How do you get people to use Web 2.0 technology?

[Guest Blogger Stewart Mader, Atlassian - makers of Confluence and Jira. His blog can be found here.

[Guest Blogger Stewart Mader, Atlassian - makers of Confluence and Jira. His blog can be found here.]





Have you introduced a friend of yours to a wiki? For first timers, wikis can be intimidating. Where do I start? How do I edit? Wait, you're telling me that EVERYONE can SEE and CHANGE my work?

Wikis can be intimidating to the uninitiated. Wikis bring with them new ways of thinking about information, collaboration, and management. If you bring a wiki into your organization, you may face challenges and pitfalls when trying to get people to use it. I helped develop a new site called which was intended to give anyone, anywhere, using any wiki application, a source of information (a pattern) for successfully introducing a wiki to their community, whether it's a corporation or a public website. is itself a wiki, which means you can add your knowledge to it too... so please do so!

Some of the wiki "patterns" that are being documented have been created by staff at Atlassian, but the majority were created by a larger community of experts and wiki users. We're also documenting anti-patterns that might hinder wiki growth, things to watch out for altogether. The site also contains a guide to the major stages of wiki adoption, and links to other sites that focus on wiki, social software, and enterprise 2.0 strategies.

Since launch less than a month ago, the response has been terrific. Wikipatterns has grown from 29 to 48 patterns, currently has 164 contributors, and people have had good things to say about it (a few blog mentions are pasted below). In the bigger picture, I think the idea behind Wikipatterns can be extended to other Web 2.0 technology. There is a learning curve for Web 2.0 products. It behooves vendors and customers of Web 2.0 products to actively contribute to the knowledge of how to introduce these new tools into their organizations.

The tide change from traditional enterprise software to Web 2.0 tools is inevitable. The real question is when and how, and the answer lays with the community.

Here are a few blog mentions:

Mike Gunderloy, WebWorkerDaily:
“There’s a lot of knowledge distilled in this site. If you’re trying to figure out how to get people on board with a wiki - or some other distributed networking software - it’s worth your while to poke around and learn from people who’ve been down this road before you.”

Jerry Bowles, Enterprise Web 2.0:
“It turns out (no surprise) that people working together online have pretty much the same habits and personality quirks that you encounter in real life; which is to say, they behave in ways that range from super positive and reinforcing to downright nasty and demotivating. Because wikis are community efforts their ultimate success depends upon encouraging the former and keeping a lid on the latter. Atlassian has now launched a public wiki called that focuses on identifying and collecting patterns that help coordinate peoples’ efforts and guide the growth of content, which is the key to wiki success. Equally important, Wikipatterns also collects anti-patterns that might hinder the growth of a wiki, so they can be fixed or avoided.”

Adrian Sutton, Symphonious:
“What I love most about it though, is that while it might frustrate some of their competitors, it is undeniably a really, really good thing to do for their users and users of any type of wiki.”

Doug Belshaw,
“Wikipatterns is a great idea...It’s also something that you can take part in - something that you can help build, both teaching others and learning from it at the same time.”

One final note: since this is my last guest post on Web 2.0 Explorer, I just wanted to thank Alan for inviting me to blog this week, and all of you readers for reading, voting, and commenting!