My first experience with wikis involved an irate teacher and a student who couldn't quite understand why two of her research paper's sources weren't valid. Wikipedia emerged while I was in high school. The common notion was that Wikipedia was not a reliable academic source. Even classes that required online sources outlawed Wikipedia because it could be edited by anyone. This is the entire premise of wikis. They allow a wealth of information to be shared... and you don't have to be a published author to contribute! Yes, there are certain disadvantages (such as inaccurate or misleading information), but Wikipedia (and many others, I'm sure) have taken steps to prevent this. Wikipedia even requires proper citation and displays a warning message when sources aren't cited. My hope is that through these precautions and their growing popularity, wikis will become a credible source in the near future.
Wikis aren't just for research papers and looking up random facts, though. They are also an extremely effective tool in the workplace. Our readings this week illustrated this idea. I was tickled to read about Geek Squad's use of wikis in Wikinomics because I have two friends that work for Geek Squad and have contributed to their wikis (Tapscott & Williams 244). For tech-savvy people, wikis are a great way to communicate complex ideas (storyboards, page layouts, etc.) because they allow continual editing and input from everyone involved. I hope that we can impliment this type of extreme collaboration in our own wiki.