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CIS-A2K/Pilot Designs/Social Media

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Social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Identi.ca, Tumblr, other feeds, etc.) have gained a lot of popularity especially among the 18-25 age group, and are most used by users above 35 years[1].

Social media platforms can be effective platforms for the Wikimedia movement because:

  1. They are inexpensive ways of wider outreach
  2. They are highly scaleable
  3. They use easier interfaces and are capable of simplifying/demystifying Wikipedia
  4. These services also offer analytics (like Facebook Insights already being employed by the Wikimedia India chapter page)in order to really measure the reach of online engagement

Anecdotal evidence suggests that these have been used effectively to support community building and attract newbies to projects. Experience has informed that they can be a gateway to the movement and a medium for certain forms of communication, but must also be treated as a gateway only - and the constant endeavor has to be to encourage folks to move to on-wiki channels.


Social media platforms can be a way to inform non-editors about our projects, as well as to increase the visibility of our projects. They will not directly lead to increased editor numbers - but should encourage more non-editors to try and learn more about editing (through workshops or connecting them with community members.)

In this context, the objectives are to use social media to

  • engage a wider audience for outreach (get newbies for outreach sessions, stay in touch, follow up, initiate discussions) as supplementary tools to on-Wiki discussions
  • encourage readers to move on to actual wiki editing by attending wiki workshops sessions or connecting them with experienced editors or pointing them to online resources where they can learn about editing
  • help Indic language communities gain visibility
  • connect with journalists, bloggers, tweeters for local+live coverage


  • Make guidelines for optimal use of these platforms, such as
  • how to make pages for the community
  • how to create and manage event pages before meetups
  • how to publicize meetups and how to encourage attendance of potential new editors
  • Work closely with interested community members to
  • encourage them to make and maintain such pages
  • invite social network friends and followers to attend outreach session
  • celebrate community sucesses such as wikiprojects or great quality articles
  • post about community events before and after the events
  • follow local newsmakers as well as influential people related to the free knowledge movement
  • keep an eye for conference announcements, related news stories, research postings, educational organizations
  • use metrics/analytics to measure impact and re-work social media tactics

Social media tips[edit]

  • Build and manage a language/city Wikimedia FB group
  • Give admin/moderator access to active community members.
  • Post regular updates of meetups, events, photographs, info about future events.
  • Share keywords to enter, pages where to post, whom to link - all with the intent of going viral, where approporiate
  • Add local journalists, bloggers and FLOSS folks on it.
  • Find connected relevant portals and establish a posting chain
  • Post weekly topics of discussion or thoughts, propositions for new projects, requirements for editors on ongoing projects.
  • Always moderate discussions to avoid going OT.noguarantorloan.co.uk Otherwise every platform becomes the same.
  • Why is FB different from mailing lists or village pump? Understand your audience-->Pure Outreach, potential to engage young people/students/retirees who spend most of their time FB'ing.
  • Avoid using jargon or post snippets to explain Wikitext everyday. Example: "What is 'edit'?" or "Today's Wikiword:Talk page"
  • What works better on fb than on Twitter? What works better on Twitter than on fb?
  • Do you use twitter at all, and if not, what can you use it best for?
  • How does one most effectively manage a twitter handle?

Social Media Pilot-Odisha[edit]

  • Write to 3-4 potentially interested members of the Odia community
  • Organize a virtual conference (skype, hangout, call or IRC) with all interested members to discuss the existing situation, explore possibilities, explain benefits, adapt plans as necessary and agree next steps
  • Identify upcoming events / milestones / intiatives over the next 3 months
  • Intially focus on 2 channels only - Facebook & Twitter
  • Demonstrate systematically best practices and use of all these
  • Show the nature of platform, target audience, how to write posts, updates
  • Encourage the use of personal / community blogs in Odia - which (to begin with)attracts more outsiders than Odia wiki currently does
  • Update status/tweet with interesting facts about Odia Wikipedia community and project (e.g., good quality article, wikiproject output, etc.)
  • Implement this social media vehicle for 3 months
  • Measure success in terms of page visits, likes, number of newbies joined, discussions initiated

Messaging strategy[edit]

  • What are we seeking to message?
  • What is Wikipedia?
  • Do you know who edits Wikipedia?
  • Did you know it exists in Odia?
  • Why do people edit?
  • Activities of the Odia Wikimedia community
  • Celebrate individual editor stories
  • Did you know that you can also edit Odia Wikipedia?
  • Why should you edit Odia Wikipedia?
  • If you are interested in editing Odia Wikipedia, how could you learn more about it?
  • The following aspects should be kept in mind
  • Care must be taken that social networks such as Facebook are only a point of entry - and that people actually move on-wiki
  • Messages should be short and clickworthy e.g., "Odia community meetup on xx at xx! Join us and discover more about how to participate in Odia Wikipedia!"
  • Emphasise the love for Odia langauge, which is (arguably) one of the single biggest motivators for Indic language wikipedians.

Social media monthly plan[edit]

Week Objectives Messaging Dates Comments Progress
Week 1 Introduce Wikipedia 22-28 April Messaging week 1 To be added on 28 April TBM
Week 2 Do you know about Odia Wikipedia? 29 April-4 May Messaging week 2 To be added on 4 May TBM
Week 3 Who edits Wikipedia? 5-12 May Messaging week 3 To be added on 12 May TBM
Week 4 Why edit Wikipedia? 13-19 May Messaging week 4 To be added on 19 May TBM
Week 5 Why edit Odia Wikipedia? 20-26 May Messaging week 5] To be added on 26 May TBM

Messaging week 1[edit]

  • Objective: What is Wikipedia?
  • Posts
  1. Wikipedia is the free online encyclopedia!
  2. Which is the one place that you go to find information for your assignments? (Solicit responses)
  3. Share featured article of the day + 1 DYK = Did you know XXX? Go check this out!
  • Status updates
  1. Finished XYZ homework/assignment/found out about XYZ! Thanks Wikipedia!
  2. Hey, want to know more about Wikipedia? Are you attending the XX wikipedia meetup in XX? Everyone is welcome!
  3. Hey people, we have created a page for the Odia Wikipedia community, please join us and add your friends too!
  4. Hey guys (to Odia WP page) only 12 members to reach 500! Please add your friends and spread the good word!

Messaging week 2[edit]

  • Objective: What is Odia Wikipedia?:
  • Posts
  1. Did you know Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia exists in Indian languages?
  2. Odia Wikipedia now has XX articles. It is the XX largest Indian language Wikipedia! Share this for Odia pride!
  3. (Crowdsource articles) I just expanded the XX article on Odia Wikipedia (link). Can someone find me more info on XX?
  • Status updates
  1. Even Wikipedia has XXX articles in Odia! When will Facebook start for Odia?!!!
  2. XX current news information/celebrity article DYK. Does anyone know more about XX? Help me expand this article!
  3. <Insert Odia Wikipedian name> just created this article on Odia Wikipedia! Congrats for increasing our knowledge today buddy!

Messaging week 3[edit]

  • Objective: Who edits Wikipedia?
  • Posts
  1. Wikipedia #101: <Insert definition of an editor> (Can do at least 6-7 such posts a week)
  2. Check out this really cool presentation by <Insert username> on Odia Wikipedia!
  3. Do you and your friends want to know how Wikipedia works? Comment on this post and we'll come to your college/school to teach you!
  • Status Updates
  1. (By this time, start giving a sneak peek into the Wikiverse) I just got a barnstar for improving XX article on Wikipedia! Thanks XX! :)
  2. (Crowdsource for interaction) Hey guys, I just improved the XX article on Odia Wikipedia. Can someone help me find more info?

Messaging week 4[edit]

  • Objective: Why edit Wikipedia?
  • Posts
  1. Get blog posts, 10 line notes profiling Odia community members
  2. Get one editor to post a note, 5 others repost, make it viral
  3. Emphasize the 'love for sharing free knowledge'.
  • Status updates
  1. Announce meetups, google hangout sessions to teach Wikipedia editing
  2. Post Commons FAQ poster, statistics on Wikipedia in diffnt languages
  3. Post articles available for translation

Messaging week 5[edit]

  • Objective: Why edit Odia Wikipedia?
  • Posts
  1. Emphasize love for language now. Do you love Odia? Help preserve and increase knowledge on Odia Wikipedia!
  2. Love Odia? Want to improve your writing skills in Odia? Join us on our Wiki mission!
  3. (Emotional connect) On the birthday/anniversary/occasion of XX, help us improve this entry on Odia Wikipedia! Long live free and open knowledge!
  • Status Updates
  1. Had a wonderful experience/discussion today with fellow Wikipedian XX on XX. Made this article on Odia Wikipedia within 2 hours!
  2. Guys, there is no article on XX minister/sports player/musician in Odia Wikipedia! This <noted Odia personality> must have a Wiki page. I am making one tonight, drop in a comment and we can improve it together!


Objectives Tasks Things to do/not do Example
Attract Newbies
  • Share the link to Facebook group
  • Invite as many people as we can
  • Think before you post: Will this message make my friends curious about Wikipedia?
  • Avoid posting messages/calling out only to Wikipedians
  • Invite everyone by showing them what they would value
  • WRONG ==> To all newbies and experienced Wikipedians, please join us for COTM: Tripura
  • RIGHT ==> Are you passionate about Indian culture and music? Join us and improve Wikipedia article on Tabla!
Build a mentor base
  • Invite existing Wikipedians interested in Outreach
  • Avoid making the group full of experienced editors, the aim is to teach new people
  • Restrict policy, project page discussions to Wikis
  • On social network, focus only on teaching editing, solving queries and adding more members
  • Avoid only talking to experienced editors, the idea is to talk to newbies, not those who edit already
  • WRONG ==> Hey User:XXX, good to see you here <old editor>! Congrats for 18,000 edits! I saw your RfA!
  • RIGHT ==> Hey User:XXX, good to see you here! Please join me and User:newbie in editing Birds of India article!
Stream Wikipedia information
  • Post links of fun articles like food items, places of interest, film stars, culture and invite to edit
  • Post lessons while inviting newbies
  • Post fun facts/DYK from Wikipedia
  • Avoid just posting links, give a reason why you posted one
  • When you give a lesson, don't assume the newbie knows what an edit is
  • Avoid posting links to subject specific (most subjects will be well covered) or featured articles
  • WRONG ==> Hey friends, Here's an article you can edit: Anna Hazare
  • RIGHT ==> Hey guys, I was just eating some Mishti Doi and then I saw the Wikipedia article here: <link> It's so small! Can you contribute with some info from Google books?
  • : Lesson on editing: Click the 'edit' button on the article, write one line of information from a book. Don't copy! Write it in your own words. And, save it! See, editing is so simple and sweet! :)
Initially engaging newbies
  • Welcome them to the group
  • Give direct call to action, tell them what to do
  • Ask them a question or two about their subjects, areas of interest
  • Don't wait for them to respond or ask a question, be proactive
  • Avoid copy pasting template replies. Change your wording, be informal and mean what you say
  • Don't make the edit yourself, guide someone to make their first edit
  • WRONG ==> To all the 5 new members who joined: "Hey XXX, welcome to our group! You can learn how to edit here!"
This is wrong because it shows you are 'advertising' with the same message like a bot and it not really a 'call to action'. You are not clearly telling people what to do and they probably don't know what editing means.
  • RIGHT ==> To 1 of the 5 new members: "Hey X thanks for joining this group! We teach how to contribute to Wikipedia articles. Do you want to learn?" Be personal, direct and specific
Make a username database
  • Whenever a newbie/participant from an outreach session joins, first ask: Do you have a username on Wikipedia?
  • Always ensure you get their username and store it somewhere. This makes it easier to invite them to events or see if they are struggling
  • Don't make them feel like it's a recruitment campaign, share your username too
  • Keep a list of these newbie usernames if you can store somewhere
  • When you ask, make it clear you are asking for Wikipedia username
  • WRONG ==> "Hey welcome to the group! Put your username here. Happy editing!"
  • RIGHT ==> "Hey friend :) Welcome to this group! Do you have a user account on Wikipedia? If not, go create one first!"
Maintaining regular activity
  • Posting 1-2 updates on the page, regularizing an editing hour
  • Sharing status messages/updates on your own profile regarding the same
  • It is VERY important to build and keep momentum
  • Avoid discussing your personal issues with Wikipedia or criticizing other editors
  • Keep all the posts positive and forward looking, avoid showing pessimism or crises
  • WRONG ==> Reply to a thread: "Good luck you guys, but I have retired from Wikipedia." This is unnecessary and will distract a newbie
  • RIGHT ==> "Wow, my fellow editors and friends have really improved this article, congrats to @XYZ @ABC guys!" Tag people.
Selecting articles
  • What kind of articles to choose and when to give them to newbies
Choose a generic article. Mostly pick an article out of following categories: Films/film stars, Food, Village/town of the user, language/ region specific articles
The idea is to show the user s/he has a stake/interest in editing any article. You can suggest the first article and once the user shows interest in some other article, you can join in and edit along. You don't have to help him/her make each and every edit
Club the article link with an interesting mesage, don't just post a link
  • Avoid imposing your article of interest on them
  • Avoid guiding them to edit featured/good articles
  • If they request to move pages, change names of articles, delete an article, offer to do it for them. Don't let them do it. They might get reverted and may never want to edit again
  • Suggest editing in Indic languages if they are comfortable but, don't force them
  • Unless you know that Indic language yourself, don't encourage to edit or you may not be able to support
  • WRONG ==> "Dear friends, here is <article link> to edit for today"
  • RIGHT ==> "Guys, I was looking up the Rasgulla article on Wikipedia and I saw a lot of mistakes there. Does anyone want to join in and help improving the article? <link>"
Newbie task 1
  • Create username
  • How to: "Hey do you have a username? No? Go to the top right of the page and Create a new account! It's important to create your own account so that we can see how many contributions you have on Wikipedia!"
  • Avoid using words like 'edit count' or showing how to count 'user contributions'. This is too advanced for first task
  • WRONG ==> Log in and start editing the article on Palash Sen! (Log in from where? What if I don't have username? Where to start editing Palash Sen?)
  • RIGHT ==> Your first task is to create a username on Wikipedia! Are you ready? :)
Newbie task 2
  • Correct spelling mistake
  • How to: "Excellent! Now that you have a username, see this article: <link>. Do you see a spelling error in its geography section? Click on 'edit' next to the article title. Now you can make changes to the article. Correct the mistake and click on 'Save' at the bottom of the page. Done :) You've just made your first edit. You are wikified!"
  • WRONG ==> "Look for articles on Wikipedia and correct spelling mistakes." (Where will they find, how do they start!?)
  • RIGHT ==> (Proactive) "Here's an article I saw, it has a mistake, can you go and correct it? Thanks :) "
Newbie task 3
  • Add 1 line of information
  • How to: "So, you know editing is really simple right? Let's try another edit! This time, go to the article on Kanchipuram Sari. The article is so small :( Do you want to add some information? Let's do that!"
  • Make it clear: You DO NOT need to know about every subject to edit
  • Guide where to find information and how to write
  • Warn strictly against copyvio!
  • WRONG ==> "Hey, find some information from Google books and add it to the article"
  • RIGHT ==> "You don't have to write stuff from your mind! You can go look up Google books. But, REMEMBER, read information and then write it in your own words in the Wikipedia article. Don't ever copy paste the same text :) "
Newbie task 4
  • Add a reference
  • How to: "Now, that you've managed to do all the editing tasks easily, here's the last big task.
A reference is needed so that we know the information in articles is correct.
Every line or paragraph of information you put should have a reference (the book or site you take it from).
You see those tiny numbers next to the lines in article?
Let's find a Google book first. XYZ, url = ABC. Now, click on edit and click on the sentence where you want to add reference.
Remember, reference has to be put in article itself, it will automatically appear below once you save. Find the button 'cite'. : : Select a template ==> web/news/book. Do you see an ISBN number in the 'About this book' section?
Copy that number and fill it in this template. Click on the magnifying glass. Voila! Most of your info is automatically added. : : Now, click 'insert'! You see some code has been added?
Now, go and save it! Do you see a tiny number next to your sentence? That's a reference. Congrats, you've done the hardest bit. : Now, you are a certified Wiki editor :P"
  • WRONG ==> "Click on "Edit" and just use "cite" button to add a reference" (Most of them will go and add a reference in the reference section itself
  • RIGHT ==> As explained above. Have some patience and check at every step, guide them where to look, which button to click
Newbie task 5
  • Add interwiki link
  • How to: "Okay, so reference was a little difficult. There's an easier task to do. Do you want to try? Great :)
You see those blue words inside an article? If you click on one it takes you to another Wikipedia article, right?
That is called an interwiki link
First click on "edit". Then, find a word that needs to be explained to people with some more info/context
Now add [[]] to this word. Example: cloud
Now, save it! Do you see the word appear in blue with a link?
Congrats :) You've learnt how to add an interwiki link! "
  • WRONG ==> "Just go edit and add [[ ]] to a word, it will turn blue and get linked to other Wiki article" (They will probably go and link every single word on the article. Explain why and when it should be done, just once to explain a difficult term)
  • RIGHT ==> "Click on edit and the first time you see an unfamiliar word like XYZ you can add [[ ]] brackets to it. It will be linked to another article!"
Language of messages
  • How to talk on a social network
  • Most of your friend circle and people who are always on Facebook are young people (18-30)
  • Learn to talk in a way that they feel you understand them
  • Use a lot of exclamation marks, informal language
  • While talking to a newbie keep 5 Ws in mind (who, what, where, when, why) and you will know how to engage them
  • Welcome them on the social network (Example: Hello, XYZ! Welcome to this group! Do you know how to contribute to Wikipedia?)
  • Don't use extremely formal language as if you are making announcements
  • NEVER use jargon. Simplify Wiki language and explain so that common people understand
  • Don't use offensive language or slang or local language words that others may not understand
  • Be extremely sensitive to everyone's privacy, especially when interacting with female editors
  • You can tag someone in your message but don't make it sound like you are talking only to one person
  • ALWAYS keep messages open ended: end them with a question
  • WRONG ==> Respectable friends, here is an article on my home town. I am going to edit it, please join
  • RIGHT ==> Hey guys and girls, are you ready for another round of Wiki fun? Let's get started! Today's article is XYZ and we are going to add more info to it! If you want to learn how to contribute, just reply here! Happy to help :-)
Keeping policies for later
  • On social network platforms, avoid debates on policies, Wikipedia jargon
  • Even if you have to explain the basic policies like NPOV, NO ADVERT etc, explain the basic purpose behind them
  • Avoid reverting a newbie's edits if s/he writes an adjective, qualifier by mistake
  • Instead, go and correct it, go notify and teach them so they don't repeat it
  • Same for other policies, give examples, not just policy names, definitely NOT just links!
  • WRONG ==> "You just made an edit to X article and I've deleted it. WP:PUFFERY" (Most ppl don't even know what puffery means)
  • RIGHT ==> "Hey, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, right? So, you can only write facts and no adjectives.
Maintaining outward focus
  • The idea of this entire exercise is to maintain an outward focus
  • The idea of social network is NOT to just connect with experienced editors
  • Through special groups for newbies we are trying to give them sustained support
  • DO NOT ignore newbies/those who are clueless in a conversation
  • If a person does not understand what you are saying, explain it in simpler terms
  • Try and engage with them regularly to build relationships and a healthy editor community
  • WRONG ==> Newbie: Ummm, hey I don't understand what this reference is. You: It's okay, I'll add reference myself or XYZ editor will.
  • RIGHT ==> Newbie: I am confused, I don't understand this reference thing. You: It's really simple. Don't worry, let's try once more step by step? I am always there to help :)
Adopting newbies
  • When you see a few newbies responding regularly or making an edit or two, follow it up
  • Once they give their user names, track their contributions and see what kind of articles they like to edit
  • If they are not editing, may be leave a message on talk page
  • NEVER stalk people. Don't make someone feel like you are following them
  • Be friendly, not over friendly
  • Keep checking on them and try to become friends
  • Best is to invite them to meetups or keep them posted with news
  • WRONG/INAPPROPRIATE ==> "Hey XYZ, I saw that you have edited the article on Madhuri Dixit. Is she your favorite heroine?"
  • RIGHT ==> " Hey XYZ, just thought of checking on you. You should come edit more often :) I saw your edits on film articles, you could join the film articles workgroup"
Keeping it fun
  • Social networks are preferred for this activity for the only reason that people find them fun
  • Often Wikipedians use 'walls' like talk pages and vice versa. Both need different language, tone, style of writing
  • Don't mix both, when on social network, newbies won't understand the seriousness of your Wiki involvement
  • Don't make your discussions serious
  • AVOID discussing controversial Wiki politics (this will only encourage more trolls)
  • Add a DYK or a fun fact about the article you are proposing to edit
  • WRONG ==> "XYZ edited the article. Done" (They will wonder why you are adding {{}})
  • RIGHT ==> "W00t! So, today while writing the article on pani puri we got to know A, B and C! #win
Celebrating edits
  • Always remember to congratulate editors, celebrate their edits in innovative ways to keep them motivated
  • Avoid being extremely critical while they are starting to make their first edits
  • Rather than revert, correct their edits
  • Make sure you celebrate their edits publicly on social media platforms
  • Try and gain them maximum visibility ( post, repost, share in different groups, tag them)
  • WRONG ==> A simple reply only back to the new editor ==> "Good job, well done"
  • RIGHT ==> Post on Kannada, Odia, Student club pages, on user's wall and your own wall ==> "See what this user has done! XYZ just made her first edit! Congratulations and welcome to the Wikipedia family!"
Way forward
  • Repeat mentoring, article editing sessions for 3 weeks
  • Then, just concentrate on 3-4 editors you know of and maintain long term contact
  • Keep the new 3-4 guys you are in touch with informed, tell them about new projects, propose wiki clubs etc
  • Make them capable enough so that they can hold the hands of other similar newbies
  • A newbie's life cycle spans from new editor -> experienced editor -> mentor -> event organizer/project coordinator
  • Everyone makes a few mistakes. Avoid harsh criticism and extreme patronizing. Beyond a point, you don't have to advise them in everything they do
  • NEVER create hierarchy. An editor is an editor, new or old. Don't act like you own them. Be a friend, not a master.
  • NEVER harass any newbie. They will automatically associate Wikipedians with bad things
  • WRONG ==> "Good, I see you have been editing. Now, go work on this article" (Not master)
  • RIGHT ==> "I am so happy to see you are editing :) Would you now like to join us on a project? Remember, we are all equal!"

Measures of Success and Assessment[edit]


Measure Objective Baseline Actual Assessment / Comment
Prepare guidelines/tips for social media Share these in Odia with the community na to be filled in when completed to be filled by end May 2012
Demonstrating how best to do facebook & twitter posts Add regular updates+demonstrate to outreach members how to use these na to be filled in when completed to be filled by end Aug 2012
Increasing visibility, maintaining interaction Suggest social media targets: (illustratively) 10 monthly posts, 30 tweets etc, follow up with newbies na to be filled in when completed to be filled end of Aug 2012


Measure Objective Baseline Actual Assessment / Comment
Audience Number of followers engaged thru Facebook/twitter to increase 200% current level of Facebook followers to be filled in by end Aug 2012 to be filled in by end Aug 2012
Activity Number of messages, posts, stories translated+sent to newbies keep stats of existing members on Odia fb page to be filled when complete to be filled in by end Aug 2012
Editing Number of newbie editors whose wiki journey started through social networks na to be filled in by end Aug 2012 to be filled in by end Aug 2012


  1. Mashable report on Facebook average age http://mashable.com/2011/11/18/facebook-stats/