As I drove into work today, I was surprised to hear two of the main stories beyond the upcoming presidential election were both on Social Media. One was a brief interview from an Egyptian Author, Wael Ghonim, who just published the book “Revolution 2.0” on the power for crowds, crowd sourcing, and social media to drive change. The other was regarding Wikipedia. In an act of civil disobedience, Wikipedia is going off-line for 24 hours tonight to protest some pending anti-piracy legislation in Congress. At midnight tonight, the English language of their site will be replace by a single page urging their readers to call Congress to protest the move. There’s a common theme to both of these stories that’s worth noting, Social Media and the Internet, can attempt, and sometimes successfully so, to drive change. Beyond that key theme, I was left wondering what affect Wikipedia’s move will have.
Wikipedia is amazingly ubiquitous. Even though most schools prevent using it as a reference source, most kids still end up using it to a degree. I find myself going to Wikipedia if I need a quick overview of an unfamiliar topic. I take its content with a skeptical view, but I probably use it more than I’d care to admit.
My question to this audience is two-fold. What do you think of Wikipedia? And what about its act of Civil Disobedience? Is it an approproate move if they feel strongly on an issue and will it be effective?
Regardless of how you may feel on this issue, there’s a lesson hear for all of us. Content drives engagement. In the Internet world, there’s a saying that ‘Content is king’. That may be so, but its increasingly the Conversation that drives engagement.