Monday, December 17, 2007

Off and Running

We’re off and running with the Wiki. It’s installed and running like a dream. Now we are dealing with the task of writing the content which is turning out to be quite a task. I have no prior Wiki experience and I was under the impression that I could just copy and paste sections of training manuals that I have written into the Wiki and have it ready to go in no time. Little did I know that Wikis have a whole language of their own. With the help of a cheat sheet I picked up the Wiki formatting language pretty quickly and I am basically copy and pasting a line at a time then adding the formatting.

So far we have written about 20 articles and I really like how it is all laying out. We’ve been playing around with the categories which appear to be a huge factor in user friendliness. From my small amount of Wiki experience I have learned that if the Wiki is going to be effective then it will need to be constantly maintained and updated. I know the whole idea behind a Wiki is that the users will keep it maintained and updated but let’s get real here; very few people will be able to see the big picture of the Wiki. It is going to be crucial to have a team of people that understand the big picture and can keep the contents maintained so that it is well structured.
This has lead me to the idea of starting a Wiki team that not only maintains the Wiki but does most of the writing of new articles and updating of older articles. Due to the formatting language it doesn’t seem feasible to have just anybody doing this. The average user will have no idea what commands they need to enter for headings, etc. I envision having a team of “Wikivangelists” that maintain a watch list for certain subjects. I can take experts from different areas of the company and train them on the Wiki so that they can be responsible for their area.

Before I get started on developing my team of “Wikivangelists” I need to get some more content pumped out. Once I get a good base of content I will be able to help potential “Wikivangelists” get an idea of the overall big picture.

Next Steps:

  • Keep pumping out content – Once I get a base of content, it will all start coming together.
  • Advertise – Once the content is there I need to advertise it. I am going to have a Wiki naming contest, scavenger hunt, and make a “Wikivangelist Wanted” ad.
  • Develop – Develop team of “Wikivangelist” and get them fired up about it. Think of possible name for role other than “Wikivangelist.” Wiki Guru or something?

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