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Back in February, I spoke at a roundtable discussion about the intersection of new media (specifically Wikipedia) and social change.  A fun and diverse group of techies, nonprofiteers, and social media junkies came together to chat about ways that new technologies can be leveraged to encourage social activism.

One surprising discovery came when –amongst a crew of self-proclaimed advocacy nerds– we admitted that very few of us had actually edited a Wikipedia page.  The general diagnosis?  There is still an invisible hand reigning over the Wiki model; and until this is dissolved (likely as a gradual epistemic change), some semblance of a traditional authorial hierarchy will remain.

But does a hierarchical model (albeit a flexible one) help or hurt a knowledge collective, particularly when its goals reach beyond the online world?
Well, that’s a bigger question that a dozen people and an hour and a half quite obviously couldn’t crack…

Thanks to Ben Rigby for bringing this question (among many others) to light in his new book, Mobilizing Generation 2.0: A Practical Guide to Using Web 2.0 Technologies to Recruit, Organize and Engage Youth.  He explores social networking sites, blogs, mobile tech, wikis…  and takes on the behavioral trends of Digital Natives in the process (a daunting task, to be sure).

Thanks to danah boyd of apophenia for the recommendation. You can download her contribution to the book via her blog.

Also, if you’re in the Boston area, visit the Ethos Roundtable blog for future events (there’s one tonight)!

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2 Responses to “A Campaign By and For Wikis”

  1. The Web Outside » More on Mobile Social Advocacy Says:

    [...] a follow-up to my recent posts about Ethos Roundtable and the Berkman Center, I wanted to reintroduce MobileActive.org, another group that I’ve [...]

  2. ben rigby Says:

    Thanks for blogging about the book. Looks like my auto-blog search tools aren’t working so good – as I’ve just come across this post now…

    I had the same experience with Wikipedia – until writing the Wiki chapter, I hadn’t actually tried to edit a page (except for a test edit years ago when it first launched – and before there were any approval processes in place). Interestingly, I was immediately banned because my username contained a word that set off their filters (“gorillapoop” – the selection of this username is a longer story…). I then went through 2-week review process with a highly ranked editor who eventually restored my editing privileges (and by which point I was too busy doing other things to create the page that I had intended to create (about mobile phone activism)). The process was illuminating.

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