I was talking to someone today about Marc Canter and all of the other people who think Wiki's are ugly. I was talking about how Marc Canter was a "media" guy and how Wiki's are for text people. Then, it hit me. (Apologies to everyone else who already thought of this before...) McLuhan talks a lot about how "looking" at TV is different from "reading" text. When you read a book, your eyes are focused a bit above the text and the text sort of just goes into your head to create symbols. With TV, you actually LOOK. You really care if the font on the TV is ugly, but you rarely remember the font of a good book you just read.
So, maybe this is the difference. When I am on a Wiki, the way it looks really doesn't concern me as much as trying imagine and understand all of the context that is captured in the web of pages linking to and from the page. I imaging all of the people from all kinds of places and what they must be thinking. It's less about user interface and more about code.
When I think about broadband, iLife, digital photos and things that I "look" at I CARE how the user interface works and how it feels as an experience. On a Wiki all I care about is that it is easy, which is part of user interface, but a different part. (I think I saw a discussion about the aspects of user interface somewhere... but I don't remember where.)
So... if you follow McLuhan's thinking, the looking culture and the reading culture are different. Are blogs/Wiki's going to merge them? What happens? Can the "keep it simple and easy, I just want the context, I don't care how it looks" people co-exist with the "give me an experience" people? Is it about meta data?
Again, another random note on a Japanese holiday...