Can a wiki reduce the number of emails in your inbox?

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Two things struck us at the ALI Social Media for Government Conference last week. The first was the power of Wikis, which are vastly underused. Second was the challenge inherent in the armed forces or any very large organization with hundreds of thousands of employees (or millions) embracing social networks.

Most of us are tied to email. How did we ever work…or play for that matter…without it? Email can be great for one-on-one communication or broadcasting information to a group that doesn’t require much feedback or interaction. However when you are working collaboratively it can be a nightmare. Jack Holt, Senior Emerging Media Strategist for Department of Defense, discussed the limitations of collaborative document production, highlighting a DoD case study demonstrating how traditional methods of working can be improved with a social media process that includes Wiki tools.

A wiki is an editable webpage, used in situations where a group of people need to create, edit and review each others documents or the same document. Think of working on a document with a variety of others in your department the old school way. Who has the most current version of the document? Where did you save the document? What if the person on vacation has the most recent version? When you work collaboratively on a Wiki, the most up-to-date version is always available to everyone who has access. It’s something to think about, particularly if it eliminates an email or three.

Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are an excellent way for folks who are far from home, whether it’s Arkansas or Afghanistan, to connect with friends and family. Lindy Kyzer recently with U.S. Army Public Affairs, made an interesting point. For the Army the horse was already out of the barn, so what they needed to do was educate folks about the appropriate use of social networking sites. There are two policies that apply to social networking for the Army – Operations Security and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Army incorporated social media training for its officers so they were aware of the implications for the institution and its soldiers.

You may have a similar situation in your company or agency. Social networks and collaborative tools are permeating our lives. Your organization, department, neighborhood, etc., is most likely already being talked about in some fashion. Why not take part in the conversation?

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 20, 2010 10:00 am

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