Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Wikipedia as a teaching tool (ii)

Awhile ago, there was some discussion about Wikipedia as a teaching tool (specifically, assigning students to edit wikipedia). Now wikipedia has a page of current school and uni projects, and advice for students and teachers.

BBC, viral marketing, etc.

Mea culpa for not covering the whole BBC flap -- not much to cover, it turns out, since it was probably not an organized campaign. Wikipedia founder JImmy Wales, from the mailing list:

And I worked at the BBC with Angela for 2 weeks last fall and met and spoke to a total number of people in the hundreds. I think it is safe to say of the BBC as an organization that they know about Wikipedia, they love Wikipedia, and they aren't the sort of idiots who would try a viral marketing campaign relying on Wikipedia. ...They are fans of Wikipedia. They *get it* at the BBC about the Internet in a way that I have found very rare in my now numerous talks to people at media companies.

Still, viral marketing is concerning. From boingboing:

Reader Comment: Anonymous says,

"I can't say who I am, but I do work at a company that uses Wikipedia as a key part of online marketing strategies. That includes planting of viral information in entries, modification of entries to point to new promotional sites or "leaks" embedded in entries to test diffusion of information. Wikipedia is just a more transparent version of Myspace as far as some companies are concerned. We love it (evil laugh)."

Daniel Smith, in the mail group, counters:

Let's not get our knickers in a twist over this.

As a wise person once told me, "Don't ever think that an ad agency's business is to sell the product to the consumer. An ad agency's business is to sell the AD to the CLIENT."

That company probably lists viral marketing via Wikipedia as one of their unique services. And charges for it. Sure, they can plant viral information in Wikipedia. But how long does it stay there? And does it have any effect in marketing products? Or is it just more "subliminal advertising?"

They say their company "uses Wikipedia." They do not say whether the results are effective.

"I can call spirits from the vasty deep."

"Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?"

"I can plan viral marketing in the vasty Wikipedia..."
"Why, so can I, or so can anyone..."

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