Read Write Wikity

This post is intended to document my Wikity journey. I had been meaning to investigate the idea further after reading Michael Caulfield’s reflections on the project at the end of the year. However, it got put on the backburner for a number of reasons, one of which was my concern about the time and effort that it would require. I thought about it again while listening to Martha Burtis talk about Domain of One’s Own. One of the questions Burtis asks is how aware we were about dealing with digital problems. It occurred to me that although I was confident in setting up an instance of WordPress or creating a sub-domain, I was inadvertently avoiding going any further. So I dived back in, created a new sub-domain (wikity.readwriterespond.com) and loaded up a new instance of WordPress.

So what is a Wikity anyway? Caulfield explains,

The idea is other people’s investigations or explanations of things feed into what you are exploring; you add your bit to that and feed it forward for others to use. At the same time, since people work in their own space, everybody gets to keep control of their own process, built to achieve their own ends.

Structurally, it is a theme built upon WordPress and involves writing short ‘posts’ collecting chunks of text and providing elaborations and tags. These may be your own or they could be forked from other Wikity instances. Originally, you could set up an account at Wikity.cc, but now need to run your own instance using the code made available via GitHub.

Although it could be construed as a form of social bookmarking, it is different to something like Diigo in that it is designed to fork, revise and link between cards. It is also not designed as a centralised hub, as the focus is on the divergent collection of ideas and sharing them on a peer-to-peer basis.

For example, maybe you are reading an essay on listening and in the process it talks about the difference between talking and listening:

As well as the idea of editing being an act of listening:

Although these posts are similar, they represent different ideas.

In regards to content and workflow, there are many similarities with the way I create my newsletters. Once I have found something interesting, I write a short summary and then add a quote. The differences with a Wikity is the continual development of cards over time and the focus and themes and ideas.

I wonder if Wikity is best conceived as a footnote for the web? With this in mind, I am left thinking about how this might be different to Hypothesis? Maybe there is a potential when converging my thoughts to reference the various cards, rather than the original posts? With all this said, there is one wicked question posed by Jim Groom that lingers in particular, “Is thinking like the web also a suppression of who you are?” I fear that I have actually yet to suppress my writerly identity?

So that is my take on Wikity? What about you? Do you do anything similar? As always, comments welcome.


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Three Lessons Learnt from Using Social Bookmarking


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

I was recently asked whether I use social bookmarking and if so, which application? Although I have tinkered with using my blog and Flipboard, my main space for storing links and resources is Diigo. Although it is pretty straight forward how it works, what is not obvious are the challenges in getting the most out of it. Here then are some of the lessons that I have learnt through my experiences over time …

  • Think About Your Structure: Amy Burvall once described hashtags as the soul of the internet. The ability to collect and connect ideas and information is the biggest benefit of social bookmarking. This however has its challenges. I have found over time that it is better to over tag items as this can make it easier to find items at a later date. This includes adding the author as a tag. In addition to this, Diigo provides a means organise around outliners and collaborative groups. When I started I focused on subjects, with one category being 21st century learning. The problem is that most of my links end up in the 21st century so I think that I should probably unpack that a bit more.
  • Be Mindful: The biggest challenge with social bookmarking is actually remembering to add links when you find them. This is best done through the use of widgets and bookmarklets, although Diigo also allows you to email links. I used to have my Diigo connected to my Feedly via IFTTT. However, that recipe has been discontinued. While in regards to mobile, I could never master iOS. However, I have found Android much better, with the ability to connect between applications.
  • Don’t Have Expectations: I remember setting up a collaborative space for school. Most staff could not see the point in it. They felt that simply Googling information would suffice. Although this may work for surface knowledge, it does not necessarily allow you to dig deeper over time. Tom Barrett describes this mining of knowledge as the ‘resurfacing of ideas‘.

So what about you? Do you use social bookmarking? Why? Why not? As always, comments welcome.


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Communicate and Collaborate Through Social Bookmarking


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

One of the challenges when working managing the abundance of knowledge and ideas is how we make sense of it. Although there is a tendency to rely on Google to recall websites, there is something lost when we hand over the curation process to someone else. Some take the first step of saving links to the favourites in the browser. This works, until our computer crashes and we loose all those links. Maybe the answer is to login to the browser to save add-ons and favourites. However, another means is to use various social bookmarking sites to collect and share various links and ideas.

Social bookmarking sites are beneficial as they are stored in the cloud and allow you to store information elsewhere. For some sites it is about links, some it is annotations, others it is images. In addition to this, some allow you to develop curated collections. Here then are some of the options:

DIIGO: An acronym for ‘Digest of Internet Information, Groups, and Other’, Diigo allows you to collect everything from images, texts and links, and organise these using tags, outliners and collaborative groups. Information can be collected in numerous ways, from bookmarklets in the browser, via a personalised email address, through the actual site or using an add-on. For more information, see the following presentation.

DELICIOUS: There are many similarities between Diigo and Delicious in regards to ease in which they allow you collect different ideas and information. However, where they are different is the ability to collaborate within shared spaces, as well as types of media you are able to collect – Delicious is limited to links and comments.

EVERNOTE WEBCLIPPER: Some swear by Evernote. Often this is based on the ease in which you can collect and create your own ideas. Through the add-on and application, you can collect ideas and snippets from across the web and then organise them using notebooks, tags and comments. Like Diigo, you are able to collect a range of media, including images and PDF documents. For more information, see Bec Spink’s introduction.

PINTEREST: A little bit like Evernote, Pinterest allows you to share different ideas in a more visual manner. People who swear by Pinterest often do so based on this visual feel. This though has a downside. Although you can easily find images, it can be a little bit more difficult to find the source of ideas and information. The ease to which you can upload, add and re-pin often limits the use of links to source information, unless it is added within the comments. Here I am reminded of something Alec Couros shared, “If we don’t give attribution, we lose the lineage and travel of ideas. That hurts everyone in a community.”

GOOGLE+: Although more of a social platform, there are many who use communities and categories to curate ideas. See for example Riss Leung’s Makerspace Community. In addition to this, Google recently added Collections. This allows you to group posts by topics. While there are some schools who have used their Google Apps accounts to create different communities throughout the school. For more information, see Heather Bailie’s introduction to connecting with Google+.

There are many other sites, including Scoop It, Educlipper, Livebinder and Symboloo. The reality is that the only way to find which platform works best for you is by tinkering, playing and having a go. So what about you? What is your curation of choice? I’d love to know. Feel free to share in the comments.


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