Thursday, September 3, 2009

Why don't I Wiki?

Wiki is my friend. It might be my best friend. I read it every day. I check the news, I like the what happened in history today. I really enjoy the article of the day because I have yet to figure out the algorithm which defines how random these posts actually are. This should not be a shock at all - if you know me enough to be reading my blog, you know that I love nothing more than to learn something I didn't know. I thrive on learning.

However, my boss sent me a link to this article which was titled "Women and Wikipedia Don't Mix". Before I even read the article, I was livid - how dare they say women don't like Wiki??!! I just told you, it's basically my favorite website. I was ready to rumble with this article! Then I read it, and it stopped me in my tracks.

Basically, Wikimedia recently did a survey on people who access Wiki, and of the 175,000 respondents, 31% said that they have actually made changes or authored an article, but only 4% of them were women.

Hold the phone. I can't argue with this article because I've NEVER authored an article, and even when I've read something that I KNOW is incorrect, I've never made an update. I'm on this site every day, and I know that you can update and make changes, or share knowledge, and yet it has never even crossed my mind to make a change.

The question is why?

I can't speak for other women here, I can only speak for myself. But can I even speak for myself? I'm not sure what my reasoning is, and I can't explain it with a logical solution. So I've been mentally doing a PET interview with myself, and here are my results - which is likely just a confabulation on my part, but hell I'm trying here.

Social Media - I can't say that I'm a fan, though I don't think that my reasons are exactly the same as most people who don't dig on the new world order. (And yes, I see the irony that I am posting this on my blog - I'll get there). There are three reasons why I don't like social media.

1. I don't like the fact that people can get into my world - especially my work. Work is great, but once HR finds my Facebook page, it's a whole different ballgame. Here's the thing- It's not like I'm a wild party animal and likely to be fired for posting pictures of me and Lowell dancing the night away. However, I HAVE been demoted due to something that happened outside of work, during non-working hours, with someone who wasn't an employee of Verizon Wireless (I yelled at my brother and called him a racial slur [one that accurately reflected his ethnicity] while on the phone with someone who was a co-worker). Once bitten, twice shy.

2. I don't like people. No, seriously. Unfortunately I grew up in a small town where people have been living for 10 generations and my family is the only one that left - which means that every single person in town remembers that we moved away and wants to get in contact with us. I don't care about the people I went to second grade with. In fact, I don't remember most of them at all - but they ALL remember me. My brother doesn't mind this, so I use him as my barrier. They contact him, he contacts me, I tell him no, and he ignores them even though they are allegedly his "friends".

3. I can't imagine that anyone cares about the little trivial thoughts going on in people's minds - it's great that I'm enjoying myself on the back patio and reading in the rain and all, but who cares really? And frankly, I don't care that someone else is eating lunch, or is bored at work, or likes Hugh Jackman. Really, if I cared, we would talk about this when we're together. It's also not helpful that I believe no one is interested in the random stuff that goes through MY particular mind on a daily basis- like the impact of the Han Chinese exiting Burma due to strife in that country - and how much better that must look like to them, even though it looks NO better to us.

The Blog. The one you're reading, right. I actually spent a lot of time secretly reading blogs, without ever planning to write my own. The whole thing came from reading people's race reports, which they posted on their blogs. I liked reading about the things that happen to other people during their races and how they handled them, because it taught me how I could think differently when I hit the same speed bumps. I also liked reading about their training woes and triumphs.

When I did my first triathlon, the Tri for the Cure in 2008, I was so overwhelmed by the experience and wanted to share it with my family that I actually wrote my own race report so that I could try to share the moments during the race with them. Then it turned out that they really liked them, so I started writing race reports for all of my races. This was still through email. Then I read a couple of blogs about their privacy protection and how you could prevent it from being really public- so I said why not?
The reason I'm ok with the blog is that it is set up as private, and no one reads it. Maybe 4 people do, but they all received the blog link from me, so they are people that I know and trust. It's really not for anyone else. It's for me. It's like a diary that happens to be online and lets me look back at my training and races, etc.

Goodreads. I use goodreads, and I post my feelings about the plethora of books that I read because I know that there are actually 3 people who actively read my posts, because I lend them my books. Not only do I get to remind myself how I felt about a book when I had freshly read it, but I get to share the things that I love with the people that I love. Does it get any better? Plus I think the rating system, helps me clarify how I really felt about the book. Would I do it if my 3 followers didn't read them? Yes, but it's because there's still value to me and organizing my library.

So why don't I Wiki?
I can say conclusively that I'm not a fan of Social Media, though I can't confirm that the reasons I've provided are the "real" reasons, but I tried. But what does this have to do with Wiki-ing? Everything.

I am a maven. I love to learn. I like to learn about anything, but I'm most fascinated by people - how they interact, how they react, how they organize themselves, etc. I like them historically, culturally, literally, just not personally (See the I hate people thing above!). However, as much as I love to read, I'm not really a fan of sharing my knowledge with random people. I don't like to teach, and I don't like to train. I like to talk to the people I care about (all four of them) and get their opinions on what I'm thinking about, but frankly, I don't think that the lowest common denominator gives a crap about the concept that the only thing worse than working in a sweat shop in a third world country is NOT working in a sweatshop in a third world country.

Also, as a rabid learner, there are some things that are sacred to me, and one of them is the information in an encyclopedia (even one that is updated by people every day). I can't update an encyclopedia! I'm just not qualified. And what if my bias in an article negatively impacted someone else's feelings on that particular topic. Plus what am I actually going to write about? I don't consider myself an expert in anything!

I've thought all morning about making an update in a Wiki article, and I've found that I'm paralyzed and completely incapable of doing it. Is it possible that this same feeling of inadequacy, or of not being right, or of potentially looking the fool is part of why I don't participate in most social media?

I think it's probable, and I think I need to dig down deeper to try to understand. Where is Eric Schaffer when I need him to psycho-analyze me?

1 comment:

  1. Don't ever stop goodreads!!! I looovveee your reviews and read them! They come right to my e-mail! Hope you are well!!!