Image via Wikipedia
As disclosure, I will say upfront that I've never been a fan of wikis, mainly because the small business groups I've been on never seemed to make them work. They require a lot of effort to set up, maintain and use. It's also another place to go to, adding to one's work flow and needing yet another username and password to remember that becomes a hassle if you visit intermittently and promptly find that uh oh you can't remember your handle/password, however logical and obvious it was was at sign up.
Also, Wikipedia is pretty terrible for science and medicine. On the rare off chance I might visit, I find myself having conniption fits over biased, inaccurate or incomplete information, so it seems altogether a better idea not to go there for my own sanity and cast a jaundiced eye in it's direction instead.
Anyway, recently several things coalesced to change my thinking. Firstly, was the experience of a well run and well set wiki at Science Online09. @BoraZ and his team did a really excellent job there with the wiki, even though I sadly had to miss the conference due to urgent and unexpected pressures of work. Still, it opened my eyes a bit and I started to see the possibilities for collaboration and sharing when they work well. Scientists do this naturally, but my experience of Big Pharma was that it was a bit like herding cats when it came to teamwork. Secondly, was another excellent wiki, Digital Research Tools (DiRT), which is simply a mine of information for web 2.0 tools and information.
Recently on Twitter, I've begun to find more Pharma people participating after meeting a wonderful big bunch of scientists on Friendfeed in The Life Scientists room run by the very able @Deepak. The challenge with Twitter though, is that the conversations are becoming fractured as more of us find each other, communicate, start sharing stuff and post on each others blogs. If not online, you can miss a lot of good stuff very easily. Would a Pharma room on Friendfeed work or would a Wiki be a better idea? I don't know but I suspect in a busy industrious group Twitter works well despite it's limitations. It's easy to use and low transaction costs afford an immediacy that the other platforms don't.
What do you guys think?