Wetpaint offers up wikis for Facebook: I don't get it

Make wikis in Facebook with your friends using Wetpaint Whiteboard Wiki. But do you need to?

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

Wetpaint is officially launching their whiteboard wiki app for Facebook tomorrow morning, although it's been alive and kicking in Facebook's apps directory for the past two weeks. The idea behind it is about as simple as it gets--just stick an entire Wetpaint wiki inside of Facebook, and edit things with your Facebook friends. In addition to a blank canvas to do whatever you want with, the service has also included student-geared templates to get you going, including a notes tool, party planner, and dorm hall wiki. The real draw here is that you'll be able to start making and sharing Wetpaint wikis without the need to sign up for the service, and be able to be share any of your creations via URL to people outside of Facebook. The only catch is that your Facebook-created wikis won't show up on Wetpaint's main site, at least not yet.

Make widget-filled wikis right inside of Facebook using Wetpaint's Whiteboard Wiki app. CNET Networks

What I don't get about the whole app is why you'd want to use some of these templates inside of Facebook. For example, the selling point of the party invitation app is that you can set up RSVPs and upload photos and videos. You can already do all these things in Facebook using the first-party events app that everyone's got by default. The same thing goes for class notes, which encourages grouping and discussion forums--something which is also available for everyone right off the bat with Facebook groups.

Speaking of groups, Wetpaint also goes a step beyond, by auto-creating a wiki for every group you're a member of. On the surface, this might seem like a handy way to help you get started in your wiki indeavors, although it feels more like the service is attempting to drag participation and interaction away from Facebook's group, and into their own domain.

The real saving grace of this app is that you can add third-party widgets onto one big page along with the rest of your content--something I had wanted after taking a look at the Amnesty Hypercube Facebook app last week. The fact that you can drop any old embed code to create a new widget means you're getting a lot of extensibility with one app. This is the kind of thing that can open up creativity and participation. Trying to piggyback on Facebook's successful, and easy-to-use features with a whole other system--not so much. Hopefully Wetpaint can find a balance.