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Over the past several months I’ve been meeting with Atlassian’s customers who are using Confluence in a variety of industries including technology, financial services, media, higher education, consulting & professional services, and as I do so I’m gathering an even wider ranging sense of how organizations are using wikis and learning how to change existing practices for the better. In the next few posts, I’ll share some of my observations and ideas in hopes that they may help you with your own wiki use!
One of the most fundamental things about making a wiki successful is having a purpose for using it. Although the wiki us very different from many other technologies, one great similarity it shares is that it needs to be used in response to specific “pain points” where knowledge construction and collaboration are not efficient. Once you know where it’s needed, the best way to start is to get everyone together who will be using a wiki and have a conversation to mutually agree on how it will be used, and establish it as part of the existing social structure of your group, team, or project.
This is so important because it ensures that people see the wiki as a tool that helps them meet common needs, and see use of it as an activity everyone is welcome to — and should — participate in. One problem that has hindered earlier, more complex tools is the perception that they’re just for “techies” or early adopters. The biggest strength of the wiki is that it isn’t just for the most technically savvy groups, and has the highest probability of success when the greatest number of people buy into it and actively participate.

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