“While dot-coms and blogs have hogged the spotlight, an intriguing bit of software called Wiki actually deserves the gold medal for best trust-building tool,” writes Peter Morville.
In a Wiki, anyone can edit (or delete) any page or create a new page. This is the ultimate in decentralized content management.
I first encountered the wacky-world-of-wiki several years ago when EricScheid launched the IAwiki. I checked it out and wrote it off as too messy, too bottom-up, and too vulnerable to virtual vandalism.
However, the IAwiki has evolved into an amazing resource for the community and a living experiment in emergence and socially constructed navigation. Eric’s trust led to creation of a public good.
My second Wiki encounter came during the formative stages of AIfIA. While some of us met briefly at the lovely refuge by the sea known as Asilomar, most of the collaboration leading to creation of this new organization happened via email and the AsilomarWiki.
In fact, we used the AsilomarWiki as a private fund-raising tool, creating an IndividualCommitments page, where each of us could pledge to donate money to cover the legal and accounting costs associated with incorporation of a nonprofit organization.
It felt scary to manage money in such a fluid medium, and yet this mutual openness and vulnerability led to a strong sense of shared trust. We raised several thousand dollars in less than 24 hours, and a few months later, AIfIA was born.
So, now that I’ve transformed from cranky skeptic to true believer, I’d love to see more people discover the wisdom of the wiki. That’s why I was excited when Ed Vielmetti and some other smart people formed a startup called Socialtext to help organizations take advantage of wikis, weblogs, and other social software solutions.
I’m glad to see so much innovation in the realms of web credibility research, social network analysis, and social software design. There’s lots to learn and lots to share. I hope to be traveling on trust for many years to come.