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Why so ashamed? Doing PR on Wikipedia you can be proud of


800px Shame grafittiWhen was the last time you saw a Wikipedia component included in a marketing case study or award nomination? Public relations professionals are eager to brag about our work, but apparently not about what we do on Wikipedia.

At a recent American Marketing Association conference on social media, I asked the panel of speakers what their company's policy was on Wikipedia. The panel had been pulled together at the last-minute. They were those eager for the publicity, on the edge of their seat, microphone in-hand. One speaker was so bold as to discuss a client's CEO that started following XXX Twitter handles. But at this moment, the speakers dropped their mics and crossed their arms. An uncomfortable silence took the stage. Even a panel of experts on social media were either ashamed, uncomfortable, or completely un-knowledgeable when it came to one of the world's most influential websites.

One question: Why?

The Wikipedia community often assumes that marketing doesn't know any better and we merely contribute to Wikipedia poorly by mistake, because we didn't know the rules. It's plausible right? We were bias accidentally. But I think it's the skeleton in everybody's closet; the dark spot in our otherwise bright marketing programs.

I want to change it. If you're not proud of your work on Wikipedia, stop doing whatever you're doing. If there's one thing I want to accomplish at EthicalWiki, it's giving companies the tools they need to make genuine improvements to Wikipedia and raise their heads high while doing it. Helping them do work we can all be proud of.

It's time for us to contribute honorably and be proud of our work. Is it harder? You bet. So lets get to work rather than taking the easy way out.

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