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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blog or Wiki?

The other day, I received the following question in a comment on this blog.

I work of a medium size company (200 employees).I want to create either a Wiki or Blog to share training tips. For example, as a new system rolls-out, I want to set-up a place to share tips, questions, and discoveries, with search capabilities. Do you have any suggestions on the best method (Wiki or Blog) and what product?
To me, the scenario that you described would be best served with a wiki. The wiki allows for multiple people to share tips and to all contribute their discoveries and ideas in a single location.

I suggest you set up contribution "standards" so everyone understands the best method for contributing to the wiki. Include examples and start the wiki so people don't come to the wiki and see a blank page.

Also, when you do face-to-face training classes, go to the wiki and enter and look up information. Get trainees comfortable with going to the wiki to find information.

Your desire to use to share data within your training department and organization is similar to how it is being done at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through the use of a wiki. (here is some of the content taken from my book to describe what they are dong.)

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education, and patient service, is employing a wiki to share best practices. With 66 chapters spread across the United States and Canada, the Society has unique opportunities and issues in the dissemination and implementation of best practices.

In addition to the geographically dispersal of its operations, the Society also faces staff turnover, varying levels of computer expertise and the need to disseminate information in a manner compatible with existing computer systems.

The Society's eMarketing team, which consists of staff ranging in age and abilities from gamers to baby boomers, worked together to employ a wiki to share best practices among chapters. The wiki provides a central location for best practices and an easy-to-use interface that anyone with typing and some minimal search capabilities can master. It is paying off in terms of building a knowledge base and the ability to provide best practices and training on a dime, according to Marty Siederer, the Society's senior director of training and customer service, Siederer provides training for the organization's content management, mass email distribution and online fundraising systems.

“The wiki gives us a method to connect our staff to best practices and much needed resources. Staff can share feedback and techniques," said Siederer. “We can instantly post and share best practices or training information to all of our staff members simply and easily. With the implementation of the wiki, we are able to post our resources electronically and reallocate the funds that would have been used to print manuals and training materials towards the Society's ultimate goals: cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, and improving the quality of life for patients and their families.”
Also see, Adopting Social Media in Your Organization? A Few Considerations.

Also, check out Webinar Resources where I provide a number of videos and links to some of the wiki software I use.

I have used Wikispaces and PBWiki and WetPaint. My favorite for ease-of-use and layout is Wikispaces. My favorite for support materials and informaiton is PBwiki. All of these wiki software are similar in functionality and you can't go wrong with any of these choices.

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Matt W said...

Agreed - a blog would definitely be the wrong choice of technology here. I've been using a wiki for EditMe's support site since the company's inception. There are two actions I attribute to the wiki's success:

1) I always send a link to the appropriate wiki page when answering a question. This lets the customer know the wiki exists and shows that the answer is there.

2) Whenever I get a question that isn't on the wiki, I add it. Over time, this has created a very complete knowledgebase. Slap a big search box on the home page, and customers can find their answer quickly and easily.

Karl Kapp said...


Great ideas. Thanks for the post. Really like your idea of building a "database" of frequently asked questions in the wiki.