One in Three Regularly Consult Wikipedia

Wikipedia on Onion image by CatherineMunroInformation flows at breakneck pace on the series of tubes, and nowhere else is that more true than on Wikipedia. In fact, on any given day in the Winter of 2007, almost 1 in 10 online visitors somehow ended up on the online encyclopedic reference and 36% of the online American population consults Wikipedia [PDF]. What does it mean for corporations? For those of you who think editing your own company's page is within reason, give it some careful thought first.

Wikipedia's policy states that individuals with a conflict of interest should be clear and open about any potential personal or professional ties to the subject being edited. It is within reason to provide further information or statistics about a company's performance, so long as the article is written neutrally and the editor is open about their affiliation with the subject. Here it is from the horse's mouth: "If you do write an article on area in which you are personally involved, be sure to write in a neutral tone and cite reliable, third-party published sources."

Wikipedia can be an incredible promotion tool for your business, and the audience it reaches is the envy of any corporation, but use caution when editing articles. There are software programs already set up that are watching who edits what -- you don't want to end up being ousted like the CIA was when they edited a wikipedia entry on Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad!

Wikipedia on Onion image by CatherineMunro [cc, 2.0]