Please publish my thesis and make it true

On: October 7, 2010
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About Philip Man
Technology should be centered around a meaningful experience: understand behaviour not technology, think people instead of device and. Don’t make products, make experiences. Like Huxley said, “to give organizations precedence over persons is to subordinate ends to means.” Technology changes fast, but people do not. The fun part does not happen in the device, but on the road from the screen towards the mind. The challenge is to understand the user’s motivations; what drives him or her, culturally and psychologically? People often don’t know what they want until you show it to them. My main ideas involve developments in new media technology and I am particularly interested in how new media is inherent to new ways of communicating, to what extent that requires and generates new kinds of data and how this can be used to improve relations between people. I like the challenge of difficult problems and to act as an idea catalyst /


We were told to start a Wikipedian adventure. Create an account and contribute to the knowledge of the world. The English Wikipedia has almost 3,5 million entries, so coming up with a term that no one has thought of writing about seems to be a great challenge. Luckily for me, I have been writing and thinking a lot about a specific way to study the personal data retrieved from social networking sites, which is called post-demographics. It is a new way, beyond the occasional demographics, to assess and define people and guess what, no Wikipedia entry has been made for it!

I won’t actually explain here what it is because I have already been writing about it on the MOM blog here and of course you can read the Wikipedia entry here. Another reason is that there are other people who can explain this term way better than I do like Rogers <pdf> and the people of DMI.

So when I braced myself to this Wikipedian adventure of revisions, deletions and admin discussions, nothing actually happened. I wrote the entry, put down my sources like a good Wikipedian is supposed to and hit submit. Until this day, nothing happened other than some bot telling me to add a category, which I did right away.

Make my opinion the truth

One of the reasons I can think of is that this niche entry has little interested readers. Not a lot of people know about this term so revisions should be quite rare. I did put a reference to post-demographics in the first paragraph of the much busier demographics-entry, because it, well, belongs there and also hopefully to give my entry some more readers. It states in the demographics-entry:

“Another form of demographics is post-demographics, originally a way to study the data retrieved from social networking sites, but also very applicable to integrate with marketing theories.”

The last part of that sentence, that it is very applicable with marketing theories is my own opinion. Yes, my opinion on Wikipedia. Still there. I wanted to write in the original post-demographics entry how this way of studying personal data could be very helpful to marketers in understanding consumers, but I got no evidence or references for that other than my own papers and thesis so I decided to leave that out as I was afraid of being deleted.

If you think about it, it is actually quite funny that statements and entries that refer to published articles (what is the criteria for that one?) and therefore are verifiable are being keeped and consequently a lot of Wikipedia users will see them as true. A kid from primary or secondary school that reads that will not judge the truth of it. After all, this is an encyclopedia, right?

Are in this way publishers deciding what is true and what is not? My request to all publishers of scientific papers: please publish my thesis so I can refer to it on Wikipedia and a lot of people will see it as true.

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