Sunday, December 17, 2006

 

Someone else already understands

For a few months, I've wrestled with just how to explain to outsiders how to work with Wikipedia. Not so much about what to say, but how: how to explain the culture of this project in words that make sense. And now I find that I have been beaten to the punch.

I stumbled across Citizen Agency, and found that a lot of what I could explain to anyone who saw Wikipedia as a business opportunity they had already written. If you follow their statement of ethics -- specificly numbers 3,4 and 5 -- you can't go wrong participating in Wikipedia.

There are only two more things I could add to what the people behind Citizen Agency wrote:

1. Make your information Wikipedia-friendly. Offer materials like images, sound bites, written materials under licenses that are compatible with the Creative commons or Gnu Public Licenses. That does not mean, if you are a film maker or a musician, that you have to release all of your work under these licenses. (Although that would be nice.) It means that if you release promotional materials like publicity stills or head shots, release them under one of those two licenses. And you should do this anyway: the easier it is to distribute (or redistribute) your writings, the more people you will reach.

2. Remember, sometimes Wikipedia is not the best way to spread the word about yourself or what you have to offer to other people. If you want to get your company website noticed, for example, I would recommend Aboutus as a better alternate: a businessperson can can build an audience there far more easily than arguing over notability with skeptical Wikipedians.

Geoff

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