Friday, February 9, 2007

Outbound links or what makes Wikipedia so powerful

Holly Ross nails it at NTEN: You Are Power Brokers:

You need tools that CONNECT. WHY? Why is connection so important? Because the world has changed – we’re in the information age. People no longer need you to be an information destination. They don’t need you to tell them how many families have been displaced in Darfur. They don’t need you to tell them how to save energy with fluorescent light bulbs. They don’t need you to give them best practices, or tips, or be a better broker of information. They need you to CONNECT them with the people, ideas, and resources they are looking for. And THEY want to define who those people are, what those ideas should be, and what resources they need. They don’t want you doing it for them.
So you need to change. You don’t want to be a destination, you want to be a conduit.

Which is exactly the reason why Wikipedia has become such an important part of our culture. Wikipedia is not a destination, so you can argue all you want about the "quality" of its user-generated content. It is not the content which makes it significant. It is Wikipedia's role as the world's most important connector which makes it such a big freakin deal. The most important thing about Wikipedia is its outlinks. Without quality outlinks your content is nothing but a snooze. Which is also why that attention metric I mentioned earlier this morning is such a joke.

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