I attended the OMMA http://bit.ly/q9cZ36 (Online media and marketing association) conference in New York City yesterday. While it is a two-day event I could only steal away for the opening sessions on Monday morning. I’m glad I went since the opening keynote was delivered by Jimmy Wales – Chairman Emeritus and founder of Wikipedia.com. Mr. Wales did a really good job in his short fifteen minute keynote (which by the way seems to me to be an ideal amount of time), and I gained an ever greater appreciation for Wikipedia.com and its mission.
If you spend any time on the internet you are no doubt aware of Wikipedia.com. Touted as the world’s free encyclopedia Wikipedia is available in 282 languages. There are more than 3.7 million articles in English, 19.7 million articles in all with more than 90,000 regularly active contributors. Of course there are reports of errors and vandalism that most of the time are corrected – and corrected quickly. And yes my source is – Wikipedia.com.
The content on Wikipedia.com is all user-generated and contributors are not paid. The crowd acts as its own police force when it comes to what is accepted as content and what is not. The accuracy (as of 2005) as reported in Nature showed that the science articles they compared came close to the accuracy of Encyclopedia Britannica. Personally I have come to rely on the accuracy and concise and easy to digest information contained on Wikipedia.com. I may never buy another set of encyclopedias again.
When Wikipedia.com founders Mr. Wales and Angela Beesley determined that there were topics that did not fit a traditional encyclopedia model, they then started Wikia.com. Wikia’s user-generated wikis range from video games and movies to food and environmental issues – it is considered a collaborative publishing platform for pop-culture. Wikia, Inc. attracts more than 45 million unique visitors per month to its 275,000+ enthusiast communities. Particularly popular with the gaming community, Mr. Wales noted that some Wikis are started and then simply die-off due to lack of interest. It would have to be that way when you really think about user-generated content and the areas of interest in which people would feel compelled to start a Wiki.
What I like best about this ten-year old platform is that at its core it is all about making the world a better place.
I wonder if and how much Julian Assange’s Wikileaks.org (unaffiliated with Wikipeida.com) has damaged Wikipedia.com’s brand?