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Wikis, Geeks, and Battlefield 2

Wow guys...I don't even know where to begin with this one. I was reading for this week Wikinomics How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (Chapter 9) and I was really inspired by the story of Robert Stephens and his Geek Squad.

Basically, Stephens created the Geek Squad (P.S. He is a Gopher alumni, hollar!) and was trying to find better ways for the employees to communicate, wiki style. After discovering that the employees all played Battlefield 2 together, and that they used this for not only entertainment, but also communication and connection, Stephens realized that he was going about his wiki project all wrong. Here is what the chapter says...

Stephen says the experience changed his thinking completely. “Instead of trying to set an agenda,” he said, “I’m now going to try and discover their agenda, and serve it.” (Tapscott, Williams p. 243)

This hit me with a big "DUH!" for our projects in class, and for my life in general. Instead of thinking of my own way of doing something, my own "agenda" as Stephens puts it, I need to understand what people around me are doing, and cater to their needs (within my own goals and boundaries, of course). This is also what I feel our sites should be about. We have an idea, a project. However, this project is not soley for us to say, "Whoopdee do, look what we did". It is a living thing for people to use!!! Thus, it needs to be focused on those people and how they are going to use it.

This anecdote not only connected well with the rest of the chapter, but it really is something I want to focus on for the rest of this class, and I think it applies to the way our world is working, especially in the online world. It is all about the services, the techniques that work best to help people do what they need/want to do in the most efficient way. Isn't that what we are all seeking in life?

So that is what I mostly got out of the wiki idea. I am not big into the technical issues (in case you hadn't already figured that one out), but I am huge into the people issues. AND! if I can understand how something works for people, I am completely willing to learn the tech stuff and make it work so that I can simply help people. Hollar!!!

I really hope others see this perspective for our sites. I want to learn how to do this stuff, yes, definitely. But learning how to do something without being able to put it to good use doesn't really do much. So...that's what I got for this week. Hooray for Wikis and making life maybe just a little bit more simplified.


"Thus, it needs to be focused on those people and how they are going to use it."

So true. I'm glad that someone else recognizes the need for usability in our wiki.

“I’m now going to try and discover their agenda, and serve it" (Tapscott & Williams 243).

I love that you cited this quote. I think that Stephens is getting at the very core of the wiki idea: there are plenty of "experts" out there who aren't published authors or coding geeks. Through wikis, everyone has a chance to give their two cents.

You make a great point, we so many times focus more on what we what or what benefits us the most. As we develop our Wiki it will be very important to concider our readers and users. What will benefit them th most? and does it match our goals? Not only is this a site and project for this class, but it will also become a resource for many other people.

Great post. I really enjoyed reading about how a person's thinking needs to be adjusted to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. I am in the same boat and trying to figure out how to use this technology to serve the public and get our research and information out on the wiki wide web.