) has been one of those IT holy grails that many companies spent tons of money on – often times in vain. I do think (if you still have the energy) that these new technologies may actually work for your KM initiatives. KM fell flat on its face because it was dictated from the top down and because it was not fully integrated with people’s real work. With rss readers, tagging capabilities, wikis and blogs, we’re turning that upside down. If deployed properly they can be totally integrated with people’s work – which means people will use the tools. And a wiki/blog/rss reader based KM initiative would be grass roots instead of top down (think wikipedia inside your organization)!