Monday, 14 December 2009
Wetpaint to damp squib
I started out this year as something of an evangelist when it comes to Wetpaint wikis. I have used them in my teaching in various ways and even adapted one as a website/induction module for new distance learning students. I have recommended them to academic colleagues and supported others in setting up a wiki for research and collaboration.
I have to say though that I am bitterly disappointed by Wetpaint's decision to end the removal of ads (for free) on educational sites.
I can understand that this may not have been a particularly attractive busness model and I realise that we shouldn't perhaps expect much for free nowadays, but it isn't just that ads are back - its the nature of them. The billboard style, flashing/animated banners advertising vampire films across the top, snap link ads at the bottom, google ads up the side.... I mean, come on guys! This is way over the top.
On a related note, though, I wonder whether I will continue to have a use for wikis.
I am currently preferring Googledocs for document sharing and Huddle looks potentially even more powerful and attractive with its links to discussions and clear version control/approval mechanisms. The fact that Huddle now comes embedded in Ning has made that platform a better option for communities, collaboration & learning groups (yes, I know - it also has ads: but they are fairly discreet compared to Wetpaint).
I have hopes for Googlewave as a collaborative tool too, though currently it is hard to find committed wavers willing to join in the experiment: I wonder what this will look like in twelve months time?
If I have learned one thing in 2009, it is that web 2.0 media come and go, they transmute and they transform the world around them. And for 2010 - well I think I know better than to attempt any predictions....I am pretty sure I will be using some new tools and letting go of others.