Becoming a Wikipedia editor isn’t particularly difficult. But it’s not unreasonable to ask whether it’s worth your time.
After all, Wikipedia doesn’t pay its editors. It’s not particularly glamorous — editors are basically anonymous outside a relatively tight-knit community. And the content you produce likely won’t be read by very many people.
So, why bother? Because (very) part-time Wikipedia editing could be a major boon for your personal and professional life.
- You’ll Become a Better Writer
Wikipedia editing is a low-stakes way to improve your writing game without (direct) public scrutiny. But, since it involves publishing live edits to articles that people actually read, it’s a big step up from writing in a diary or unpublished personal blog.
As your writing skills improve, you’ll feel more comfortable supervising your company’s promotional efforts on online accounts like Twitter profiles, YouTube channels, Facebook posts and more. Perhaps you’ll even write some marketing copy or corporate blog posts yourself. You’ll sound more confident and collected in internal communications too — a subtle but undeniable lift for corporate morale.
- You’ll Help Companies and People Tell Their Stories
For a variety of reasons, you probably don’t want to edit your own company’s Wikipedia entry. But your work will directly benefit other organizations like yours. If you believe in karma, that’s no small thing.
- You’ll Get Comfortable With a Web Editor
If you’re not particularly tech-savvy or design-minded, becoming a Wikipedia editor can help. Wikipedia’s interface is a little idiosyncratic; it’s no WordPress. But it exists on a continuum, not apart, and therefore has value as an educational tool. Once you’ve gotten your Wikipedia editing legs under you, you’ll feel more comfortable touching up your own website. (Perhaps over your web development team’s protestations.)
- You’ll Join a Vibrant Community
Wikipedia editors comprise a tight, vibrant community. While they might not work together, they definitely stick together.
Membership in the Wikipedia editor community won’t produce direct, measurable benefits for your company. You’re not going to score any new clients on the platform’s “talk” pages. On the other hand, you’d be foolish not to apply the best aspects of the Wikipedia community to your own team and internal processes. If your stint as a Wikipedian leads to a change for the better in your company’s culture, leading perhaps to improved morale and retention, you can call it a success.
- You’ll Help Support a Vital Source of Reliable Information
Not everything revolves around the bottom line, of course. As a good-faith Wikipedia editor, you’ll support an initiative devoted to creating and preserving an honest, unvarnished record of reality. That’s a noble goal for every business owner who prizes educated, thoughtful customers, employees and vendors.
- You’ll Learn Something New
And it might just spark your next big idea. As the old saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth so that you can listen twice as much as you speak. While that metaphor doesn’t quite apply to a speechless activity like Wikipedia editing, you get the idea: as a member of the Wikipedia community, your status as a lifelong learner is secure.