Posts tagged ‘wikipedia’

The New Technology Spectrum: From Embarrassment to Pride

According to CNET News, many people are embarrassed to admit that they use dating sites, even though the numbers indicate heavy use. Many people use Wikipedia too, but a well-known researcher sheepishly admitted in an email to me that he uses it all the time for “basic science stuff”. And many people read the Dummies book series, but don’t boast about it, as I discovered in an email confession, “I hate to admit my secret: WordPress for Dummies.”

If the embarrassment end of the spectrum is the use of certain types of web sites and sources of information, then at the pride end are thin devices (yes, people still proudly display their phones and cameras), successful social networking (lots of connections and recommendations), and being invited to tape a Comedy Central segment after posting YouTube videos. Personally, I am proud to have authored a Wikipedia entry (but that might be different than using Wikipedia as a reference) and to carry a thin phone.

February 15, 2008 at 12:29 am 4 comments

On Motivations to Contribute Knowledge and the Accuracy of Self-Assessments

Have you ever written a Wikipedia entry? I wrote an entry on Online Health Communities and also wrote about the process of submitting an entry (and keeping it there) in eLearn Magazine.

Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia) and Rich Baraniuk (founder of Connexions) wrote an op ed piece for the San Francisco Chronicle, which concludes, “Everyone has something to teach. Everyone has something to learn. Together, we can all help transform the way the world develops, disseminates and uses knowledge. Together, we can help make the dream of Open Education a reality.”

I agree that everyone has something to teach but can everyone teach? Can everyone write? As Editor-in-Chief of eLearn Magazine, I have seen submissions with great ideas that were well-written, ones with great ideas that were poorly written, and so on. Clearly not everyone can write, but I still appreciate that they are motivated to express their ideas.

The November 2007 issue of CACM had an article about what motivated Wikipedia contributions and the primary motivation was fun. A blog post “hypothesize[s] that the motivations for participating in volunteer question-answering services are different from participating in projects to create open information sources.”

I would like to hear more about the processes that Jimmy and Rich think should be set up to facilitate knowledge sharing. Will people contribute for fun or will they have other motivations? I thought I knew a lot about Online Health Communities when I wrote the original Wikipedia entry, but what if my self-assessment was flawed? Or what if I was knowledgeable but unable to express my ideas clearly? However, I certainly agree with Jimmy and Rich’s goals.

I also agree specifically about the value of current information, since there are no reasons other than historic for including Pluto in a list of planets. And I know that my college Astronomy course does not qualify me to write about Pluto’s current classification.

January 24, 2008 at 7:42 am 5 comments

Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM

Lisa GualtieriLisa Gualtieri is Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine. She is Director of the Certificate Program in Digital Health Communication. Lisa teaches Designing Health Campaigns using Social Media, Social Media and Health, Mobile Health Design, and Digital Strategies for Health Communication. Contact Lisa:


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