Michael Wangbickler on August 29th, 2008

What is a Wiki?
A wiki is a collection of reference web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses them to contribute or modify content. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. The collaborative encyclopedia, Wikipedia, is one of the best-known wikis. Wikis are used in business to provide intranets and Knowledge Management systems. Open editing allows everyday users to create and edit any page in a wiki site thus encouraging democratic collaboration and promoting content composition by non-expert users.

How does this apply to us?
Collaboration and interaction. The whole point of a Wiki is to enable people, all people, to come together. Which means, for the PR practitioner, Wikis have three great uses: internal collaboration, client information, and public forums.

PR is nothing if not teamwork. I picked up this analogy somewhere in the blogosphere: think of a Wiki as a whiteboard. You write something on the board. Someone else comes along and edits it. Someone else comes along and adds their changes. And so on. And as all this is going on, everyone with access to that whiteboard can view these changes. You can use wikis to develop a firm-wide knowledge base, or as a training tool complete with links. The uses are limited only by imagination.

Nothing builds a community as quickly and easily as a Wiki (well, maybe a blog or online forum). And this is critical for PR practitioners. Because if there is one thing we like to build, it is a nice, sticky community, one where people return again and again. And hear our message, again and again. By creating a forum for interactivity, Wikis are a natural for building communities.

Finally, if creating a wiki is not a realistic option, there are a number of wine related wikis for us to leverage. These wikis allow us, as wine marketers, to disseminate information to consumers and trade. Like with online forums, wikis provide us with an opportunity to enter into conversations with key influencers and establish ourselves as a trusted resource for information.

There are a number of points of etiquette (or netiquette) one should keep in mind when participating in wikis.

  1. Don’t be rude or offensive.
  2. Don’t be overly commercial.
  3. Write in a way that is easy to understand and avoid local slang or phrases. Many of those who will read your text may not have English as their first language.
  4. Don’t delete other people’s contributions (unless you know what you are doing)
  5. Don’t use too many acronyms (or at least, have a page explaining them)
  6. Avoid the “click here” phrase!! Don’t write: “Click here for more info about Mouton Cadet” but use “More info about Mouton Cadet”. Avoid for external links as well.
  7. Contribute only original stuff. Links are fine, but don’t cut-and-paste from copyrighted things.
  8. Correcting typos is quite okay – in fact, it’s a very good habit, since it makes the web page more readable.
  9. Use absolute date references. You never know when someone will be reading your content in the future. Example: “As of December 2005, we are the only competitor in this market.” Not, “As of now, we are the only…”
  10. Avoid self-referencing pronouns. Instead of “I think the best method for…” try “Some think the best method for…” You are not the only author of a page over time.
  11. Think before you comment. Wikis are NOT online forums or news servers. What you say will stay there forever for everyone to see and comment.

Wikis Relevant to the Wine industry

Wikipedia – en.wikipedia.org
Wine Wiki – wiki.winehq.org
wine-wiki.org – www.wine-wiki.org
Encyclo Wine – www.encyclowine.org
Vinismo – www.vinismo.com
Wine Yatra – www.wineyatra.com
Wikia Wine Wiki – wine.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page
Acan Media Wiki – acanmedia.com/wiki

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