A fresh take on Wikipedia
After deciding to leave SoundCloud I immediatly began to think about what to do next. While looking for inspiration I made a list of startups that inspired me most. Interestingly on top of that list was a site which actually isn’t a startup: Wikipedia.
With over 22 million articles it is still the 6th biggest website. Looking up a person or a thing on the web will almost always lead you to Wikipedia. It’s so much valuable content! And all created and owned by a huge community of people instead of some commercial entity that hoards it in its data silos. I think we should all appreciate more what a great resource we have with Wikipedia.
And yet I’m also worried about the state of things and fear that Wikipedia could loose it’s traction over the long run.
New services like Googles Knowledge Graph, which is now directly embedded in Google result pages, could lead to significantly less traffic to Wikipedia. And even if visitors find their way to it they are greeted with a site that still looks like it’s 2002.
What we need is a fresh, state-of-the-art consumption experience that encourages exploration, curation in form of sharing and leads to participation.
"Ask not, what Wikipedia can do for you. Ask what, you can do for Wikipedia." JFK
Well, here is my take on it: ency.cl/opedia
It is a simple client-side app running on the short domain ency.cl which allows quick access to all the Wikipedia content. By hijacking the original Wikipedia page it’s possible to extend it with features like map & image overlays, but also to remove a lot of the clutter without having to rebuild everything from scratch.
Additionally it introduces a few social sharing options like Facebook & Twitter. Even Facebook Activity Sharing, just like you know it from Spotify, is possible. That means that if you opt-in all the articles you read will show up in your Facebook feed. While I understand that not everyone is a fan of this, I think it’s worth the experiment to see what kind of feedback loops are created when your friends can see and interact with your activities on Wikipedia.
But the best thing? It has a plugable architecture that makes it very easy to extend it. So if you have your own ideas about how to improve the Wikipedia Experience go ahead fork, push and pull-request the hell out of it on Github!
I think this is a good start and hopefully it will fuel the discussion a bit about how we can keep the innovation on and around Wikipedia happening. So give ency.cl/opedia a go and let me know what you think.
Woohoo! The first week of Operation: lolcat.biz is wrappend up! Unfortunately I was a day late because I had to wait for Facebooks Open Graph approval (got rejected because I used the action verb “read”. Now it’s “study”), but I’m still happy with the result. So 5 more exciting weeks and random projects to go. The coming project will be about an easy way to share what apps you’re using on your iPhone. Again I’m aiming for a release on tuesday.
So stay tuned!