Wikis and Social Patterns

Wikis seem to be a somewhat  controversial form of knowledge management in terms of social context. Levy focuses on them as being a “level three” tool for Web 2.0, meaning essentially that they are dependent upon this particular platform (or are at least quite well integrated with it). Her discussion also gets into how they are a “collaborative tool”, which seems to link up well with the ideas of Grace (2009) and Yuan, Zhao, Liao, and Chi (2013), as they all discuss wikis as a form of communication between people within an organization or simply through internet context.

Within the articles of Grace (2009) and Levy (2009), eBay and Wikipedia are discussed as being a major examples of how popular wikis affect the general social consciousness, in terms of how they function. Grace (2009) discusses eBay in terms of arbitrary controls and social interactions, which Levy(2009) describes as being “improved over time”. This “improvement” could be seen as the “social capital” described by Yuan, Zhao, Liao, and Chi (2013), as a platform gains strength and usability as it grows in terms of usage. This also seems to apply to all of the discussions of Wikipedia, though all three discuss the idea of social controls being imposed upon e-environments and tools, which make it possible to have this controlled environment which also allows for information exchange. This may be why Grace (2009) and Yuan, Zhao, Liao, and Chi (2013) think of Wikis as a social tool as a part of the workplace environment, as it Wikis can be both informative and controlled within a specific context for specific information needs better than other social media platforms (Facebook, Tumblr, etc.).

All of these article study a similar thing- how do humans control technology, and in turn, how is our information access controlled by one another. What programs allow certain behaviors and why? Which gain popularity and usability, while others become quickly outdated? Knowledge management not only pertains to how people gain knowledge, but to how people control it as well. RHMAXSONLIS658 touched on through the idea of “knowledge transfer”, and KamyrnWeis discussed it as “societal interactions” in their blogs. All of the authors all dance around this idea in one way or another, but it’s inevitable that we think of KM as being integrated within a social setting, since the beginnings of human communication- knowledge exchange is typically through another person, whether verbally or electronically. I think that sometimes the intense focus is on how social media is changing communication, when really it seems more like communication is simply being channeled differently. The people that we interact with, whether online or in person, are the recipients of an action/piece of information, and while electronic communications may seem more complex or convoluted, so are verbal communications. An unreliable Wikipedia post is just as bad as a poorly given speech with outdated statistics. An eBay exchange that  goes well bears a similarity to the same patterns of receiving good customer service at the store. Perhaps this comes back to Polyani, but if we are relying on human interaction through either medium, aren’t the mental pathways that we take in that interaction similar to one another (there are differences, but there are also similar emotions and thought processes)? I’m not sure if there is an answer to these questions, but the more information I read for this course, the more it seems to point in this direction.


Grace, Tay Pei Lyn . (2009). Wikis as a knowledge management tool. Journal of Knowledge Management, 13(4), 64-74.

Levy, Moria . (2009). WEB 2.0 implications on knowledge management. Journal of Knowledge Management, 13(1), 120-134.

Yuan, Y., Zhao, X., Liao, Q., & Chi, C. (2013). The use of different information and communication technologies to support knowledge sharing in organizations: From e‐mail to micro‐blogging.Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64(8), 1659-1670.



One thought on “Wikis and Social Patterns

  1. I like that you bring up that while electronic communication may seem more difficult and complex sometimes, verbal communication is just as difficult and complex though in different ways (ex: body language). To attempt to answer your question, I think they (mental pathways) are similar to a certain extent. They way we interact with each other, however, is different depending on how we are interacting. Now that I think about it, there is probably no easy answer. Good customer service is good customer service no matter what platform is used, but there are differences in how we interact. Aka there are no such easy answers in this class lol


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