Monday, March 31, 2008

Web 2.0 App - Wetpaint

Today I’m looking at an application called Wetpaint. It can be found at, you guessed it, http://www.wetpaint.com. The first thing I noticed is that the home page is clean, uncluttered, and airy looking – not all full of stuff – that usually bodes well for a product, but not always.

According to their “more info” link, “Wetpaint powers wikis, but unlike most wikis, Wetpaint wikis are as simple as 1-2-3 so anyone can start a free wiki that they can share with friends.” So Wetpaint is basically a wiki site, which they claim is “100% free, Simple to start, Easy to build, and Fun to share.” Lets find out.

As I scroll down, they have tabbed areas for different content – which is good. They have What’s Hot, Entertainment, Gaming, Education, and “more wikis”. Another good sign, they have education mentioned. Ok – lets give it a go.

There are, of course, many decisions to be made while setting up. I’ve chosen my usual name, Sorry AFK, listed it as an education site, and allowed it to be open to the public to see.

My big decision is – do I only allow people I invite to be able to edit, allow anyone who joins my wiki, or just allow anyone. There are certainly benefits to each, and the good thing is that someone setting it up can make that choice based on their own need (only want students/committee members, etc... to be able to edit). I’m choosing to leave it open to anyone (even anonymous). This concludes the first step.

The second step, which they call “the fun part”, is about choosing one's image/appearance. This is where you get to choose the template that you want to represent your desired look. Can this be changed later? Yes it can – and says so right at the top of the page. You can also, at this point (or some time later) change your display name. That completes the second step.

The third step is where they get all your information, where you actually set up your account with Wetpaint. After entering all the required info they give you the chance to “invite some friends”. I am going to skip this step for now. If you look to the bottom the BIG button says, “invite now” but next to that, in smaller letters, it says you can skip this step and move on. There are two reasons I’m skipping this for now. First, I don’t like spamming my friends and colleagues with emails and second I don’t have a designated group to invite. If I were teaching using this, this is where I’d invite the students.

And there we go – in less than 15 minutes, I have a wiki site. It would probably take much less than that since you won’t be writing notes for a blog at the same time. :- )

Please go to http://sorryafk.wetpaint.com/ and leave a message for me and we’ll all see how it goes with WetPaint. I can tell you that my initial, very brief, experience, is that WetPaint is clearer and seemingly easier to use then Wikispaces. In the next day or so I hope to spend a bit more time poking around.

Do you have any experience using WetPaint? If so, share those here in comments.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Clark said...

I'm using two Wetpaint wikis this semester: one for my classes at Red Rocks Community College and one for my online ENGL 112 class for Mesa State College. I also have two wikis on PBwiki for classes I'm teaching at Red Rocks: ENG 131 and LIT 127. In addition, I've also used Wikispaces and have a couple of wikis with them that I haven't really used yet.

Of the three services, I definitely like Wetpaint the best. I especially like the navigation bar being generated automatically and the option for threaded discussions. In addition, Wetpaint has more free themes to choose from. It also allows for more widgets to be used. (The updates to PBwiki may have changed their options, but I couldn't embed a SlideShare presentation in my PBwiki wikis.) Wetpaint's editor is easier to use, and it works better. I've had a lot of trouble with putting links into tables with PBwiki. However, Wetpaint doesn't allow direct editing of HTML code. That's the only drawback I can see.