Here’s the dirty secret about reporters: they steal from Wikipedia. Shamelessly, in fact. How do I know? Because I see things I wrote for articles magically paraphrased in all sorts of press – collections of facts that did not exist before I collected them.
Bloggers do for their posts. People do it for their opinions. Investors do it for their trading strategies. Reporters do it for their stories. Wikipedia, for all its inaccuracies, is the jumping off point for things we’d never question trusting. And yet, what company do you know that has ever meaningful contributed to community that has the ability to define them?
When you think about influence, think about where it comes from. In other words, it’s not the trendsetting magazines that are important but the places where they find out about trends. That’s where you go because the rest is just too inefficient.
But remember, that’s a very substantial power. Abuse makes it meaningless.
(Also, if I wasn’t physically unable to fit one more thing in my day, I would jump on this opportunity just for fun)
Hence why I read books and avoid newspapers/tv/radio except for topical knowledge (did you hear the one about the grayhound bus? What an awful place to lose your head). On the whole, I’d prefer to use my time in other ventures than engaging in draining edit wars with the nomenklatura of wikipedia for slight ability to influence someone’s research.
I don’t know about that. Reporters are pretty good at gathering facts, and it sounds entirely logical to me that they could reach the same conclusions as you after a little research.
I understand your skepticism Zach but do you think I would have written this post based on a hunch or do you think that maybe I’ve seen it happen where there is definitive proof?
Good point. Maybe you should have included some of that proof in the original post. Actually, now that I think about it, you probably have a good reason not too.
I assume you heard about the whole McCain plagiarizing wikipedia thing?
Sent in my application for the e-mail. I tried to make it somewhat similar in spirit to that Jason guy who put his Seth Godin’s intern application.
Maybe you can help me understand something.
I generally agree with what you say, but I don’t get the joy that comes from editing wikipedia. Exactly what influence comes from it? How does this benefit you? Maybe I just don’t run any organization large enough to be affected by a wikipedia entry or see a way to gain from altering someone else’s image. Perhaps you could get more specific and enlighten me?
Brendon – Try to find me one publicly traded company, signed band or legitimate celebrity who’s Wikipedia page does not show up in top 10 results when you Google their name.
I tried to prove your wikipedia assertion wrong…. wow, its true. usually 1st 2nd or 3rd.
Francis and the Lights and Vulture Realty – both signed by Normative. Nitpicking but whatever.
Signing to a web company that itself isn’t notable enough for a page (because it started like a month ago) is not the same as “being signed.”
Fabius Maximus just punked the Jerusalem Post (and in a later article you can see that UPI and a few other big news organizations blatantly ripped off the rumor blogs).