Wikipedia turned 10 years old Jan. 15. Jimmy Wales said Wikipedia's goal will be international expansion to facilitate the consumption of content to more diverse readers.
Against extraordinary odds, Wikipedia turned 10 years old
Jan. 15, celebrating a decade of providing free information about almost any topic
Wikipedia, managed by the non-profit Wikimedia
Foundation, launched by Jimmy Wales in 2001 as a project to allow volunteer
editors to contribute information for free.
Website has lured more than 400 million users worldwide, including 77 million
unique visitors in November, according to comScore. These users can peruse more
than than 17 million articles in 270 languages.
Internet & American Life Project said the percentage of American adults who
use Wikipedia has increased from 25 percent in February 2007 to 42 percent in
May 2010, which means roughly 53 percent of adult Internet users visit the
the scope of general online activities, using Wikipedia is more popular than
sending instant messages (done by 47 pecent of Internet users) or rating a
product, service, or person (32 percent), but is less popular than using social
network sites (61 percent) or watching videos on sites like YouTube (66
percent)," Pew wrote
There have been bumps along the way, including hoaxes perpetrated
by bad actors and accidental inaccuracies. Most recently, Wikipedia
that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had been killed.
To staunch the spread of misinformation, Wikipedia is
according special editing honors to trusted editors. There have also been allegations
In June 2009, Wales, Wikipedia's administrators and The New
York Times flushed information
journalist David Rohde, who was kidnapped by the Taliban in
Afghanistan, from Wikipedia. They argued it was to save his life.
There have been highlights, too. Wikipedia last year
managed to raise enough donations to keep feeding users information ad-free, most
recently raising $16
million from 500,000 people around the world.
What do the next 10 years hold for Wikipedia?
Wales and Sue Gardner, executive director of the
Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that manages Wikipedia, have
told The New York Times
and other publications that the organization hopes to
boost the diversity of editors, and with that, increase contributors from
want to see more Wikipedia use in southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East and
South America. To wit, Wikipedia is opening an office in India
, its first ever outside the United States.
They also want to lure a more women editors, as well as
more older people. Currently, 80 percent of Wikipedia editors are in their late
20s and male.
While usability will be improved, Wales
ReadWriteWeb that he doesn't want to try to make Wikipedia a social
network like Facebook or MySpace. Rather, social tools will be used to help
Wikipedia editors collaborate better to improve the Website.
In other words, Wales envisions more of the same for Wikipedia,
albeit with more articles in more languages, to serve more people all
over the world. For free.