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April 26, 2007

WIkipedia Update..

I was out on Wikipedia and decided to check on my edit. No responses or additional edits. Has anyone had any luck? Just being curious....

April 6, 2007

example of Wikipedia vandalism

Wikipedia vandalism

Here’s an example of vandalism to the “Plato” page. To view in a readable size, click here.

April 3, 2007

Speaking of Copyright...

What's in a name?
Well...
Swedish couple fights for right to name their baby 'Metallica'

April 1, 2007

Wikipedia pleads the fifth

I discovered this article today, which talks about Middlebury College HIstory department's recent decision to disallow Wikipedia as a scholarly source in student papers. I've never had a U instructor comment on the value of Wikipedia as a source; I'm curious whether any of you have. There are also some good comments from professors, many of whom say the problem is not only Wikipedia, but the fact that it's inappropriate for college students to use tertiary sources in their research-- another "rule" I've never heard.

Taking a seemingly opposite view of Wikipedia's credibility/usefulness, this article from the New York Tmes claims that Wikipedia has been cited in over 100 court rulings in the last few years. Strange, no?

March 30, 2007

Have you heard of Conservapedia?

I am sorry, I read it in a French article : http://www.ecrans.fr/spip.php?article924 for those who speak French.

To resume it, it explains that some people in the far right wing were angry to see that Wikipedia prefered the evolution theory to the Bible (for example) so they created their own encyclopedia, describing it as more sure because they verify their articles.
It uses the exact same process as Wikipedia, and looks like it a lot (not in the content, of course).

Here is the link : http://www.conservapedia.com/Main_Page

What do you think of that?
For me, it is more a instrument of propaganda than anything left, and it has nothing to do with an encyclopedia. Some articles, or quotes, scare me.

March 29, 2007

Have it Your Way

Something about our fast-moving culture allows us to absorb new terms without really figuring out their meanings. Thus, I was grateful to learn that 'wiki' came from a Hawaiian word for 'quick'-(Lih, p. 3)-I somehow thought it had to do with wicca. But I guess I could have used Wikipedia to look it up. Ha!

My edits to the Wikipedia entry for Katharine Hepburn were minor enough and recent enough not to create too much buzz. I stated that her brother's death may have been inspired by a play she saw with him the previous week--something she mentioned in memoir and in several interviews. I also mentioned that it was rumored she was expelled from Bryn Mawr for smoking, something I remember reading somewhere. I had no substantiation, but am interested in going back and adding it.

I was unconvinced by Lanier's article that Wikipedia is a sign of the coming apocalypse basically because he did not do what Wikipedia usually does so well; substantiate his assertions with examples and sources. I realize that his was an opinion and essay, but the best essayists back up assertions with historical examples. For example, when has the extreme right or the extreme Left created 'dreadful consequences" (Lanier p. 3)? I'm not arguing extremism on either end of the spectrum has not caused problems, but give us a point of reference for pity's sake! Nonetheless, some of what he had to say rang true. There are some things the populance, as a herd does well. Witness the spooky accuracy of the 'ask the audience' function in "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". And I agree, there will always be room for a strong editorial voice or vision, though Lanier acknowleges this is becoming a devalued and watered down commodity (again, with no historical background or point of reference! Is it the buying up of media by giant conglomerates? Are the good reporters being murdered by jealous plagarist serial killers? He won't tell us.) I also agree that the 'beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in other people." (p. 6)

What I don't agree with is the American Idol analogy. There is a marked difference between idly dialing or texting a vote, no matter how earnest, and taking the trouble to write, edit, and substantiate an entry viewable by the entire world. I thought Lih's analysis was interesting. I wonder how much more readable are the entries with 'rigor' and mulitple edits--I would like to take a look at them. I also think Lanier is lost in a Hemingway wonderland if he thinks that print and broadcast journalism does not have many hands in any single piece. Isn't that what editors and producers (and global conglomerates) are? Wikipedia is not an Utne Reader ( a print "Meta'?), but it is not the anti-Christ. I also agree with Lanier that blogging is not always serious writing (though I think it can sometimes evolve into serious writing.) I would also like to counter that before the Internet, a LOT of urban legends and false stories were repeated in various media, (magazines, newspapers, broadcast programs) as fact, and the Internet has done a lot to quell kind of action.

I liked the idea of Wikipedia using norms of professional news organizations--like nullifying the term 'terrorist' as Reuters does. I thought Lih's comparison of Wikipedia to DK was useful. His report was done in 2004, however. I wonder if there is a tipping point with such technologies, like when Kurt Cobain discovered that the kind of kids he hated in high school liked his music. Basically, when does the common denominator start to lower quality?

And what can I say about my friend the subservient chicken? What a good use of resources. The creators state they did not spend a lot of money (Anderson, p. 1). Because there was next to no print campaign, paper was not wasted. I think a lot of what Burger King is doing now is to create a goofy-vibed hipness factor--and I think it is working! Witness the Keller's friend who says "I was in Burger King and I don't know why." I confess to loving the 'Breakfast with the King' ads. In a recent visit, even a kid's beverage cup had a weird and funny story on it. Kudos, BK!

I'm an expert

As everyone else has already posted, I was very apprehensive with the idea of adding something to Wikipedia. What makes me an expert? What do I say? What do I even know about? I sat vigilant at the computer typing in things I thought I knew a lot about, only to find that there was for more information availble than I had even known of.

Finally, a thought came to my head. If the BK Chicken is on Wikipedia what about other artifacts of popular culture. Hence, NCAA Football 2007. A game created by Electronic Arts (EA) Sports. My roommates and I play the game religiously and almost to the point of overly excessive. What more of a hobby could you think of more than that. So, after searching the game and coming up with the Wiki pertaining to it, I read the current definitions of facits to the game. It was amazing that even though I know the game inside and out I stil had this awkward feeling. Like I wasn't suppose to be tampering with words that I take so blatantly as fact.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NCAA_Football_%2707

It was amazing, having used wikipedia as a beginning resource for a lot of my major projects, that many of the words I take as fact may in fact be false. People like me who may not even have the slightest idea what they are talking about but thing they do, could fill the wiki with a bunch of crap. However, I am comforted enough with the idea that there are plenty of people out there who do know what they are talking about. Those people have the same ability I do to just click edit.

I felt from what I added to the wiki, that I maintained a neutral perspective. The premise of even having NCAA Football on the site shows the invasion of pop culutre in our definitive lives. This isn't necessarily a bad idea though. Users may have important information to share about a product or marketing scheme that may be beneficial to other people. Maybe a negative experience or a friendly suggestion. It's like getting an opinion of a product or idea from a neighbor.

I expect Wikipedia and other wiki's to continue to evolve into something that will be extremely beneficial in the development of our social construct.

WIkipedia is dangerous!

I was so scared to edit Wikipedia! I never knew you could do that and I am certainly not an expert in anything! However, I was an elite gymnast for 9 years so my mom said it would be okay for me to make an entry about gymnastics. I edited the section on floor exercise and described how hard it is for a gymnast to choreograph her music to fit her personality and her style, while at the same time, make acrobatic moves in sync with the music. You can view my changes here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floor_exercise.
I have not noticed any changes to what I posted, but I don’t think people visit this page very often. I will keep checking back for another week. I kept my post neutral because I am not trying to market anything, but rather make it a point that gymnasts face this challenge when choosing their floor music. I definitely noticed links to the USGA which could be construed as marketing. I also noticed that famous gymnasts and Romanians had links in the entry. I am not sure if this means they made it a point to have that appear in Wikipedia but it wouldn’t surprise me. The Romanians want to conquer the world of gymnastics!
I don’t think there should be a line between documenting something like the Subservient Chicken and other marketing tactics. What works, works. I say the more creative companies can get with their marketing, the better. Successful companies always find a new way to market to their customers, even if the customer is not aware of it. Obviously, when the customers don’t even know its marketing, then that is GREAT! I think that consumers of Wikipedia need to be more informed about what content they are actually reading and be more aware of what exactly is going on. But, this is tricky since most consumers really have little to no idea.
As to how this all relates to the readings. I would like to make some comments on some passages from the readings. “. . . the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force? (Lanier). It scares me that anyone can edit what I am reading and believe to be true. But, at the same time it is another way I think the United States can become more global and communicate better. I am on board with anything that gets people talking and forming opinions. To me, this is the only way I know that things actually change.
Secondly, “Participatory journalism presents a major change in the media ecology because it uniquely addresses an historic “knowledge gap? – the general lack of content sources for the period between when the news is published and the history books are written? (Lih 5). Lih presents some very insightful points in his paper that I had never considered at all. But, wikipedia is a good example of the knowledge gap I think. Before we can right history and set in stone what happened, people are starting to form opinions on what happened. At times I think this could be dangerous because the events might get lost in translation and what REALLY happened may be lost. People can construe things to such a great extent and that is scary.
Brier’s paper was very informative and iterative to me. My occupation is a marketing analyst (I look at how campaigns perform for a company called Thomson West) and we very often discuss viral marketing. “By concentrating on the long-term goal of virality, marketers often lose sight of the narrower objectives and strategies specifically attached to online viral advertising. The strategy of a successful online viral marketing element concentrates not on incubating a message, but rather on spreading it. In other words, the viral message has to be contagious? (Brier 1). To me, it is obvious that you want your message to stick in consumer’s mind and your brand to be ever-present in their purchasing behavior, but saying this and actually finding creative, effective ways to do this is very very difficult!

March 28, 2007

Why did the chicken perform for the camera?

(To make some bucks...get it?)

I added some links to Wikipedia's Bicycle Culture article, and changed a few words around. I realize that even though I feel like an expert on bicycle enthusiasm, I don’t feel comfortable presenting myself as such by editing an article for public consumption. Based on what I see on the Talk pages, there are already plenty of cooks in the kitchen. It did go smoothly, but it seems like to get good at editing Wikipedia, I’d have to spend quite a bit of time learning how to follow all the rules of form and content. So far, there is no discussion about the links I’ve added. I was heartened to read that “A wiki also tracks and stores every version of an article edited, so no operation is ever permanently destructive…. While it may take five or ten seconds to deface one article, it can be quickly undone by others with just one click of a button.? (Lih, Wikipedia as Participatory Journalism p. 4) This impermanence could be an incentive to write more freely, presumably improving the article’s content. In my exploration of bike-related articles, I found the entry for Cars-R-Coffins, ,which seemed pretty much like an advertisement to me. Somehow, the idea of an individual (intentionally or not) adding advertising content to a wiki seems infinitely less manipulative than viral marketing, and serves as a reminder that we, as consumers, are still responsible for questioning what we read.

“In the last year or two the trend has been to remove the scent of people, so as to come as close as possible to simulating the appearance of content emerging out of the Web as if it were speaking to us as a supernatural oracle. This is where the use of the Internet crosses the line into delusion.? (Lanier, Digital Maoism) Lanier seems to be saying that collectively authored content can give the illusion that it’s not biased, that it represents all points of view equally. Complacently accepting information as if it were complete and perfect is dangerous, especially when we “bear in mind, (guerilla advertisers) are not just trying to talk to these people; (they) are trying to convince (us) to be proactive co-marketers.? (Brier, Viral Marketing) Viral marketing works by convincing viewers that our opinions and participation are important, and as in the chicken fight, that we have a hand in controlling what’s on TV: “The 12-minute fight … allowed consumers to vote on who they wanted to win the fight, and also featured a chicken-fight game viewers could play themselves. (Anderson, Dissecting Subservient Chicken ). I was particularly disturbed to see that this roundabout way of convincing people to buy more chicken sandwiches actually seems to work.

Its as easy as 1,2,3???

First of, I have been told by many teachers that it is completely ok to site wikipedia.com for any use in a project or presentation that I have delievered in the past few years. After this weeks readings, I do not think I will ever site this website again. I think that it is a very knowlegdable website to START off a project with to get some ideas and maybe have a little backgroud information before you dive into the topic of choice, but now by all means, I do not think this source is credible.

I too, had a very hard time coming up with a hobby or a skill that I was good enough in to give my two cents toward. Many topics that I felt I knew what I was talking about such as iTunes, Dancing, Softball, or even my good friend Facebook, there were already paragraphs upon paragraphs describing things I had never even heard of, which was rather disappointing. However, one of my passions is my national sorority that I am currently in and I feel as though I know everything inside and out so I took a look at that website. As I was reading through the webpage, I did feel as though the site was credible, however all I had to do was click on edit and I could change WHATEVER! Also, being that my topic probably isn't in high demand on Wikipedia, my changes could be there for days, which is a little disturbing.

However, as I clicked edit, I started typing away and adding little inserts where needed to complete the story or fill in the details. It went very smoothly without any hassle, and I am sure that my entry will not be changed for a while. I can't imagine someone being so upset by little stories that make up my sorority, that they would go and change something like that.

As for the chicken for Burger King, I found it rather disturbing. I know that it is an ad campaign, however who ever thought that it was a good idea, I would like to meet. It must have taken a lot of time and effort for the man in the chicken suit to do all the the stunts for a little advertising on the web. These types of things I feel are completely legitiment to be placed on the web or on Wikipedia because it is a blog, however the stories like these are ones that make the website lose its credibility. I have always used Wikipedia for research, not for making a man in a chicken suit dance. I believe that would fit more on YouTube. I do not believe for a minute that the chicken was documented for purposes besides advertising. Burger King got the name out in public and had such a crazy twist to it, that people would go to the website just to see the chicken do a stunt. I know when I first saw it tonight, I told my roommates how disturbed I was watching this full grown man in a chicken suit do the moonwalk.

Overall, after this week, I do not think I will be going to Wikipedia very often anymore because of how easy it is to add to the blog and the pointless blogs there are in itself. Its almost to the point that I want to check out the information on some of the topics that I have researched in the past on Wikipedia to see if the information is correct. I even had a "toolbar" for Wikipedia to look up information faster, but I guess I will be getting rid of that. As for watching my own post on the website, I will be curious if anyone tries to change the information, however I would not be suprised even though the information is correct.

To wiki or not to wiki...that is the question

There are not a lot of things that I would consider myself an expert in. Last summer I worked with the Minnesota’s DNR Invasive Species Program, so I know a lot about invasive species…aquatic invasive species to be specific. So I decided to look at what Wikipedia has to say about them. I finally settled on the zebra mussel article. I found a few mistakes on there that I fixed and tried to add in some references and sources since the article had a warning that it is not adequately cited. I found it very easy to add information to Wikipedia. Unfortunately, I waited until the last minute to do this assignment so my changes were only made today and there were no discussions or changes. I think my additions were from a neutral point of view, the points I added were factual bits of information that I cited from the MN DNR website.

I think the line between documenting something like Subservient Chicken and just doing some free marketing for BK is very thin. On one hand for someone who might not know what Subservient Chicken is, having an explanation on Wikipedia is a way for them to look it up, on the other hand it is a free forum for BK to advertise their product. I really don’t think this kind of thing could be avoided even if we try. I also don’t blame BK for using Wikipedia for some free advertising, as long as they are abiding by the rules of the website they should be able to put their information on there.

What are you Wikipeding?

I must say, I had a very interesting and educational experience signing on to Wikipedia.com. In one of our readings, Andrew Lih states “Wikipedia is an Internet-based, volunteer-contributed encyclopedia that has become a popular online reference in just three years of existence.? (3). Before reading this, I never realized that any individual had the ability to edit and/or change a definition within this particular website. You can just about search any topic and edit it to your likings, unless it is protected for administrator’s use only. I can see why it became such a hit in only three years time. However, my concern is how reliable is the information being posted on this site, if any plain Jane is able to post whatever they want about a topic? Andrew Lih states, “The wiki concept is somewhat counterintuitive because the technical implementation itself provides no gate keeping function to ensure quality material is being contributed.? (4).

I was clueless as to what article topic I wanted to choose for this particular assignment. Being the multi-tasker I am, I have a tendency to watch TV and work on homework at the same time. During my time spent on this homework piece I was watching I Love New York, which is a reality show on VH1. Hence, it gave me the idea that I wanted to edit an article on Flavor Flav. My roommates and I got hooked into watching Flavor of Love seasons 1 and 2, and sadly to admit I’ve probably seen every episode 2-3 times. It is a great show to watch, simply for comical relief. Anyway, here is the link to the page I edited:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavor_Flav - .27.27Flavor_of_Love.27.27.

I simply added more information under the section titled Flavor of Love. The information added, was more in depth description as to what happens in Season 2. There was much more information posted about season 1, when I first entered the site, and very little pertaining to Season 2, under this section. The process itself, I would say, went very smoothly. It was easier than I thought it would be. Overall it is a pretty neutral page. However, if you want to watch any of the series, you should do so prior to logging onto these sites, because they have a tendency to give away the endings. There could be some marketing schemes involved to hype up Flavor Flav’s music album, but wasn’t distracting to the reader at all.

The “Subservient Chicken? marketing idea by Burger King was very different. I had never been to the website before nor heard of it prior to this module. I personally don’t think by playing around with this website, that is would make me want to go to Burger King anymore than if I had not visited this site. It definitely is a unique way of marketing. According to Mae Anderson, “…sales had steadily increased an average of 9% per week.? Marketing is all about creating and implementing the best idea(s) to attract a bigger and broader audience. Hence, companies are going to try new methods of approaching their customers, and since technology has become so developed over the past few years, it’s only give marketing people more to work with.

Danger! Wikipedia will resurect Lenin and Stalin!

I am always amused when someone chimes in and claims that the latest piece of technology or amazing concept will ultimately produce a negative effect on the world. My favorite claim that I heard lately was from an arrogant Economics student that claimed that the rise in the price of corn that has resulted from ethanol production is BAD, ever so BAD.

Instead of being happy for struggling farmers because they can make more money because of the increased demand for corn, they rattle off some doomsday statement that it will be a bad thing because it will raise the price of feed. What the doomsday Economics student didn't take time to notice was that the byproduct of the ethanol product can be used as feed. So negative. Also, what happened to their mantra that says that the market will adjust and reach equilibrium by itself?

Anyway, I think that some of Jaron Lanier's assertions about Wikipedia fall into that same vein. He claims that the Wikipedia concept is a form of "new online collectivism" (Lanier). If I understood this correctly, Lanier is claiming that Wikipedia is some new form of socialism?? I think that this is a bit far fetched. I imagine that when Lanier refers to "...the idea that the collective is all-wise", he is stating that people think the information on the Wikipedia website is the consensus of the world (Lanier). Even though information on the website may contradict the knowledge scholars and the official records, we must believer it because it is what the consensus wishes. I'm afraid I can't agree with Lanier.

I personally think that Wikipedia is very interesting because people can contribute to Wikipedia information that they deem important. Two different people can provide information on a topic like baseball. Both can provide correct, unique information that they feel to be important. This (I hope) will compliment the information that was already there. It's exciting to think that experts around the world can pool their knowledge in an effort to create a well detailed description. I know that the information that's posted on Wikipedia might not be 100% reliable, but I find that the information that's posted usually seems to be well written. As I've stated on this Blog before, Wikipedia can act as a useful starting point when doing research. You just have to make sure that the information that you find is correct. That's good old fact checking!

I enjoyed editing a post on Wikipedia. I looked up a subject that I had written a paper on, the WWII German battleship called the Bismarck. I read through the posting and found an area that needed a little more information. I added information about the English Swordfish airplanes that played a crucial role in stopping the gigantic battleship from wreaking havoc on the Atlantic. I felt that the posting did not pay enough homage to the Swordfish and their pilots. These planes were World War I era planes that were being used to try and sink one of the largest, most modern battleships of the time. They had half the top speed of the modern fighter planes of that time. I felt that this was a very important piece of information that had been omitted.

Here is the link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_battleship_Bismarck#The_Chase

I just checked the posting and it looks like my addition has been removed. I'm not sure why, I think that it added some much needed information. It showed the irony that a powerful battleship had been disabled by an ancient biplane.

Here's the post after my addition, and before it was wrongly changed back. (I say this in good humor)

"At dusk that evening, and in atrocious weather conditions, Swordfish aircraft from the Ark Royal launched an attack. These World War I era biplanes had a top speed of only 200 knots which was half of what more modern fighter planes could achieve. The first wave mistakenly targeted the Sheffield that was by now shadowing the quarry. Although precious time was lost by this incident, it proved beneficial to the British in that the magnetic detonators on the torpedoes used against Sheffield were seen to be defective and for the following attack on Bismarck were replaced by those designed to explode on contact. In a final attack, almost in darkness at around 21.00, a "miracle" hit by a single torpedo (launched by pilot John Moffat's plane) jammed Bismarck's rudder and steering gear. This rendered her virtually unmanoeuvrable, able only to steam in a large circle in the general direction of King George V and Rodney, two frontline battleships that had been pursuing Bismarck from the west. The largest and most powerful warship yet commissioned had now been rendered a sitting-duck by a single aircraft. After extensive efforts to free the jammed rudders, the fleet command finally acknowledged their by-now impossible position in several messages to naval headquarters. Lütjens promised that the ship would fight until its last shell was spent" (Wikipedia).

Oh well, I can always try again ha ha...

What I did on Wikipedia, and Why its wrong.

What did you add?

I added a piece on the history of hazing in fraternities

Did it go smoothly?

It went very smoothly, almost too smoothly I feel. I shudder to think what would happen if someone with a bad opinion on the subject could do.

Did you end up in a discussion?

Sadly no. You would not believe it but Greeks were too apathetic to comment on my post.

Did you think the entry maintained a neutral point of view, or did you notice anyone including links that might be construed as marketing?

I most certainly think my entry was neutral. Because it only states historical fact. However, there were links to fraternal organizations, which yes, is frat-propaganda, added by other bloggers.

Is there a line between documenting something like Subservient Chicken and doing some free marketing for BK? Can that sort of thing be avoided even if we try?

I believe there is a line. Also, I believe it can be avoided. However, this question I believe is not as important as the point that Jaron Lazier makes about online collectivism. This has He states that, “The problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise.? He is totally right in his assessment of Wikipedia and collectivism. Look at what I just did for example. I, an undergraduate student, whom has not higher degree (yet) has just posted on Wikipedia. Unfortunately, some poor person is going to come along and perhaps use my post a fact. This is because according to Lazier, the aspect of Collectivism has lent way too much legitimacy to Wikipedia. I believe, that if one is going to do research, on should leave the writing to academics, people who’s job it is to write in an academic way. Also, as prove throughout history, mob rule is often not the best rule. Wikipedia is just that, mob rule.

Attached is my work added to Wikipedia, it is italicized.

Hazing is the ritualistic harassment, abuse, or persecution of prospective members of a group as a means of initiation. In such practices, pledges are required to complete often meaningless, difficult, or (physically and/or psychologically) humiliating tasks. Many activities which evolved into modern hazing originated as legitimate team-building techniques.[citation needed] In their essence, they are meant to make the individual fail as an individual, teaching them to become a valuable asset to the team and be loyal to its success.[citation needed] This philosophy of team development continued to be used in fraternal organizations as each subsequent war refreshed the pool of ex-military students.[citation needed]
Because of the association of fraternities with hazing, schools such as Bates College started banning fraternities as early as the mid-1800s. One fraternity, Sigma Nu, was founded in opposition to the hazing taking place at Virginia Military Institute after the Civil War by Alpha Tau Omega. Hazing began in Fraternities after the Civil War. Prior to the Civil war, hazing was not a major aspect in many fraternities. This is because Fraternities started out as a way for students to discuss academic life in college. Something that was looked down upon in the early 19th century. However, hazing gained popularity after the civil war because many college student felt that they needed to have a harrowing event happen to them, just as their fathers did during the civil war. Hazing continued on after World War I. Soldiers returning from the war re-entered colleges, and brought with them the discipline and techniques they learned in boot camp. From the 1960s through the 1980s, however, most organizations (especially those governed by alumni at the national level) implemented clear no-hazing policies. Hazing is also against many colleges' Greek Codes and illegal in most U.S. states.[1][2] The North-American Interfraternity Conference (formerly National Interfraternity Conference) also requires anti-hazing education for members, as do most universities. Since at least the 1990s, any hazing conducted at a local chapter was done without the consent of a national organization and outside the guidelines for their initiation rituals. If discovered, hazing usually results in the revocation of the local chapter's charter and possibly expulsion of members from the national organization.

The Hive of Wiki....I posted my $.02

The idea of Wikipedia is not new in any form. This idea of using a collective has been around for quite sometime. I am truly amazed at the crazy amount of growth that wikipedia has undergone in just the last 3 years and the sustantial amount of information that has been gathered by the people. But its growth is understandable because you can literally feel smarter than you actually might be. Even if your entry gets modified or possibly removed or whatever, you have inevitably given to the collective hive.
I throughly enjoyed the article presented by Lanier, but one statement that he made stood out quite boldly to me. He stated, "The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we're devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots." I have to agree with this statement because its people that ultimately generate all content that passes over the net. I honestly do believe that some look to the internet as possibly the next absolute, Im not sure what we could call as a current absolute (for me its the bible). Its the idea that Lanier presented though as people seem to be moving more toward the "Meta" state of being or of artificial intelligence. With this mindset we basically are just holding an idiot sign overhead. This can also be seen as Lanier mentions the decline that newspapers are and will see even more as people turn to goole for the news, but most of this news flashed across google is comprised of the fine information that good reporters gathered, and I like how Lanier than states, "The aggregator is richer than the aggregated."
I think Wikipedia is a great tool, but the hive is not always collectively right, is it? In a very extreme, albeit very absurd example. What if the collective community decided that oranges were red, is this possible? Porbably not, but its the idea behind this example that concerns me about the concept of wiki and how much can be controlled. But if you want to check out my contribution to the Wiki community here ya go....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbocharger#Automotive_design_details
My part starts with "This can also account...." and ends with the word efficiency.


Hi, I'm Matt calling on behalf of EA Games...

It took me a while to think of something that I knew about that wasn't already on Wikipedia (that didn't already have a description better than the one that I could provide). I have often thought about adding to an article here and there, but always end up convincing myself that I am not qualified enough to add my two cents. I ended up adding to the "Pretexting" section of the Social Engineering entry:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_engineering_%28security%29#Pretexting.

While I am by no means an expert, I have seen the method of Pretexting work again and again (when others try). The part that I added is this: "Voice over IP programs are starting to become a standard in pretexting, as the user is able to feel safer knowing that they are not using a traceable number, and therefore believes he or she is less likely to get caught." This is not a topic where maintaining a neutral point of view is difficult, except maybe opinions on whether or not certain aspects of Social Engineering are effective, or whether a method is still being used. I have not received any feedback as of yet...
With the growing popularity of meta sites, I have not noticed any changes that have upset me, in fact the opposite is true. With Google's addition of Google Video and Google Scholar, it seems to me that meta sites add to the convenience of web surfing.
As far as subservient chicken and Burger King are concerned, subservient chicken only gained its popularity because of its creativeness. If Burger King gets some free publicity out of said creativeness, then they deserve it. Anderson writes "I got a call from a friend of my wife. She said, 'I was in Burger King and I don't know why.'" While I doubt that everyone that is affected by Burger King's advertising ends up in a Burger King for an unknown reason, something as creative as subservient chicken is bound to have some positive results.

I'm not an Actor...but if that's what my Wikipedia bio says...

I really use Wikipedia a lot doing research. I don't use it as a standard, but rather as a starting point. I didn't realize how easy it was to just edit a topic and get feedback on it. I decided to edit my topic on beer, since the family business is running a liquor store and I run the day to day operations of it. I changed the topic on beer cans quite a bit. Here is the link to where I made the changes, my name I made up is jsonbukshot...http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Beer&action=history.
I just mostly talked about how Budweiser cans are the most popluar and the most iconinc brand in the whole world and how they are the number one company in the canned beer business. I wrote and added about 2 paragraphs or so to this section. It went rather smoothly for me, I was pretty surprised. I believe that my point of view maybe construde as biased a bit because I only talk about Budweiser and not really any other company. I haven't recieved any discussion yet on it.

The way that Wikipedia is set up is that it anyone can edit any article and have it be true. I also can't believe how mainstream it has become. In the Lanier article he says "No, the problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force." (Lanier, 1).


I don't think much of a line needs to be drawn for free marketing for BK or anyother company. I say more power to the company. I just think that if I owned part of a company and someone did some free marketing and it was a hit I would be really happy. And if I owned a company and no one did any free marketing, well then no sweat off my back either. Viral marketing can be avoided, just don't look at it, when you see something that is viral on the internet lets say, turn it off. The problem is there isn't any rules with viral marketing. Like the Brier article says, "In the end the most important rule to remember is there are no rules, that is the beauty of this kind of marketing...(Brier, 1). It just goes to show that viral marketing can get you anywhere you look, internet, TV, radio, in the mail, e-mail, pretty much all forms of media are prone to viral marketing.

Hopefully the Real Meaning of Viral Marketing is Viral

Well, I am now an author, and it feels pretty good. Like many of you, I did not feel that I was expert enough in anything to alter a Wikipedia page. However, since it was required for this assignment, I thought long and hard. I searched for things that I thought I had a good grasp on, but in many situations felt that I couldn’t add something, because all the information was so extensive. However, I looked up the page of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which is where I interned this past summer. I went through, and noticed that there was no text dedicated towards the customer service values of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. So, I took it upon myself to add some in. Throughout this process, I tried not to have a biased opinion, but I found it rather hard. However, I believe the final product I placed on Wikipedia was very neutral in that respect. You can see this page by clicking here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_Rent-A-Car. After reading Jaron Lanier’s article on Wikipedia, and how it was a start to something that he saw as very scary, I had some questions, if not more of disagreements with his article. He claimed that, “Wikipedia is far from being the only online fetish site for foolish collectivism.? I find it hard to believe that such sites as Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia and many others are going to lead us down a road where we invite artificial intelligence to completely take over our modes of thinking. He makes a point in his article regarding the Microsoft paper clip, and how users dumb themselves down in order to use it, and be in awe of the artificial intelligence that it has created. First of all, I feel that people first enjoyed the paper clip because it was a fun animation that moved and at the same time could provide them with help if they summoned it. Yes, at times the paper clip pops up when you’re doing something, but mainly only to let you know that there are other possible options for you at your current situation. I feel that people see it more of as a tool that they can use, as opposed to a mastermind of artificial intelligence.

In regard to the Subservient Chicken, I was actually rather impressed with how interactive it was. I really liked the idea of how Burger King used this type of interactive advertising to let its customers know that they could have their chicken any way they wanted it. I just thought it was very clever. However, this brings me to the subject of interactive advertising such as Subservient Chicken, and more specifically viral marketing. I really enjoyed reading Noah Briers viral marketing essay. I found that I agreed with every point that he made in regard to viral marketing becoming an industry standard. I really liked how he said, “In fact, just calling it viral is problematic.? Immediately I agreed with this. Basically when a company comes to an advertising agency today, and says that they want a viral part of their advertising campaign, they are really saying that they want a complete hit. Because, in order for a piece to become viral, it needs to be loved by so many people, and so much that they feel they HAVE to share it with someone else. I just hope that eventually everyone will realize that putting money into interactive advertising such as Subservient Chicken is always a risky move in the online industry, as there are many great campaigns that proved to be unsuccessful.

My Minor Edit

While I have been a Wikipedian for a few months now, today I learned how to move a page. In the past couple of months I had done exactly what this assignment asked for: find areas of my expertise and add something important to the page. Today I was surfing around on the House Committee on Agriculture and I noticed that the Subcommittee on Specialty Crops, Rural Development and Foreign Agriculture was missing a "p" in it's title. I immediately changed this problem on both pages, but realized that the link was now dead as there was no page with the correct title. So I had to figure out how to move a title. I immediately put help me on my own talk page, and someone came to help me out. I realized I simply needed to use the "move" button, but was looking for a topic about changing the name of a title, so I couldn't find as much.

So that was a small edit that took a lot of work, but I think I have put in my time on Wikipedia. After a few trials and tribulations, I created my first ever article on Wallace Jerome, an alumnus of my fraternity and I was able to pull information from many resources to create the article. I enjoyed doing this report because I had some passion for it. It probably would not be argued as a non-neutral article, but I did make sure to include Alpha Gamma Rho as much as I could.
I really liked the statistics from Lih. It was not only interesting to see the average and median numbers of people editing articles, but also which articles were hot topics at the the time the research was done.
In response to a previous posting, I just want to make it clear that Wikipedia strives NOT to be a democracy. They understand (as should the people of a democratic society) that the majority is NOT always right, but instead tries to be through voting on ideas. In Wikipedia we are striving for the best and most complete answer, not the one voted on. So while 50 people may say that the subservient chicken is fake, if one person can prove that it is not (or just edit more often than the other 50) their entry should not be disregarded. Wikipedia even explains the idea that it is not a democracy.
The Subservient Chicken is just another example of pop culture that is some sort of advertisement. Brier's talk of viral advertising was amazing. I have seen basically every ad he was talking about. While I did not go out and buy a Honda, it made me think the company was cool, so I can see it as a great PR stunt. Great PR stunts should go down in history, because they are risks, and when they turn out they are innovations in their field. In my opinion it can be included along with things like the Commercials section of the page for Super Bowl XLI. Pop culture is history whether we like it or not. If your publicity is good (or bad) enough for enough people to care and write about it, it will go down in written history. The only things in encyclopedias are the things people care about, and in this case things wikipedians care about. If everyone cared a lot more about the current status of my life (I amazingly found no article) than Overlord (1990 Computer Game), I would have an article, and maybe Overlord would not. The thing is, history is all about pride. That's why those who win the war write the history. When you have a positive affiliations for your job, where you grew up, or what college you attended, you seem to stick up for it. For the most part, that's what wikipedians do, stick up for what they know. So in a lot of cases it is self promotion, or verifying that their life matters. But, until someone else dislikes what you do enough to delete it, it will stay. You can always revert. (P.S. I do not know what Overlord is, but it was the first article that popped up when I hit "random article". P.P.S. I love random article, you can (meaning you might, but not always) learn a lot with just a few clicks)

I Think I'm Smart

Wikipedia is an amazing thing. Every person in this class are now published on a website used around the world. For my entry I at first had no idea what to. I don't really consider myself an expert on anything so I had to think of something that I thought I knew something about. So, instead of guessing and making a fool of myself I decided to do something that I know something about, my old high school. So, there was only a small blurb about it as it had been created recently. So I decided to remember back to my high school days and tell people more about it. So far there was no discussion and I added almost everything on the page. The only thing there was where the high schoolwas located. To see my entry follow the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior_High_School. Because there was nothing in the entry, I, myself, had to keep a neutral point of view and just report the facts. So far the only link that is on there is one to the Superior High School website.

I actually remember when the Subservient Chicken came out. I remember going to the site and actually being a little creeped out because the room that the chicken was in was kind of grimy and dirty. Anywho, I remember that my roommates and I played with the thing for like an hour and were shocked at how much stuff he actually could do. (I also remember he wouldn't do some stuff and just shook his finger at us;)) Then I can recall when I figured out it was Burger King that was sponsoring this website. When reading Anderson I was really impressed how Burger King used its "Have it your way" focus by having the chicken doing things that you wanted. Which is like having it your way. I am impressed at how marketers have used viral marketing to sell their products.

As Brier stated, "When creating an advertisement, the hope is that the message will infect consumers and replicate itself inside them, thereby connecting the brand and the individual. The only online elements considered viral are those that find success. That is because, as every good virus knows, it’s either spread or be dead". Viral advertising is an amazing thing because it could either make sales go through the roof or the PSP's attempt at creating buzz for itself by lying to customers. (Here's a link to the story,sorry its long, while not part of the reading, it's pretty interesting:

http://www.gamesradar.com/us/ps3/game/features/article.jsp?articleId=2007031912215876016&releaseId=
20060314115917309058§ionId=1003&pageId=200703191269795038

Obviously, companies are seeing the potential that viral marketing has. Honestly, I cannot really see a line between documenting something and doing free marketing because they are so closely related. So, as businesses start to use the internet more and more to market itself, we should expect more attempts to create something viral.

"Meta" sites and collectivism

Sites like Wikipedia, Google, blog pages, and AltaVista are fighting for user's attention. They all strive to be the next "Meta" site that is the "highest level aggregator" (Edge). Many site owners are trying to incorporate a new technique that creates a buzz in the online community. I think that the Subservient Chicken in a classic example of an advertising technique whose success is depedent on viral marketing. The reason why the Subservient Chicken website was able to get millions of hits within its debuting week was because people were spreading the word about this website. If it weren't for viral marketing, I don't think that the Subservient Chicken would be as nearly successful. Sites like Wikipedia and the Subservient Chicken have one thing in common; they both include some sort of product, whether it's information or a form of entertainment, with user interaction. The reason why Wikipedia has been such a hit is because it allows anyone who can operate a keyboard to become an author. Of course such actions reduces the credibility of the source, but it still lures visitors. Jaron Lanier commented on Wikipedia being "nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force." (Edge). I think that Wikipedia also has a viral marketing attribute because it is dependent on many people to place their knowledge on topics for everyone else to see. It's viral marketing because it's highly dependent on users to spread the word about any kind of topic.

I myself have created a page on Wikipedia last semester. I forgot what I wrote about, but I do remember liking the feeling that I contributed to a topic that could potentially give knowledge to someone else. For this assignment I commented on "project management." I am currently enrolled in a Project Management class and so I thought that it would be appropriate for me to look into that topic. I have been interested in Project Management for quite some time and I was surprised to find so much information on it from Wikipedia. I contributed five tips on how to be a successful project manager.
The cite is "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management#The_traditional_triple_constraints."

I also found the Subservient Chicken site to be pretty interesting. The article "Dissecting 'Subservient Chicken,'" reported that Burger King's TenderCrisp Chicken Sandwich awareness and sales went up significantly. I thought that their moto "Have it your way" really fit into the construction of the Subservient Chicken which allowed viewers to "have their way" with the guy in the chicken suit. I thought it was hilarious.

Is the majority always right?

Since I have known Wikipedia, I never really knew what to think about it. After the surprise about the concept, and thinking that it was a brilliant idea, I started wondering if the idea was so good actually.
In some fields, people called "specialists" deserve their status and seeing random people writing elaborated articles in these fields can be a problem. Another thing that is a problem to me is that Wikipedia is always the first response in a google research and that it tends to become one of the most trusted and cited website. Such a monopole in the field of human knowledge seems dangerous to me. As I ask in the title of this article : "is the majority always right?". History shows us that it is not the case. To take an extreme example : people who pretended that Earth was round, or that Earth was not the center of the Universe, were alone against the rest of the world to defend their theory. What I want to say can be resumed in this sentence of the Lanier's article : "But it is not infinitely useful. The collective can be stupid, too. "

On the other hand, the debates opened by some modifications on some Wiki articles are often interesting and I have to admit that these sort of debates may not exist without a website like that.

For a long time, I tried to resist to this monopole and I tried to avoid Wikipedia at all cost, prefering finding other sources, confronting them etc... like we all used to do. However, slowly but surely, I went more and more on Wikipedia and I edited my first article a few months ago. I've done that very rarely, and it generally concerns biographies or information about bands that I know well. Here is an example :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blonde_Redhead
In the biography of the band, I added a lot of details about the producer Guy Picciotto, like the song on which he sings and things like that. I have done that for a few other bands. I think my entries always respect the neutrality because I add actual facts, that can be easily verified, and none of my modifications ended in a discussion or have been deleted.

Concerning the free marketing, I think that people in the field of publicity understood that consumers are sick of tv commercials, ads in magazine, and they have to find new technics. I am not a huge fan of the publicity in general, but as a student in communications, I have to admit that some ideas are very smart. When someone creates an entry about the subserviant chicken on Wikipedia, he makes some advertising for BK, consiously or unconsiously. I am sure people from BK expected that, and the only thing I have to tell them is : congratulations!

My 5 cents contribution to WIKIPEDIA!

I am not an expert at anything I can think of but I decided to add information regarding online security for Wells Fargo Bank, which I have been working for, for three years. The page to find my contribution is; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wells_Fargo#Lines_of_business There was a section on online banking and I included a neutral point of view or fact on what else the online banking offers for identity theft, such as the e-mail and wireless alerts for unusual transactions. I found it to go smoothly and very easy to follow. Again, it was a neutral point that I don’t think would construe as marketing but as a fact and service Wells Fargo offers for customers regarding identity theft protection. After reading more on Wikipedia and understanding that “The goal
of Wikipedia is to create an encyclopedia that can be shared and copied freely while
encouraging people to easily change and improve the content,? I found it to be just like it said. I’ve never contributed to the Wikipedia before but I found it to be so easy to improve and change. (Lih, Andrew. Wikipedia as Participatory Journalism, 3.)

I also found the subservient chicken to be quite amusing! I had never seen that before either, and first I thought it was such an unusual marketing piece. After playing around with it, I understood the meaning of it and thought it was just incredible! Like one of the judges who selected the campaign to win the gold at the Viral Awards, Matt Vescovo stated, "It was so amazingly different and such a good use of the technology.? It definitely is different and really attracts the attention of customers because it has uniqueness to it and that’s what everyone wants to see. It didn’t make me want to eat at Burger King but I thought it was quite funny.

I'm no expert, but I'm published...online...

I found this week's assignment a bit tricky. First was the task of finding a subject of which I have a beyond average understanding of. Then, in finding that subject, I had to find some piece of information that the previous myriad of authors and editors--probably more qualified than I--had missed. I have studied Ojibwemowin, or the Ojibwe language for many years and naturally it is something I thought, if anything, I know a bit more about than the average person, being that it's a dying language anyhow. So I found the Anishinaabemowin Wikipedia page and browsed over it. For a general article it was pretty well written. Another challenge was that the article was written more broadly than my understanding stretches. For a language like Ojibwe, there are many, many different dialects, and I am only truly proficient in a few, while the article mentions and describes a fair amount. So the areas I could contribute to were significantly cut down. If you look at the History link, you'll be able to see what I added. And the sentence, while I feel it crucially important to an understanding of the features of Ojibwemowin, could easily be omitted. Especially when most of the other contributors, like myself, are probably well aware of it. But, I think I slipped passed without contradicting anyone else's feelings because no one has messaged me or discussed my changes despite the fact that the discussion of the article is very active currently. I feel the entry as a whole was well done and (perhaps due to the subject matter) completely avoided any anti-neutrality. With a language like Ojibwe, the speakers and scholars are truly a tightly knit community. I actually know some of the other contributors, or have met them, and that is something I find time and time again in the Ojibwe community. There is the common cause of keeping the language alive and the egotistical-scholarship issues that may come into play with other subject matter seem to be regularly absent from the discussion. It is also very encouraging to see Ojibwe scholarship taking advantage of new technologies. If anyone is interested, here is a link to my Ojibwe teacher's blog. He took a Utilizing Technology class in his master's program and is quite proud of all his new skills. He just got a laptop and a laser-pointer too. Just as a side note, the word for laser-pointer in Ojibwe is Waasakonenjigese-izhinoogan (wah-sah-ko-nayn-jig-ay-say-izh-in-oo-gun) which literally translates to that which points in light. Gas station is Wasamoobimide-adaawewigamig which translates to fire motion store. Thought maybe you'd enjoy a little Ojibwe etymology as long as we were on the subject.
The readings were great this week. I especially enjoyed the Digital Maoism article. I found the arguments extremely poignant to our times and specifically the parts where Lanier speaks of the dangers of collectivism and the hive-mind. I think the one of the most telling passages was:
The Wikipedia is far from being the only online fetish site for foolish collectivism. There's a frantic race taking place online to become the most "Meta" site, to be the highest level aggregator, subsuming the identity of all other sites. I am a user of many of these meta-sites and I didn't really look at it in the way Lanier is framing it, but truly, property on the internet seems to belong to whoever you end up passing through to get to it, rather than who's name is next to the text. I am a user of a blog-music aggregator that scans blogs for uploaded music and then allows users to listen to them and build playlists for free. But to be honest, I've never actually used it as a pass-through to reach the blogs where the music is coming from, rather I simply listen to the music I like and move on. In this way, sites like these seem to be quite ambiguous in their benefits for all involved. Granted, they bring traffic to all they aggregate, but as in my music aggregator example, they sometimes simply borrow other people's materials and bandwidth by accumulating so many outbound links they become a super-source of sorts. Kind of reminds me of Walmart and their technique of carrying everything under the sun, eliminating the average consumer's need to go anywhere else. But I hate Walmart, and I'm not alone. The only difference is, online meta-sites are a bit harder to criticize--or more accurately--recognize, as a problem. Why might this be? Perhaps it has something to do with the generation that is probably most accustomed to using such sites. A generation raised on Napster pirate-ism. How much is information worth? I don't know, but it is surely significantly less than twenty-five years ago. And while information seems to belong to everyone in cases like Wikipedia, doesn't the bottle-necking Lanier wrote of seem more like an information monopoly?

Wikipedia, for fun or profit?

I'm quite familiar with Wikipedia just as a site I occasionally browse for fun looking at random, useless information about stuff I like, but honestly, the thought of going in there and editing anything was kind of scary. For one thing, most of the articles I tend to look at have fairly detailed information already, and even if I did attempt to edit anything, how could I be sure what I'd be adding was relevant enough to be mentioned? This was the issue I faced when I created the account for this blog entry,and even when I tried the editing feature, I really wasn't sure how anything worked. Eventually, I worked up the courage to post the sentence "Additionally, posts made by fans in certain threads may also be aired during the block in the black and white bumps." under the Forum tab of the Adult Swim article, which can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adult_swim#Forum

So far, the sentence is still there, with no comments made in the discussion for the article yet, so I can only assume that means the edit went smoothly. I may still use the Wikipedia account to touch up random things in articles I may come across, but for now, I think I'll just stick to browsing.

Just by the sheer concept of advertising and its goals, pretty much any entry of some product or service could be construed as an advertisment for them since those articles by definition must inform readers about their subjects. After all, the consumer won't know to buy a product if he or she doesn't know what that product is. Wikipedia can certainly work in that way, as I can attest from personal experience. I first learned about that Subservient Chicken by, you guessed it, randomly coming across its article on Wikipedia one day. However, there are also differences in the style of writing used to entice or simply inform. Wikipedia's policy of neutrality in all articles is a definite step toward making the site a relevant information source and not one big collection of unofficial, user created ads. I can see this policy at work in the discussion section of the Adult Swim article with discussion threads about specific users trying to promote themselves, suggestions for criticisms, and other things. Despite this line between subjectivity and objectivity in information though, viral marketing campaigns like the Subservient Chicken have found ways to propagate themselves without the need for biased language. All it takes is for people to know about them, and then their curiosity is piqued automatically and the ad holds their interest long enough to make them aware of the product. As Brier says, the focus is on spreading the message, not incubating it (31). In this way, Wikipedia is essentially doing free advertising for Burger King by having the Subservient Chicken article, even though the article itself says nothing about Burger King aside from the fact that it's behind the site. This isn't so much a failure on Wikipedia's part to be objective, but more of a tactic by the advertisers to use this objectivity to their advantage.

The Wikipedia Problem

I had trouble finding a wikipedia page about a topic that I knew well enough to add information that wasn't already there. In the end I wound up adding a little bit to two pages, one on a comedian I saw Saturday night named Zach Galifianakis, and one about the DW drum company. Both of my contributions were kind of small, b ut they haven't been changed as of yet. On the drum page I got into a discussion about whether or not the page should be merged with a page for one of its subsidiary drum making companies. When considering what to update the page with, I found myself being very concious about what to update, where it was coming from, and how it would affect how people who were trying to learn about the topic would view it. But I suppose with all the editors and people checking up on the pages anything that isn't supposed to be there wouldn't be there for long. On each page, I suppose I was doing some marketing. I think that's pretty much unavoidable when when entries exist for any products or entertainers. But I did notice that there was an entry not only for Burger King (which makes sense) but for several of their signature sandwiches, which I feel is going too far into marketing.
I found myself fairly interested in the Lanier article. While I had always wondered about the reliability of Wikipedia, I never really thought much on the fact that the site is just an aggregate of so many others. I wondered if he was making too much of the fact that there aren't any authors names on the site, but I really like what he said about the value of the internet being in connecting people, and that "If we start to believe the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we're devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots." (Lanier) It's important not to lose sight of what the internet is best for in the first place.

The Chicken Can Rap

I found BK’s interactive online ad Subservient Chicken to be very entertaining- so much so that I emailed it to my friends. Does this type of marketing make me want to buy their chicken sandwiches? Yes. Apparently I am not the only one who craves ‘having it my way’. BK marketing executives “describe the campaign as ‘a success’? (Anderson).

This was the first time I had logged on to Subservient Chicken and can’t believe that BK has had “396 million hits to date? (Anderson). I am not sure how that compares to other internet campaigns, but it sounds impressive.

In 2004, Quiznos Subs launched a similar type of ‘envelope pushing’ commercial ad with singing SpongMonkeys. Unlike the Subservient Chicken ad, this commercial actually grossed me out and I haven’t eaten at a Quiznos since. Surprisingly,
“Quiznos says sales are up (because of the ad). The New York Times, USA Today, AdAge, Cox newspapers and hundreds of Web sites are all talking about them.? (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0304/glad_u_asked022504.asp)
I guess scary rodents are able to sell food just as well as a chicken that raps (a command I told the chicken to do…and one that he/she did quite naturally.) I have yet to have the chicken ‘do the YMCA’ (Wikipedia).

I don’t consider myself an expert on one single subject, so it was a difficult task for me to post on Wikipedia. I did, however, work for Aveda Corporation for 8 years and was able to post a few tidbits about their endorsement of the CERES Principles and their innovative approach to aerosol hairspray. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aveda)
My entry was neutral because it contained facts opposed to comparing Aveda’s products to other products or posting unnecessary boasting about the company. I checked back and no one has disputed my entry. Afterwards I felt a strange sense of fulfillment for being a ‘published’ online writer.

I don’t see the same challenges with Wikipedia that others do “the problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used? (Lanier). I acknowledge that a free online encyclopedia that “anyone can edit? (Wikipedia) is conducive to inaccuracies and chaos, but isn’t that the risk of any collectivistic or groupthink enterprise?
When I need a quick overview on a subject for my own personal interest, I use Wikipedia. But when I need accurate information, I research more reliable and traditional sources.

March 27, 2007

Participatory Journalism vs. Online Collectivism

So the debate that comes from the article for this week establishes a strong existence and power amongst participatory journalism including Wikipedia and Myspace and whether or not this is beneficial and constitutes true wisdom. It is my understanding that particpatory journalism defines words in accordance with democracy among users. Therefore, isn't it the people, the individuals that are networked within a specific term, to give the term true definition and adjust the definition in accordance to ever changing culture and meaning.

I do understand the concern that this does stray from traditional encyclopedia definitions and does not constitute a clear unchanging definition given a specific term. But even encyclopedia definitions do change in time. Perhaps the only difference becomes the power of the people. Therefore, it is the people I chose to hear from and is exactly why I use Wikipedia when trying to clearly define an abstract term that I am unsure of. I believe Wikipedia gives us the opportunity to define words in accordance to understanding. For example, I am a healthcare recruiter and recently had to clearly define the difference among LPNs and RNs. Given a text book defnition I became unclear of the differences and was unable to articulate this to my candidates. When I reviewed definitions from Wikipedia I became how these terms relate in everyday terminology.

Viral marketing and the subservient chicken articles were interesting to me as I have a marketing background. I applaude companies and individuals that are able to create such campaigns that are often cost affective and gather large audience participation. The subservient chicken did just that and therefore became a success. Any figure head of a campaign that can bring the everyday web browser to spend 6 to 7 minutes on the Burger King site made a cultural impact within their industry.

In this case Wikipedia is a online community that could be used as a medium for viral marketing. This can be positive and negative in the way that Wikipedia highlights defined words. For example, the term that I worked with on Wikipedia was coffee shops. For of all the site automatically sent me to the listing for coffeehouses. I clearly do not call my coffee gathering grounds a coffeehouse but can appreciate the greatest accepted term. Secondly the highlighted term Starbuck was recognized for overstaturating the market and driving up corporate coffee prices and lowering the prices of the privately owned shops. Clearly in this defition they are using marketing efforts to make a negative feeling towards Starbucks.

I have particpated to great extent on Wikipedia but until now have not changed a defintion. I will be editing the negative Starbucks reference and also trying to clear up the statements in the defiinition regarding coffeehouses being a common place for smoking. Also at the end people begin to mention internet cafes. To me this has no meaning within coffeehouses and has been placed there primarily for people to do further investigation about internet cafes. An inidividual has placed internet cafes on this page as a way to freely market.

Wiki Wiki

I have already created a Wikipedia account not too long ago just for curiosity sake. I have never really done anything on the website however as the actual process confused me a bit. Instead of just contributing to an article I chose the route of creating an entirely new article. I thought that since I used to follow around a local band named Skywynd that I should write an article on them. Little did I know that apparantly Wikipedia has some guidelines for articles regarding bands. Skywynd, who has released two full length albums and has been touring for years now, must not have been important enough for Wikipedia. Immediately after I posted the article, it was posted for "speedy deletion". After writing more on the article and attempting to make the group sound important, I managed to relieve this speedy deletion status and it is now left with a "lacks notability" status. I also had to discuss with an editor as to what I was going to add to the article to make it more important. I was a little frustrated with this whole experience at first as it seemed their reasoning, after a little bit more research, was that Skwynd was not important or popular enough to be put on Wikipedia. I find this a bit odd as I had the impression that this was a collective encyclopedia which is open to everything. After reading the Edge article I've come to the conclusion that I should have written a Wiki on a complex scientific topic that nobody knows or cares about as apparantly they are the easiest to slip by dispute (Lanier 4). Maybe it was because I wrote the article as a former obsessed fan and came off as not having a neutral point of view as Andrew Lih's article stresses as a key importance to wiki articles (Lih 4).

In the end, I was suprised how quick editors are at reading articles, it actually helped renew my faith in the Wikipedia process now that I now have a more first hand experience.

I find the subservient chicken kind of creepy. It looks like most people do not feel the same way as me however as this campaign contributed to a 14% increase in sales in January of 2005 (Anderson). Can you say that the chicken rose in popularity at the same speed as Wikipedia?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skywynd

Wikipedia is Weed-Free!

I was not aware of the Wikipedia history, research, and growth. Wikipedia: Participatory Journalism very informative. It was fun being a “contributor? to this commonly used site. My contribution can be found under the “No-Dig Gardening? article on Wikipedia. I was hoping that with warm weather and spring fast approaching, I would stir up some fast discussion. No such luck (but it has only been a couple of days). I’ll keep watch all week and comment on my post if I should get some responses. I added a book to the article that explains the no-dig concept that is also referred to as “lasagna gardening.? In addition, I added a few tips that have helped me out the last couple of years. When I checked the discussion, another writer was toying with the idea of inserting “lasagne gardening? as well in late February. Either it is a typo or spelled differently in Europe. The link is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/no-dig-gardening#methods. It’s a great way to recycle newspaper and avoid garden chemicals!


Subservient Chicken was interesting and it’s moonwalk wasn’t half-bad! I believe it was passed around at work but I never bothered to take the time to check it out. Guess I’m not a “BWN member with the power to spread links faster than any television network ever could.? (Viral Marketing) I did take the time to check it out this time ‘round but did not bother to pass it on. I found the Viral Marketing article to be particularly useful and full of common sense. The statement “The only online elements considered viral are those that find success. That is because, as every good virus knows, it’s either spread or be dead.? This makes sense in a market media such as the Internet that is constantly changing. Also, as in any good writing, regardless of the media, knowing the audience is key to your campaign. If you don’t get it right the first time, it isn’t going to happen. Again, I thought this was a great article full of tips that are useful in all media, not just the Internet.

Foolish Collectivism!

The wonderful world of Wikipedia! If you look at the content as it actually is, there wouldn’t be any problems. Wikipedia is an inch deep and a mile long as far as irrefutable content. Taken with a grain of salt the information provided is relatively safe. I edited an entry for WISN TV in Milwaukee. I sell television commercial time for the station so I have a pretty good idea about the station. There haven’t been any changes with my edit so I must have kept my information pretty safe. I thought about editing some marginal thoughts to see how fast they would be revised and corrected but I decided against the exercise.

Are there people in the wings waiting for current events worthy of an entry? The article by Andrew Lih paints a picture of Wikipedia junkies waiting to make their mark on the internet whenever there is any newsworthy event in the world. The March 11th Madrid attacks produced a large number of edits (893) by 140 unique editors. Lih stated that Wikipedia was updated frequently by a set of dedicated Wikipedia users. What is a dedicated Wikipedia user? Do they feel that the general public is rushing to Wikipedia for current events or is it a power trip to be the first to edit a news story? Would we be lost if we didn’t have updated entries?

I think Jason Lanier hit it on the head in the Edge “The Third Culture? article. He states the problem isn’t the content of Wikipedia but how that content is being used. I enjoyed his label of the product as an “online fetish site for foolish collectivism?. Competing sites are vying to become the highest-level aggregator of general information. We are #1!

I am still waiting for my entry to be modified or deleted. I think I will add some additional fodder to make my mark and join the rest of the fools.

March 24, 2007

A Wiki-ed Experience

For the Wikipedia article Apple iPhone, I contributed a new Specification - “Integrated proximity sensor turns the display and touchscreen off when held near your face to conserve battery power and avoid spurious inputs[4].? My (Rask0005) Wikipedia iPhone contributions and edits were made from 3/23/07 20:43 - 3/24/07 09:51.

The Wikipedia contribution experience was a lot of fun! Making the contribution went pretty smoothly except that it took me a long time to find the correct way to re-use an existing citation that was for an item on the main page. I finally gave up and copied and re-used the original citation resulting in the same citation listed twice in the References section. I did not end up in any discussions regarding my contribution, but to my surprise, someone cleaned-up my duplicated citation the next day! I think my contribution maintained a somewhat neutral point-of-view so no one questioned it. However I question whether or not what I contributed was a specification or rather a product feature.

I definitely saw links that could be construed at marketing and I read discussions about why several links had been removed in the past because of it. However, this article and many other Apple product articles I read on Wikipedia all looked like ads to me - which is fine with me because I’m an Apple shareholder. However, do they really add to our base of knowledge or are they just ads? Yes, iPhone, iPod, and iMac should all be in an encyclopedia because of the direct or indirect impact these devices have had upon our lives. But from what I read about the products on Wikipedia, I think Wikipedia crosses the line and is as much a free marketing tool for business as it is an encyclopedia. The line between information and advertising is however clearly stated in Wikipedia:Policies and Guidelines and contribution guidelines. None of what I observed as advertising crossed the Subservient Chicken line drawn in the sand by Burger King (Anderson, 2005) or other contagious (viral) marketing campaigns (Brier, 2005).

I have used Wikipedia a little in the past to research information – primarily to confirm something I already knew but couldn’t quite remember. I admit I did not trust much of the information that I found and I really didn’t know much about how Wikipedia worked. This experience has given me a new perspective on Wikipedia and the information that has been contributed. My perspective on Wikipedia is no more positive nor negative. Wikipedia and distributed authorship was simply an area of the Internet I have never given much critical thought to before now.