Tuesday, September 30, 2008

To blog or to knol: that is the question!

A colleague recently asked me to explain the difference between a blog and a knol. She wondered if it made more sense to use a knol for presenting expert information.

I thought that was a good question. So, here's my answer.

A Knol is a giant blogging site. However, it is more often compared to Wikipedia than a blog. That's because a knol is typically written in an authoritative manner about a single topic. For instance, a knol could be about "Insomnia" or "How to easily fit into Japanese society."

The main differences between a knol and Wikipedia include:

• Wikipedia has one page per topic, while a knol allows multiple authors to write on the same topic in different places.

• On Wikipedia, you are not to create pages for self-promotion. You may use a knol to promote your business or products and services.

• Anyone can edit most Wikipedia pages, while a knol is written by one author. Yet, you can allow different levels of collaboration by others, including wide open editing, moderated editing, and no editing.

Now, back to the original question: what's the difference between a knol and a blog? Well, first of all, here's how they are the same:

• The sign up process is similar to signing up for a blog.
• The interface looks a lot like a blog. You write your content. Add any graphics or titles.
• Knols allow comments just like blogs.
• You can elect to allow ads just like with a blog.
• You create an author profile, the same as a blog.

Now, how is a knol different than a blog?

• A blog can really be about any topic, whatever is top of mind for the writer that day. A knol is about a specific topic.

• A knol is more scholarly or professionally written when compared to many blogs. However, business blogs, like this one, can also have an expert tone.

• A blog is designed for continuous posting of ongoing content. While it's easy and helpful to update the content of a knol and keep it fresh, knols aren't meant for continuous posting.

• Readers can rate a knol, and these ratings will help the best content emerge at the top of search results.

So, here's my recommendation:
If you recently fixed a leaky faucet, and you want to give expert advice on the steps you took, write a knol. If you want to wax on about your life or a particular business topic with ongoing postings (such as direct marketing), then go with a blog.

1 comment:

Michael McNally said...

Hey Krista,

Thanks for the comparison and contrast between knols, blogs and wikipedia articles.

Another suggestion: once you've blogged and created a meandering sequence of post, consolidate them into a more permanent form as a knol.