Steve Rubel points out a new application of wikis on his Micropersuasion site today: breaking out corporate organization charts, pieces of information usually tightly held by companies because of the details they would reveal to competitors.
Political applications of the concept jump right out at me, though other people may be way ahead on this front. How about a collaboratively maintained map of political relationships, i.e., who’s worked for whom over the years in the Hill/lobby community, who’s consulted for which candidates, who’s dated whom, whose kids go to school together, which legislators have taken trips with which trade groups, who’s sponsored legislation for which industries, etc. Marry that kind of information with publicly available campaign contribution data and you can have some REAL fun.
These are the where-the-bodies-are-buried facts that political pros prize but that only show up in public in widely scattered places, if at all, and gathering them into one bundle would be a monumental task for any organization. Wouldn’t it be cool as all hell to set up a wiki or something similar that would let people contribute their own small pieces to the puzzle, either from media coverage, government data or personal experience? As the patterns coalesce, we could really see how the business of government is actually done…
Update: Alan Rosenblatt points out They Rule, a site that cross-references corporate boards but isn’t collectively maintained or updated. Nice model, though.