The Interactive Encyclopedia

Wikipedia globeSome members of the younger generation believe they can find almost anything on Wikipedia.  You can’t but the interactive online encyclopedia is an amazing story to burst on the cultural scene. 

Last night I was fascinated with this article in the current issue of The New Yorker by Stacy Schiff titled, “Know It All.”   I will admit that I don’t turn to Wikipedia as a great source of information but I know people who do use it all of the time as a reference source.  A couple of paragraphs from Schiff’s well-written article stood out to me: “Wikipedia, which was launched in 2001, is now the seventeenth-most-popular site on the Internet, generating more traffic daily than and the online versions of the Times and the Wall Street Journal combined. The number of visitors has been doubling every four months; the site receives as many as fourteen thousand hits per second. Wikipedia functions as a filter for vast amounts of information online, and it could be said that Google owes the site for tidying up the neighborhood. But the search engine is amply repaying its debt: because Wikipedia pages contain so many links to other entries on the site, and are so frequently updated, they enjoy an enviably high page rank.”

Notice how in a relatively short amount of time (six years), Wikipedia started from nothing to being such a dominate force. Also further in the article notice these statistics: “Wikipedia may be the world’s most ambitious vanity press. There are two hundred thousand registered users on the English-language site, of whom about thirty-three hundred—fewer than two per cent—are responsible for seventy per cent of the work.” While there are many registered users, only a small percentage is actually responsible for the work on the site.”

Isn’t this typical for many types of these efforts? There is a small percentage from the overall number of users which actually work on the site.

Earlier this week, I wrote about finding business in the niches.  Wikipedia allows anyone to create entries in their system—without cost.  I believe it creates an opportunity for writers and authors. Can you be the “expert” in Wikipedia on your topic? Can you take a few minutes to add an entry or two or three to their system which will help you at some point?  I’m writing to myself as much as anyone here since I’ve not done it. I believe it’s worth exploring.

3 Responses to “The Interactive Encyclopedia”

  1. Heather Gemmen Wilson Says:

    This just proves that the Internet is a powerful platform builder. If you watch the hilariousNuma Numa song and then follow this kid’s story (he’s been on GMA, the Tonight Show, etc.—I just read about it on Wikipedia), you realize that good stuff finds its way through and beyond the world wide web. Hope is fairly new, but I expect she’ll get the same exposure.

    Just think—we can use the Internet for good, even if all we have to offer is a good laugh.

  2. Bonnie Calhoun Says:

    Like with any of the other than a hundred projects I’d like to take on…there just aren’t enough hours in the day…LOL..I’d have to give up reading your blog to comment there…*snort*!

  3. Richard Mabry Says:

    Thanks for the suggestion. It’s not that hard just to make additions or edits to existing sections.
    I was able to create an account at Wikipedia and add my book to the “reference” list in the article on grief, all in about two minutes.

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