I pride myself in being willing to learn ANY new social media application or technolgy. More than that, I genuinely WANT to learn anything social media related. But honestly, I am not awesome at everything I try out.
This month I stumbled upon one such social media beast. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Wikipedia. Let me preface this blog by saying: I LOVE Wikipedia. It’s my favorite tool in all the land. I can find out anything I want to know just by “Wikipedia-ing” it. But this is where things get scary: ANYONE can edit it. Let me repeat that: EVERYONE can edit Wikipedia.
I have an amazing client who wanted to be on Wikipedia. I was forthright with them and said, I can learn how to do it for you, but I am not a programmer, and I have not placed edited a Wikipedia page from scratch before. (It’s important to be honest, I think.) They said that was fine, and off I went.
Important things I learned from the get-go:
If you think you’re going to get onto Wikipedia, create an account and just type in the information about your client, click save and be done:
No. That’s not how it works. Your article will VERY quickly be marked for “speedy deletion” as it will look like spam to either the administrators or spam catcher robots that run Wikipedia-land. This is not good, because when you try to re-enter your article after following the RIGHT steps, it will already have the scarlet letter A stamped on it as prior, it was “speedily deleted” when you had no idea what you were doing.
So what do I do?
I spoke with Tony over at Airdale Brewing Company who has a fantastic Wikipedia Page. He gave me the advice that in order to create your own page, you must first become an “autoconfirmed user” of Wikipedia. This means that you have to contribute to (edit) ten other Wikipedia pages before you can create one of your own. In part this makes sense. This proves that you are not a spammer. This proves that you care about the Wiki community. And really, this process teaches you HOW to edit.
This was also one of the most humbling experiences ever. You think you know a LOT about stuff in general? Yeah, go edit 10 Wiki pages. I’ll wait.
People already know (and added) a lot of the information you thought you could add, huh?
So needless to say, editing 10 pages took me an embarrassingly long time. At long last, I finished it.
Editing your page
This is not a place where I can teach you a lot. I suggest you look at the templates of others. Read LOTS of articles like this one. But be prepared to fight. Within 10 minutes of my page going up, it was RE-tagged for speedy deletion.
I can tell you this:
- My page did not promote my client with links.
- My page DID include links of their partners in the appropriate external links section.
- My page DID include many references/news articles.
- My page DID link to many other places around Wikipedia.
The Good News:
Upon being re-marked for speedy deletion, I sparked a conversation with the administrators. (Whose names are so secret they don’t even know each other. I’m not making this up.) I have received some helpful advice and it looks like my client’s page will be active shortly. Ironically Wikipedia’s editing page is acting up right now, so I’ll have to try later.
But it reminds me: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. And don’t be afraid to share you’re failures with your friends so they can succeed.
What about you? What Wikipedia advice/stories/lessons do you have to share? I’d LOVE to hear them.