Wikipedia and Social Networking

On: September 21, 2009
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About Margarida Fonseca
I am currently a Project Manager and mostly work on web related projects: websites, intranets, web advertising and usability projects at the Portuguese Telecom. This year I decided to take 1 year off work to learn new approaches and to gain insight. Since 1995 I’ve worked on all sorts of web related projects. I started as a Communication Designer (BA at IADE, Lisbon) and then learned HTMl and moved to webdesign. In 2001 I started working as a Project Manager and in 2006 I became a certified Project Manager by the PMI. Besides Project Management I also like Design and whenever I find the time I like to do illustrations and photography.


It’s easy to feel excited about Wikipedia when you’ve just created your own article. But soon after you publish it, the thrill seems to fade away.
Wikipedia has relied on a participatory system and it can’t be denied that it’s been very successful at being exactly that. On the other hand, it’s certainly possible to enhance it by adding social networking features to it, allowing users – that nowadays meet on services like Facebook or – to, based on common interests, meet on Wikipedia.

Social networking features such as listing in one page the most recent articles created or edited by your “friends”; seeing which articles they recommend, listing persons who have interests in common with yours, chatting with them in real time in private or group/subject based chatrooms (creating the roots for mutual understanding and possible collaborative work), having groups of interests that, instead of only being based on a single subject, could be  based on the interested in several subjects (for example a group of new media students); and the list of possibilities goes on.
This would go beyond the possibilities of social networking services that allow you to broaden your social horizon, by adding to that a platform for collaborative work. The Wikipedia information and knowledge base would certainly be enhanced and users would feel a deeper engagement in the information shared and in learning experience.

Wikipedia has an article on a Chinese rival of Wikipedia, Hudong, that has these social features.

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