How to encourage non-technical people to use a wiki

Most people at your company have never even heard of a wiki, so how do you get them to actually use it?

Raoul Kahn, Director of Product at Seesmic, had the same problem that many of you face at your own company. Here is his advice on encouraging wiki adoption – particularly with non-technical people.
Raoul Kahn from Seesmic talks about PBWiki from PBwiki on Vimeo

The Breakdown

:35 – How to get non-technical people involved
1:56 – Three ways Seesmic uses their business wiki
2:46 – Who used the wiki immediately (hint: no one) and how to get people on board
3:22 – How to explain to non-technical people why and how to use a wiki.

“It’s made my job so much easier. I can look at one site, where ever I am and I know what’s going on”

How do you encourage people at your company to use a wiki?

9 thoughts on “How to encourage non-technical people to use a wiki

  1. Can’t watch the video at the moment, so hoping I’m not repeating anything, but my suggestions (based partly on a moderately successful wiki used by people in several continents) would be:
    – never, never use the word ‘wiki’. Unless they’ve picked up the word themselves, they’ll never get what you’re on about. And in the end, its wikiness isn’t what’s important except to people like us.
    – accept that there will be just a few people maintaining the website to start with, just as with the likes of Wikipedia. Do enough of this to make it a good, useful website first and foremost, one that anyone in your organisation can update very easily.
    – keep flagging up the fact that anyone can edit and add content at every verbal opportunity and on every page. Ask people to start small, for example show them (ideally in person) how to edit their own project page or their profile. Or encourage the office pedant or the serial complainer to make changes instead of complaining about it. They might just enjoy it.
    – Let people find their own uses for the wiki and don’t be too prescriptive about its direction. It is, after all, a wiki… you will need to be proactive about community building and troubleshooting where arguments develop whether the wiki is for a network of volunteers or staff.

  2. Where can I find YOUR wiki?

    Would you please consider replacing Get Frustration with a wiki so we don’t get topics with 300 responses, in time sequence only? You know the arguments for using wikis. You make such arguments. Please listen to what YOU say and follow YOUR advice.

    I’ll be happy to discuss wiki mods to make wikis even easier to use for these problems. A modicum of moderation makes sense, but there should always be someplace where unmoderated input will be accepted.

  3. How do you encourage people at your company to use a wiki?
    I show them a part of the CommonDraft-Video “Wikis in Plain English”

    There, a camping-trip is planned using wikis. Everyone knows the situation explained, and furthermore, the video is funny.

    Good luck,

  4. Haven’t watched the video either, but Clare’s suggestions are nicely put and resonate with my experience in contexts of “selling” social media (not just wikis) to academics and others.

  5. Hey

    I can’t see the video! I think it’s our network settings that prevent it being downloaded and Vimeo is an “inappropriate” website. I’ll just have to do it from home I suppose.


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