Friday 27 July 2007

folksonomy, blogosphere, blog, netiquette, blook, webinar, vlog, social networking, cookie, and wiki

What do these words have in common? According to a British YouGov study, they are the web users' top 10 most hated words.

Blog and wiki are four-letter words - Guardian technology blog

I dredged up this Guardian piece, which is now a few weeks old, after seeing a post yesterday by Lee LeFever of CommonCraft.

Lee wrote about his friend Kevin Flaherty, of Wetpaint, the wiki platform I use for Free tools for free lancers. After seeing the 10 most hated list, Flaherty commissioned Harris Interactive to do a survey, comparing 'wiki' to the terms 'social network', 'blog' and 'online forum'. They found that:

  • 16% of the US online population are familiar with the idea of a wiki
  • 35% are familiar with blogs
  • 76% are familiar with search engines
  • 97% are familiar with toilet paper.
Would a wiki by any other number smell as sweet? - Lee LeFever

The numbers really surprised me - if wiki and blog have such low recognition, then things like RSS are likely to be even lower.

I'm attempting at work to change this in a small way, through an idea called Byte-sized learning. Byte-sized learning consists of small, hands-on sessions, where staff pass skills and knowledge on to other staff who are keen to learn.

For example, I've run a series of half-hour sessions, teaching people how to set up and use Google Reader. More sessions are planned, on topics like social bookmarking sites, uploading images to Flickr, and using online services to deliver large files.

The dual aim of Byte-sized learning is to demystify Web 2 technologies, and to introduce people to tools that will help them do their work faster and cheaper. It's a small thing, but I think worthwhile.

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