To blog, To wiki, or To both: that is the question

It is common to lump weblogs and wikis together into one general "internet writing" category that includes such other media as chatting, instant messaging, and e-mailing. Looking more closely at weblogs and wikis, however, brings to light their differences.

Weblogs have often been referred to as the "playgrounds" or the "kingdoms" of their keepers. The blog's owner decides what information goes into their posts and what doesn't. They may choose to write as informally as they would in a personal journal or in a letter to a friend, or they may choose to write in a more formal tone. They may choose to make their spaces examples of IntentionalBlogging or OffTheCuffBlogging. They also may decide such things as which links to include, which comments they want to keep or delete, and what they want their blogs to look like. Everything on their blog can be coordinated to accomodate their own personal tastes. In short, blogs encourage individuality and personal expression.

Wikis, in contrast, encourage teamwork and are seen as communities rather than personal kingdoms or playgrounds. In order for a wiki to work and grow, all of the participants in that community must work together towards common goals such as the development of ideas and the spread of information.

Commonalities also exist between weblogs and wikis. For instance, they both encourage the development of writing and of ideas.

According to Rebecca Blood in her book, The Weblog Handbook, "by writing daily [on a blog], you will become a better writer and by articulating your ideas you will find out what you think" (72).

If a blogger cares about his or her audience and reputation, he or she will strive to state their opinions and ideas in the clearest way they can. And if they start out writing in a sloppy and unclear manner when they first start blogging, chances are they'll develop tighter, clearer writing over time.

Blogging also encourages the development of a person's ideas and opinions in that it oftentimes serves as an online journal for people, and as we all know, writing in journals can be a common way for people to "get their thoughts out" and to get them organized.

Wikis, by nature, also serve as a means for people to "throw things out there" and to develop ideas. Just the simple fact that writing on a wiki needs to start out in Thread Mode and then gradually advance into Document Mode illustrates this assertion. Ideas may seem loose and nebulous when they start out as threads, but as they move into documents, they "grow up" into something much more defined and developed.

Wiki writing is always moving forward, always striving to be tighter, rounder, more focused, and more developed.

Although wiki writing is not about the individual, through my (limited) experience with it, I've oberserved that it does help and encourage individual contributors to state their ideas in the clearest way possible so that other contribtors can understand what they're getting at and build upon it.

see WikiAndBlog

(This page has been refactored by TheCollective)

In sampling both internet publishing mediums I am growing to learn of the tremendous difference between blogging and contributing to a wiki. Before the class began, I lumped both terms, blog and wiki, into the same group of internet terms I placed 'chat', 'instant message', and 'email'. Lo and behold, there is something more to this blogging thing than I first thought.

I love the blog. It's my little world. I decide what goes in, what I tell people, where I send them with my links. As I bacome more adept, I can change the look and completely coordinate everything to my liking. I can delete comments if I deem necessary. It's my little world, and I am the dicatator. There is no vote, no democracy if you will. Mine.

The wiki is for everyone. Of course for many wikis there is limited involvment, and some partcipants must sign in with a password to change anything, but for the most part, the wiki is a community. All participants must work together for the betterment of the wiki to make it work. This is not a place for sharing pictures and posting poems, but a place to get the ball rolling, to inform, and to work together to acheive a goal. The internet makes the information immediate and efficient. The wiki can be applied to so many different group projects from the professional to the organizational educational etc.

The wiki is the answer to many communication needs in all types of industries, and will most likely be prominently used in the professional world in the decades to come.


I agree with Jessica. As a former elementary teacher, I even wonder about the use of a wiki with younger children. It would be interesting to let them 'edit' each other's writing - grammar, spelling, etc.


I really "ditto" all of the above discussion regarding blogs and wikis. Blogs were to me, as Jessica stated, the same as wikis, although I have often thought of wikis as more "informative." Yet there is a difference between the two--both in perspective and in the audience. Blogs are, as Jessica (also) stated, one-sided conversations. One states his/her mind on a topic--and doesn't really think about the audience. I suspect that's why I'm less inclined to "blog." If I want to "journal" (which to me is another term for blogging), I'll do so on my own time in my own place. I'm not really anxious in journalling to have everyone hear me--rather, it is a reflection of my own thoughts.

On the other hand, I have all my students journal on their experiences with students when in a clinical experience. My purpose there is so that I can see what's going on. Perhaps I can direct them in other ways to think about their experiences; perhaps I can set them to thinking right.

Would I use a blog for this? No, because a blog is more public. While a blog may be a self-reflection, it is also a revealing of oneself to the rest of the world. Journalling, as I use it, is still private--and is between the student and me, as the instructor.


On the other hand, there are some positives:
*Blogging gets people to put their thoughts into writing. Many people, including young children, want to share their thoughts with others. This is a great way to begin to share those thoughts and to see someone respond back. In elementary school, we talk about "journalling" on a daily basis: children journal to their teachers who respond back. Blogging increases the number of people who can interact. And in our world where social interactions are important, this method of interacting is very important.
*Blogging can develop into groups of similarly minded people, thereby decreasing the feeling that one is alone on an island. Friendships can develop.
*Reading another's blog can stretch one's mind. As ideas are presented, the reader may find him/herself making connections that were not there previously. One may turn outward, rather only self-reflect.

Anyway, now I'm rambling. Just some thoughts.


The general consensus above seems to be that blogs are more open to informal writing and are for the individual whereas wikis are more formal and edited by the masses.

The way in which you use a wiki makes a big difference (the same may be said for blogs). Take my [ Project Wiki] for example, I am not allowing anyone other than myself access to the editing features. Doesn't this defy one of the main laws of wikis? (shared writing space) If other people had been with me on the trip I would be doing a shared scrapbook, but since this was my experience alone (and because I’m doing it as a class project) I am keeping it locked up. How does this change the way I write? How does this alter our perceptions of wikis? Is it even really a wiki?

My experience in the world(s) of online chats, online games, text messaging, blogging and now wikis has molded my online writing style. In all of these venues my writing tends to be more informal than papers I write for class. My blogging and wiki writing is more formal than my other forms of online writing, with my wiki writing being the most formal (because I do it for class). Is my wiki writing still more informal than the writing I would do for a paper? Yes. But I find myself using "... and (these) and... uhmm..." if I'm not careful.

What is it about the world wide web that alters the way we write? Perhaps, in part, it is because we know the publishing is instantaneous. When I blog I use it as a way of getting my thoughts down in text and when you see ... 's in my writing it is because I am thinking. My blog posts are generally written very much the way I think. For the wiki (since I know I'm being graded) I have to stop myself and think out what I will say before I submit it.

I love people finding their "voice" in cyberspace. It all comes down to interactions. In a blog you are alone (usually) and able to voice your opinions or link to other sites as you see fit. It's similar to sitting at home with loved ones who understand you. You can spout your thoughts or share your tidbits of gossip for the day.

Wiki allows you to colloborate with others on projects. Your personality here is different from blog - for many, more reserved. You can put your ideas out there, but another can just as easily squash them, and vice versa. One learns to think in a more collobrative sense, as in how their ideas will fit and mesh with the ever-evolving jigsaw puzzle before them.

IT all seems to come down to (as it inevitably does) to interactions of one sort or another. Through these different learned responses to life at large (in the real world even), each individual's personality shows through. Despite TheCollective, every voice is heard simply by being there. What it comes down to isn't BlogVsWiki, but the voice through which one wants to be heard.

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