Creating a personal wiki

Kolapore Ski Trail Through the PinesWe’ve all heard of and probably used Wikipedia. But do you know what makes a wiki different than an ordinary website? And did you know you could create your own personal wiki?

1. What is a wiki?

A wiki is a web page that you can edit directly in the browser. That means that if you wanted to contribute to Wikipedia, you could sign up and start editing wiki pages. It’s pretty simple. Most wiki pages have an Edit button, you click that, and off you go, updating what someone else has written, or adding new content.

2. Why would I want my own wiki?

You could use it instead of a blog for keeping track of your favorite recipes, lists of books you’ve read or intend to read, club activities, to do lists, and packing lists.

But wikis are most useful when a group of people want to work on a project together. Say, for example, you’re planning a ski weekend. As a group you need to decide where to stay, who is going to cook and what, who is bringing the food, who has spare snowshoes, all that planning stuff that results in lots of emails back and forth. If you use a wiki instead, all the information is updated in one place where you can all see it.

Here’s a video that shows how to use a wiki for planning a camping trip:

If the video doesn’t work, try this link: http://www.commoncraft.com/video-wikis-plain-english

3. Where can I create my own wiki?

There are lots of places you can get a free wiki for personal use. The one I’ve used is PB Works. There’s no software to install. You just create a free account, and off you go.

When you create your wiki workspace, you can make it public for everyone to see, or you can make it private, so that only people you invite can see. Here’s the Settings tab where you do that:

That’s it in a nutshell. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. And if you get stuck, give me a yell – here in the Comments or by email.

Photo via Flickr user Bobcatnorth

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