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January 24, 2007

Rules of engagement for Wikipedia

Think it's okay for you to update your association's entry at Wikipedia? Think it's okay for you to update Wikipedia entries on topics related to your association's industry or profession, if only to correct factual errors? Think again!

Looks like Wikipedians and other influentials in the online community believe this is in bad taste at best and a serious conflict of interest at worst. Knowing this, it shouldn't be any surprise to you to learn that the entry I created for myself at Wikipedia was deleted shortly after I created it.

WOMMA recently implored their constituents to help defeat a recommendation to combine the Wikipedia entry on Word of Mouth Marketing into the Viral Marketing entry. I can see how that's kosher.

Social mores in the virtual community are fickle and nuanced. What seems like an innocent and justifiable action from the association's perspective could be perceived as a serious affront to the "law and order" of the online social environment. That could make your association the unwitting target of ire from bloggers and social media uploaders (read: bad word of mouth). Tread lightly!


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