The founder of Wikipedia is asking readers to send in donations of $5, $10, or $20 increments per year to keep the online project going. Do you think the web service works better as a not for profit organization because their site does not allow advertising?
Log on to Wikipedia these days and you might see something odd across the top of the page that looks surprisingly similar to a banner ad. It is a message from the founder of the website service asking people to give a donation to fund the project each year if they can.
Wikipedia is special because of the sheer volume of information contributed by private citizens to document the history and pop culture of the world. It was as it has always been — an ambitious endeavor to both preserve and grant access to a wealth of encyclopedia-esque information in such a way that it can be edited day-to-day and minute to minute as new information about subjects becomes available and can be added.
Replacing old encyclopedias that Gen X and the Baby Boomers grew up referring to in public libraries when they needed fatoid bits and golden nuggets of information, the Wikipedia files are not eligible for academic citation — but they damn sure are worth a read whenever you are trying to figure out what key terms to research on any school project or business article.
Because private citizens contribute new data all the time and the moderators who edit the information and fact check correctness are not officially recognized as experts, universities and high schools typically frown on anyone using Wikipedia as a source for a bibliographic citation.
But that does not make the compendium of work housed on the project any less valuable — it makes it more valuable, in some respects, because it is a giant social networking experiment that allows transmission of content from academics and the academically inclined to the masses.
As such. if you do enjoy reading about everything from the history of nuts and bolts to what complex philosophical terms mean or have ever used the site to quickly look up something like the birthday of your favorite green celebrity, you might want to pop on over to the site at least once a year to PayPal them a donation to keep going.
As the founder (a man named Jimmy Wales) says, “When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different. We’ve worked hard over the years to keep it lean and tight. We fulfill our mission, and leave waste to others.”
“If everyone reading this donated $20, we would only have to fundraise for one day a year. But not everyone can or will donate. And that’s fine. Each year just enough people decide to give.”
“This year, please consider making a donation of $5, $20, $50 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia.”
There is a very special message to both honor and share if you believe in the power of grass-roots marketing, the spirit of social media, and that the goal of saving trees and protecting the environment by using digital media to keep track of historical records (rather than using toxic inks on plain old paper in print editions of encyclopedias that are already contain obsolete data by the time they are printed).
Click HERE to read his request for help and to make a donation to Wikipedia.