While I was poking around online for stuff to write a post about, I searched the web for current social media topics to discuss as I usually do. When I come up with something interesting, I tend to reference Wikipedia to cite any clever quip I tend to come up with. When I made my way to the Wikipedia page, a large yellow banner hovered on the top of my screen. This banner read:
“Dear Wikipedia readers: We are the small non-profit that runs the #5 website in the world. We have only 150 staff but serve 450 million users, and have costs like any other top site: servers, power, rent, programs, staff and legal help. Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think and learn. To protect our independence, we’ll never run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations averaging about $30. If everyone reading this gave the price of a cup of coffee, our fundraiser would be done within an hour. If Wikipedia is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year. Please help us forget fundraising and get back to Wikipedia. Thank you.”
With Encyclopedia Britannica closing production now that the Internet is a vast vortex of information, having a credible source of information can be difficult to come by. While some of us will take a trip to the library, most of us want the library as an extension of our palms. Have we been duped into believing that Wikipedia is the only source of information out there? Should we make donations to a site that everyone and their mother can make a contribution to, which leads to information that is somewhat disputable?
Though every college professor in the world will probably tell you never to cite Wikipedia and that the information provided there is not considered source material, the site is still a source of information. When you think of the most social sites in the world, you probably think of Facebook and Twitter. Wikipedia is a site that countless people visit and contribute to. Most historians will tell you that the history of mankind is the collaboration of average people sorted out by the greatest minds in the world. There’s no doubt that Wikipedia is a social site. The question is, should people make donations to Wikipedia? Like the quote above says, Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others.
“When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different. Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn’t belong here. Not in Wikipedia.” — Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales
I am a lover of books, and I do frequent Wikipedia, which is why I say yes, I will probably donate. If donations are not made to a site like this, it is only a matter of time before a big fish like Google or Facebook will gobble it up and start waving banner ads and suffocate us with social media marketing. What do you think? Do you think you will donate? An education is not hard to come by nowadays, and to let a site like Wikipedia fall to the wayside is just plain ignorant. However. I do propose that stronger contribution regulations be incorporated into the site’s database. Though we are a race of beings that desire to leave our epitaph for our future children and galactic beings, we should definitely act on keeping the facts as straightforward and accurate as possible.
What Do You Think? Will You Donate?