“Turn to Press for the official record, Blog for social context and Wiki for the public record.”

Every now and then I still get blown away by how people are using these technologies, and this is one of those times. Ross Mayfield posts about the difference between the media, blogs and wikis when it comes to covering world events, and he uses the recent Spain bombings as an example. Certainly, there were hundreds if not thousands of media reports on the bombings, and no doubt Weblogs had their share of coverage and insights. But when I took a look at the Wikipedia page that had been created for the event…well…see for yourself.

I’ve always had difficulty in understanding the usefulness of wikis, but I think I’m starting to get it. Funny thing is, I’ve always thought that it was too easy for people to just come in and muck things up. (My wife asked the same question when I showed her the Wikipedia post.) And sure enough, when I accessed the list of updates, someone had done just that, blown up the whole post. But about four minutes later, someone came in and restored it. Pretty cool.

Hard to imagine that you could get a more balanced view of what is happening when you have dozens if not hundreds of people editing and updating and fact checking along the way. There’s much more to think about here, obviously, but this is a great example of the power of collaborative media.