Blogs, Twitter and wikis

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Blogs, Twitter and wikis are ways of communicating or providing information.

A blog is a Web page where short articles or ‘posts’ can be added so that the most recent addition appears first on the page. Many blog publishing systems allow other people to comment on the article, and some systems exist for automatically finding other blog posts that mention the current post (‘trackbacks’). In this way, ‘full hypertext’ linking is possible and debates can be carried on over several Web sites.

A wiki is a collection of Web pages that can be edited by anyone or a selected group of people. When you edit a page, you can use a special format (often CamelCase) to create the name of a new page. When you save the change to the Wiki page that you edited, you can then edit the new page and add new content. If there is a large community organised around a wiki, then as people develop new ideas and break long pages down into shorter pages, coining new page names, they will produce and define a pattern language about the topic of the Wiki. In many wiki systems, the title of a page acts as a link to a search query that will list all the pages that point to that page.

Twitter is a specific Web site and mobile phone based communication system that allows members to publish short (140 characters) messages or ‘twits’. In the US, you can receive twits from people you follow on your phone or you can visit the Twitter page for that person. You can also send ‘twits’ yourself and these appear on your Twitter page. In the UK, you can send an sms message to a special mobile number and your twit will appear on your twitter page, and your followers will see your twit on their Web page profile. However, publication to phones is only available to Vodaphone customers as yet.

Google Wave is likely to provide new and interesting ways of communicating.

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