Tuesday, April 8, 2008

When To Use A Blog and When To Use A Wiki

As we are working on deploying wikis and blogs inside The Firm, we have been working on ways to explain these tools. Most of the lawyers have heard the terms, but are not familiar with the tools.

One question that arises in the difference between a blog and a wiki. The distinction between the two becomes less clear inside the enterprise.

Mark Miller at endusersharepoint.com put it beautifully when he said:
Blogs are great when one person is trying to communicate to a team or group. Think of a blog as pushing out information from a single source to anyone who is willing to listen, “one-to-many”. The listener has the ability to participate in the communication through comments, but the main direction of the message is controlled by the person writing the blog posts. . .

By the very nature of wikis, many people will be adding content and that content can be consumed by any number of readers, “many-to-many”. At first, it seems like a free-for-all, but in an intranet situation, it is extremely useful for letting content experts participate by contributing in their area of expertise. In general, someone sets the basic beginning structure of the wiki by creating a table of contents and some starter pages. From there, user generated content drives the expansion of the wiki, based upon the needs of the participating audience.

Simple test: one or two people providing content, use a blog; many people providing content, use a wiki.


  1. Doug - Thank you for the feedback. That section of the SharePoint 101: Tricks and Traps book has really found an audience.

    Because of the amount of paperwork a law firm generates and consumes, finding electronic ways to control the information flow within a firm has become mandatory. Email is no longer capable of acting as the central communication vehicle for critical information, its trackng and archiving.

    Blogs and wikis are extremely efficient resources for handling the day-to-day communications within a company.

    A wiki is the perfect mechanism for managing policies and procedures that are across boundries within the company.

    Blogs are currently being used to communicate and update staff about continuing issues on specific cases. Because a blog contains the ability to filter the articles by user defined categories, cases of the same type can be managed in a single blog and then cross referenced through the categories and tagging.

    I always find it useful to hear about Case Studies, so if you'd like to post on my blog, EndUserSharePoint.com talking about how you have used a wiki or blog in your company, I would find that interesting.


  2. Mark -

    Thanks for your thoughts. It is great to have info for selling the tools.

    We just launched blogs and wikis on Sharepoint 2007. I will have lots of user stories coming out.

  3. Thanks for your thoughts. It is great to have info for selling the tools.


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