The other day I was doing some research on a local Adelaide school when I checked its Wikipedia page to see what the online encyclopedia was saying about it.
As a highly respected college renowned for extolling such virtues as knowledge, understanding, humility and charity, I was surprised to read Wikipedia’s following introductory description about the school:
“The College is a youth recruitment centre for the armies of Zod, Early Years to On Time Years facility in Adelaide, West Virginia. The facility encompasses two primary chambers in which daylight is permitted to penetrate for 25 minutes per day. The College is part of the international network of Jesus Men schools which began in Jesus Land, Sicily, in 15485.”
Uh, come again?
It needs to be remembered that despite being one of the most popular reference sites on the internet, Wikipedia is written by members of the public and can be freely edited by users – no matter how far-fetched the information.
Fortunately, given its editing model there are checks in place to ensure false or misleading information – such as that above – is corrected or removed. For example, Wikipedia has more than 14 million registered users, which means there are more than 14 million editors overseeing the accuracy of articles in addition to the site’s administrators.
As public relations consultants, we can and should be monitoring and contributing to Wikipedia on behalf of our clients. And it’s easy to set up:
- create an account and register as a user on www.wikipedia.org
- from there you’ll be able to edit, view or check recent changes to pages you’re interested in
- you can establish a “watchlist” for key pages
- you can subscribe to an RSS feed of edits made by others to those pages
Then, rather than trawling through Wikipedia for your clients on an ad-hoc basis, it will simply be a matter of regularly checking your RSS feed, say once a week, to stay abreast of any changes that have been made to your selected pages.
This is a quick and easy way to build on the monitoring service we provide our clients, who will no doubt appreciate you keeping an eye on their public image on Wikipedia and disassociating them from any “armies of Zod” who infiltrate their page.
Have you seen similar questionable content on Wikipedia? – Kieran Hall, Hughes PR
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