Saturday is Wikipedia’s 10th birthday! (Be sure to send a card.) I remember those early days, when my professors warned me away from using Wikipedia as a resource for my research papers. Now, Wikipedia is the quickest, easiest way to get a good (or good enough) answer to my questions. But even the ubiquitous online encyclopedia acknowledges its rocky beginnings:
The initial results were underwhelming. The article “Astronomer” simply said: “Scientist whose area of Research is Astronomy.” Sweden: “Country in Northern Europe. Inhabitants are called Swedes. Language spoken is Swedish. Capital is Stockholm.” Physics: “Physics is a very broad subject.”
Yes, Physics is, in fact, a very broad subject. These days, Wikipedia is a broad, in-depth resource trusted by people across the globe as a primary reference tool. With the exception of the occasional celebrity death being prematurely reported, Wikipedia’s reputation has grown by leaps and bounds. These days, Wikipedia’s once revolutionary idea seems downright tame. Here at EContent we use wikis for everything from our internal editorial calendars to voting on the EContent 100. Most web-savvy people turn to something like Wikipedia, Ask.com, Yahoo! Answers, or even their Facebook networks when they need an answer — not to Encyclopedia Britannica.
Despite seeming like the grandfather of online communities, Wikipedia still knows how to party — or at least its volunteers do:
On January 15, the Wikipedia community is coming together in more than 300 locations all over the planet to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the free encyclopedia. From a conference in New York to a concert in Prague, from the launch of a new school project in Nairobi to a museum bootcamp in Amsterdam, from a beer-meet in Bucharest to a film screening in Tel Aviv, the events are organized by volunteers and Wikimedia chapters, as well as independent supporters. The events are open to participation by anyone and reflect the diversity of the community.