Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What is the Difference Between a Blog and a Wiki?

Here is a frequent question I receive when I talk about wikis and blogs:

"What is the Difference Between a Blog and a Wiki?".

The obvious place to start is defining each:

Here is Wikipedia's definition of blog and wiki.

In short, a blog is a "website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in reverse chronological order".

A wiki is "a website that allows visitors to add, remove, edit, and change content...and allows for linking among any number of pages".

Blogs and wikis share some common traits:

  • They are both websites.
  • They are both user-generated (the content of blogs and wikis is created by the actual people who use the blogs or wikis.)
  • They both allow users to comment on the content.
What are wikis better at than blogs:
What are blogs better at than wikis:
  • Blogs are better at quickly sharing new information.
  • Blogs are better at starting and maintaining a dialog between the publisher and reader.
What are some common misconceptions about wikis:
  • A wiki is limited as an encyclopedia-type tool. Not true. Because Wikipedia is so entrenched as the shining example of what a wiki is, many people make the assumption that you can only use a wiki to create some sort of list of definitions. A new wiki is a blank slate.
  • Anyone in the world can edit every wiki. Not true. You can password protect your wiki so that only select people can add, edit, change the content.
  • Once content is changed, it is lost forever, making it susceptible to intentional or unintentional loss of information. Not true. Every rendition of a wiki page is saved. If something happens, simply change back to any past version of the page.
What are some common misconceptions about blogs:
  • A blog is just a diary. Not true. While online journals and early blogging seemed to focus more on diary-type writing, today's blogs are more varied. Blogs can focus on politics, food, travelling, technology tips, whatever.
  • Only one person can author a blog. Not true. You can set it up so that as many people can publish information on a blog. Readers will be notified who authored each post.
Or, to sum it all up, as the blog Common Craft states in it's post "Introduction to Stocks and Flows: Weblogs, Wikis, and RSS", a blog is a flow of information. A wiki is a place to stock information.

Or look at it another way. In a workplace setting, a blog replaces the bulletin board. A wiki replaces the binder-manuals.

1 comment:

ARader said...

The analogy with the bulletin board and the binder manual clicked. Thanks