Wikipedia 20/Media

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Guidance and resources for getting the word out about Wikipedia's 20 birthday through press, social media, partner networks, and in the community.
WP20Symbols puzzleglobe2.svg

Are you looking for more visual materials for press and virtual celebrations? You can find Wikipedia logos linked here. Check out the Resources section for resources like:

  • A slide presentation template
  • Birthday marks and designs
  • Videos from Wikimedia Foundation executives with remarks about Wikipedia over the last 20 years
  • Digital swag for birthday parties
  • Images and gifs for press and social media
Contents

Over the coming year, you may need to share public messaging about Wikipedia’s 20th birthday — whether through a virtual event, social media promotions, presentation, partnership meeting, edit-a-thon, or something else.

This messaging toolkit helps embody and communicate Wikipedia over the past 20 years, and what the next 20 will hold so we can tell a cohesive, clear story about the Wikimedia movement for everyone.

Messaging the 20th Birthday

How to use the messaging toolkit

With this toolkit, you are equipped to develop a range of materials for a range of audiences, all while providing a consistent voice and message for the organization. This document is structured enough to ensure consistency, and flexible enough to ensure adaptability. Here is a brief overview of how to use the toolkit:

  1. Read through the full toolkit, or the parts most relevant to your goal, to become familiar with the content.
  2. Take a moment to clearly define what you are creating (email, presentation, social media posts, etc.). Next, consider who you are creating it for (in other words, who is your audience and what do they care about?). Last, define why you are creating it (what is your primary objective or call to action?).
  1. Read the "Messaging our theme" section and consider if there is a specific theme(s) your audience may be particularly interested in. This will be helpful to keep in mind for the next step...
  2. Write a first draft of your materials. In most cases, it is helpful to start by sharing a little bit about why the birthday matters so other people can share in our excitement. (Check out the "Messaging our 20th birthday" section for inspiration!)
  1. If your audience includes non-English speakers, is it accessible for them? Does it translate in a way that has meaning? (See the "Translation" section for help.)
  2. Read your draft again from the perspective of your target audience. Pretend to be them. Is it interesting? Is your call to action clear? Is anything confusing?
  1. Revise your draft! If possible, send it to someone else for editing and input.
  2. You are done!
  1. If you need further assistance with using the toolkit or additional messaging, please contact wikipedia20(at)wikimedia(dot)org

Messaging our theme: 20 Years Human

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We are aware that, technically speaking, English Wikipedia was created on 15 January 2001, but we are not making this distinction in our public messaging. Why? Because the Wikipedia ecosystem was born in 2001, and it has grown tremendously since then to encompass over 300 languages! We are not celebrating just English Wikipedia, we are celebrating all of Wikipedia: past, present, and future. With this in mind, we are encouraging everyone around the world to join in the celebration of "Wikipedia Day" on 15 January. Other language Wikipedias and movement projects are still invited to also celebrate their own milestones as planned throughout the year, and are encouraged to work with the theme!

We are not sure where the world will be in January 2021. What we can be sure of (and control) is how we celebrate 20 Years of Wikipedia, the people in and around it, as well as our movement. This moment in our calendar is about awareness and delving into ways of telling the story of our movement simply and with excitement, for anyone to understand and eventually want to be part of.

Throughout all of 2021, we want to celebrate the human beings around the world who have made Wikipedia what it is. We will embrace the "human" parts of our story, our impact, our knowledge.

20 Years

  • When messaging around the 20 years, include facts about milestones, moments in time. The more surprising/interesting/human interest they are, the better.
  • Where possible, contextualise the last 20 years in the world with what happens on Wikipedia. Bring the real, tangible and resonant things around people closer to what they may not know about how our movement projects work.

Human

  • When messaging around the humans that make our movement possible, allow for room to be human. This means: relatable people that feel like they could be just down the road from anywhere. This means acknowledging our flaws, celebrating our triumphs, smiling at our quirks -- it helps demystify words like "communities"/"volunteers"/"movement."

Examples:

  • Using data to bring human stories to life: "xx is the most number of edits to a single article in the space of a week. Here’s the interesting human story that tells you why..."
  • Using days of interest as an educational opportunity to highlight work related to that particular interest: "This World Creativity and Innovation Day, we celebrate the humans who developed innovative solutions that have made contributing to Wikipedia easier for humans everywhere."
  • Profiling volunteers or groups that you expect/usually profile: "Have you met ____, the user group dedicated to discovering, debating and documenting the ________ on Wikipedia?"

Translations

The great thing about the concept "20 Years Human" is that the term "human" exists in every language, and that variations of the concept of humanity can be applied in any culture.

When translating, aim to capture the sentiment, rather than directly translating the language. You can do this by identifying the meaning of what is being said and why it is being said; in order to convey the same meaning and purpose in the destination language.

For example:

English: I use blue (e.g. a blue colour pencil/paint) Translated to isiZulu as: Ngipenda ngombala oluhlaza okwesibhakabhaka.

In the example above, the isiZulu translation of "I use blue" writes out the action and describes the colour with an example. Loosely, it says "I paint with the colour of the sky"

For some languages, it’s easier. For example, in French "Twenty years human" could be "Vingt ans d’humain". For other languages, we might have to apply a translation method as in the above isiZulu example. When translating the line "20 Years Human," try working around the sentiment. Here are a few options to get you started:

  • Twenty Years of the Human Encyclopedia
  • Twenty Years of Humanity on Wikipedia
  • Twenty Years of Human Knowledge
  • Celebrating Human Knowledge
  • 20 Years of Human Knowledge
  • 20 Years of Human Ingenuity
  • 20 Years of Human Collaboration

Messaging our 20th Birthday

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When talking or writing about the 20th Birthday, share a little bit about why it matters so other people can be just as excited as we are about celebrating it. Here are some helpful birthday messages to get you started.

  • In 2021, one of the world’s most beloved websites, Wikipedia, is celebrating its 20th birthday. To commemorate 20 years of shared, open knowledge, we’re celebrating the people who make Wikipedia possible - the volunteers who edit and debate the facts, the donors who chip in to keep Wikipedia going, the readers who access and share articles, the developers who make sure Wikipedia is fast and accessible, and so many more.
  • Wikipedia's 20th birthday is a celebration of the creation of the world's largest online encyclopedia and the radical idea that information can be created by and open to everyone. It's a time to celebrate what we have achieved so far and to recognize where we need to improve to fully realize our mission.
  • Wikipedia is turning 20 in a world that is increasingly cynical about the place of technology to make our lives better, but that overwhelmingly believes Wikipedia is one of the actually good places on the internet. That’s because of you: every human who clicks, reads, edits, codes, donates, and shares our vision of free knowledge accessible to all.
  • Two decades after its creation, Wikipedia is celebrating the millions of people who have created over 55 million articles in more than 300 languages, enjoyed by hundreds of millions of readers across the world.
  • When Wikipedia was created in 2001, it was founded on the idea that many minds working together could create something truly remarkable. Twenty years later, Wikipedia continues to live up to its promise: never compromising our values, the integrity of our content, or the work of our volunteers.

Messaging the Wikimedia movement

This list of directional messages and examples will grow over time. If you have ideas or best practice for content, please add it below.

Overarching guidance - When talking or writing about our movement, keep it short and as simple as possible; and always thread it with the "why" behind what we do. The more public-facing your communications will be, the more you should work on the assumption that people have no idea what you mean when you write things like "free knowledge" without explanation. We have provided different ways to write messaging about the movement, projects, and communities - feel free to use them as a base for your content.

About Wikipedia:

  • Wikipedia is the world’s source of free information about anything and everything. Today, Wikipedia is visited more than 15 billion times every month from people around the world.
  • With more than 53 million articles across 300 languages, you can find an endless collection of knowledge on Wikipedia, and if something is not there - you can add it.
  • Wikipedia is a collaborative creation that has been added to and edited by millions of people like you from around the world since it was created in 2001: everyone can edit it, at any time.
  • All of this knowledge has been added, edited, and debated by people. More than 250,000 people edit Wikipedia every month from all walks of life, experience, language, and cultures. They use reliable sources to verify the facts in articles. The sources they use are referenced and listed at the bottom of each article, so readers know where the information comes from. Wikipedia contributors also monitor articles for bias or false information. In many cases, inaccurate information on Wikipedia articles is corrected within minutes, especially on high-profile articles.
  • The open editing model is one of Wikipedia’s greatest strengths. When many different people contribute to an article, it becomes more neutral, reliable, and trusted.

How Wikipedia works:

Wikipedia volunteer editors from around the world collaborate to write Wikipedia articles on virtually every subject area with neutral, cited information. Each language Wikipedia has its own standards and guidelines for what content exists on Wikipedia and how it should be presented. These rules generally indicate that information added on Wikipedia has to be notable, covered from a neutral point of view, and verified by reputable sources (such as a newspaper). The structure of Wikipedia allows everyone, everywhere to evaluate and assess the edits made to an article and make changes to content that does not meet Wikipedia’s editorial standards.

All edits made on Wikipedia are consistently reviewed by other editors, who have a variety of resources at their disposal to monitor the quality of articles and address edits that do not meet Wikipedia’s standards. They can “watch” an article page to receive a notification every time it’s edited. In addition, they have access to tools like the recent changes feed (a feed of all the edits made to Wikipedia in real time), a feed of new article pages created on the site, and even bots (automated tools that patrol the site) that can quickly revert some common forms of negative behavior on the site automatically. Most vandalism and other negative behavior on Wikipedia is reverted within 5 minutes.

About the Wikimedia movement:

  • Volunteers around the world work together to set knowledge free. They upload photos, fix typos, chase sources, write code, and start articles all to sustain the dream of a world where every human has access to the sum of the world’s knowledge.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people coming together to learn, create and share their knowledge.
  • Hundreds of thousands of everyday people make Wikipedia possible by writing, debating the facts, and updating information so everyone has access to free, trustworthy knowledge.
  • Hundreds of thousands of volunteers worldwide, working to add and improve content on Wikipedia — helping ensure reliable information is accessible to and representative of everyone, everywhere.
  • Wikipedia is the only top-10 website that's not-for-profit. It is created by thousands of volunteers and sustained by millions of donors who support free knowledge. It is trial and error; research and editing; the perfect example of human collaboration on the internet.

The Wikimedia movement’s purpose:

  • Open Knowledge. For everybody, because we make better decisions and live fuller lives, the more we know.
  • Make knowledge accessible to and representative of everyone, everywhere.
  • Help all human beings find common ground through knowledge.
  • Put knowledge creation and consumption directly into the hands of the people.
  • Set knowledge free - for everyone, everywhere.

About the 20th Birthday:

  • Wikipedia turns 20 this year, and we’re taking the opportunity to tell the story of how a few people who used the internet to share what they know, turned into a worldwide movement that runs on human generosity, dedicated to accessible knowledge for everyone, everywhere.
  • "Wikipedia Day" is what we are calling 15 January, 2021, the day that Wikipedia was established.

A look back on the last 20 years:

  • Celebrating the human beings who started Wikipedia, and the human beings who contributed in the early years.
  • Reflecting on the growth and how, over time, the faces of Wikipedia have diversified and expanded to different parts of the world.

The next 20:

  • What can we hope for in the future? Consider this question as a provocation or thought-starter for engaging your audiences in relation to your line of work/ interest. Eg. Q: "What can we hope for in design for the next 20?" A: "A global ‘back-to-basics’ approach which heralds function over form," or Q: "What can we hope for in diversity and inclusion for the next 20?" A: "Authentic and vulnerable brands creating unexpected audiences"
  • What do the global political climate and policy changes mean for the humans who edit and read Wikipedia? Consider this question as a provocation/thought-starter for engaging your audiences about the ongoing work being done by the movement to address rapidly-changing political environments and policies.
  • Inviting more humans to Wikipedia, and planning for them to stay: This is an opportunity to mention inclusion efforts being made by various affiliates and groups to attract and retain diverse contributors.

Ways to get the word out about the birthday

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Press releases

The Wikimedia Foundation press release is available on our website in English, Arabic, Chinese, French German, Russian, and Spanish. If you would like to write a press release specific to your group, below are some tips. You may also share the Wikimedia Foundation press release directly or borrow language from it for your own press release.

Why write a press release?

  • A press release is one way to raise awareness about an announcement.
  • Wikipedia’s 20th birthday is a global celebration, and local press releases can raise awareness in specific regions while showing the diversity of the movement.
  • Beyond the fact that we are celebrating Wikipedia’s birthday you can also highlight edit-a-thons, or local happenings connected to the birthday in your region.

How do I write a press release?

  • A press release should read like a news story, written in third-person, citing quotes and sources and containing key information about an announcement.
  • It can also include a call to action i.e. "Visit [website link] for more information and to sign up"

How do I distribute a press release?

  • There are a number of ways to distribute a press release:
    • Share it by email with local reporters who might be interested. (Many publications have a contact us form on their website with reporter email addresses).
    • Publish it on an affiliate/community blog, or in the press section on your website.
    • Share a link on social media.

When should I distribute a press release?

  • You can share your press release with reporters before you publish it, so they have a "heads up" and are more likely to cover the news. This is sometimes called an "embargo." For more tips on working with the media, see the movement communications skills page.

Email pitches

Do you want to invite a journalist or partner to join the 20th birthday celebrations? Here are some draft outreach messages to help get you started.  

Partner email

Subject: Join #Wikipedia20 to celebrate 20 years of humans sharing knowledge

Hi X,

I am from [AFFILIATE], and I’d like to invite you to join a global celebration to celebrate 20 years of Wikipedia, the world’s collaborative free knowledge resource that everyone can edit. We think this has significant relevance to your organization’s mission. [ADD CUSTOMIZED LANGUAGE HERE.] There are a number of ways you or your institution can get involved:

  1. Help us amplify Wikipedia’s birthday on 15 January on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook by using the hashtag #Wikipedia20 and sharing a story about Wikipedia that is meaningful to you. You can also re-tweet messages from @Wikipedia and [AFFILIATE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT].
  1. Join us for a virtual birthday celebration [AFFILIATE EVENT]. Volunteers can be available to train your institution on how to edit and share lists of topics needing articles on Wikipedia.
  1. [YOUR SUGGESTION HERE]

If you are interested in learning more, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Thank you,

[NAME]

Media pitch

Subject: Wikipedia celebrates 20 years

Hi X,

January 15 marks Wikipedia’s 20th anniversary. [AFFILIATE NAME or simply Wikipedia volunteers] and the Wikimedia Foundation are launching a global effort to celebrate the world’s largest online encyclopedia.

We’re hosting an event on [DATE]. We would like to invite you to learn more about Wikipedia’s trajectory over the last 20 years, its engaged volunteer community, and our mission of making knowledge and information available to everyone.

Let me know if you’re interested in joining our event or learning more about other events planned around this major milestone. We’d be happy to share more information with you!

Thank you,

[NAME]

Event summary

This year, Wikipedia is turning twenty, and we are celebrating all the parts of humanity that make Wikipedia and our movement possible: the volunteers, donors, partners, organisers and readers. (Usergroup / community name / affiliate) will be celebrating this milestone by (a short description of what you intend to do), for/to attract (describe your audience).

Example: This year, Wikipedia is turning twenty, and we are celebrating all the parts of humanity that make Wikipedia and our movement possible: the volunteers, donors, partners, organisers and readers. Wikimedia South Africa will be celebrating this milestone by increasing awareness in the press on the need to improve African content, to attract young Southern Africans looking to contribute to Wikipedia.


Invitation

Hello,

My name is (your name) and I am a volunteer for Wikipedia (region). This year, we are celebrating Wikipedia’s 20th birthday. (Usergroup / community name / affiliate) invites you to join our (event type), taking place on (date) at (time); where we will be (activity).

Click here (link to details of the event) learn more about our event.

To RSVP, please (state preferred method)

Resources to share with press

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Birthday resources

  • The 20th birthday web hub on the Wikimedia Foundation website in English, Arabic, Chinese, French German, Russian, and Spanish, with more information about key milestones in Wikipedia’s history, the most edited and read Wikipedia articles of all time, and stories of the people who make Wikipedia possible.

Wikipedia facts and statistics

These talking points include answers to common questions from press including key statistics, facts, and how Wikipedia works.  

About Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia is the world’s free knowledge resource.
  • It is a collaborative creation that has been added to and edited by millions of people from around the globe since it was created in 2001: anyone can edit it, at any time.
  • Wikipedia is offered in over 300 languages containing a total of more than 55 million articles, and viewed more than 15 billion times every month.
  • It is the largest, collaborative collection of free knowledge in human history.
  • Its content is contributed and edited by a global community of more than 250,000 volunteer editors each month.


Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects statistics

  • Wikipedia has more than 55 million articles across more than 300 languages
  • More than 300,000 editors contribute to the Wikimedia projects every month
  • Wikipedia is viewed more than 15 billion times every month
  • Wikimedia sites are accessed by 1.5 billion unique devices every month
  • There are more than 30 million registered Wikipedia user accounts
  • Wikipedia is viewed 6,000 times every second
  • There are more than 65 million media files on Wikimedia Commons, the freely-licensed repository of media files
  • To find statistics specific to a language edition of Wikipedia, you can visit Wikimedia Statistics which has more information about pageviews by country, number of articles by language wiki, and more.


Wikipedia and the gender gap

  • Fewer than 20 percent of Wikipedia editors identify as women.
  • On English Wikipedia, slightly more than 18 percent of biographies are about women.
  • More men than women have tried to edit Wikipedia at least once.
  • Across regions, men tend to read Wikipedia more often than women. Though awareness and usage of Wikipedia are high for both men and women in many regions of the world, based on reader surveys we estimate that one-third (33 percent) of Wikipedia readers over the age of 18 on any given day are women.
  • For more facts and research about the gender gap, please see Addressing Wikipedia’s gender gap on the Wikimedia Foundation website.  


External studies about Wikipedia

2016 Shane Greenstein and Feng Zhu at the Harvard Business Review

  • In 2016, researchers Shane Greenstein and Feng Zhu at the Harvard Business Review published a study with findings supporting Wikipedia as a neutral source of information.
  • In the study, they sought to understand how Wikipedia editors collaborate to write and edit articles related to politics. They found that editors’ contributions tended to become more neutral over time. This speaks to the collaborative nature of Wikipedia and how it encourages people to consider other viewpoints. (related HBR article)


2017 The Wisdom of Polarized Crowds research

  • The researchers Feng Shi (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Misha Teplitskiy (Harvard University), Eamon Duede (University of Chicago), and James A. Evans (University of Chicago) authored the study “The Wisdom of Polarized Crowds,” published in Nature Human Behavior; working draft available open-access on arXiv.
  • In the study, they show that politically polarized groups of editors actually created articles of higher quality than politically homogeneous groups.
  • They found that Wikipedia editors display a wide distribution of political alignments, which they assigned point values. As the number of editors for an article increases, the average of those political alignments converges to neutral. They also found that articles which attract more attention tend to have more balanced engagement from editors along the conservative-liberal spectrum.
  • The article received coverage in the Harvard Business Review.


  • Researchers found that Wikipedia came close to or even exceeded the standard of Encyclopedia Britannica when it came to the accuracy of its science entries. On Wikipedia, “high-profile examples are the exception rather than the rule.”

Social Media

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We encourage Wikimedia volunteers and movement affiliates to help spread the word about the 20th birthday across all social media channels. The main celebration hashtag is #Wikipedia20, which you can translate in your language if you would like.

Before 15 January

Please invite your followers and friends to attend the virtual birthday event (see details on Diff)! Remember to tag @Wikipedia and use the hashtag #Wikipedia20; this helps us see and share your messages. Here are some sample posts you can repurpose for your accounts:

  • It’s almost @Wikipedia’s 20th birthday! Join us and the @Wikimedia Foundation for a virtual party celebrating two decades of free knowledge: [link] #Wikipedia20
  • Happy early 20th birthday to @Wikipedia, the world's largest free online encyclopedia! Join us for the virtual party on Friday, 15 January to celebrate Wikipedia and the people who make it possible. Details: [link] #Wikipedia20
  • Did you know @Wikipedia turns 20 on Friday, 15 January? Come to the biggest-ever virtual birthday party for the world’s largest source of online knowledge: [link] #Wikipedia20 @Wikimedia

On 15 January, beginning at 7:00 am UTC

Wish @Wikipedia a happy birthday! Please tag @Wikipedia, use the hashtag #Wikipedia20, and link to the birthday website: 20.wikipedia.org. Accompany your posts with some beautiful commemorative graphics! Here are sample posts:

  • Happy 20th birthday, @Wikipedia! Join us and celebrate the website and people who make free knowledge available to everyone, everywhere! #Wikipedia20 20.wikipedia.org
  • Today, the world’s largest free online encyclopedia, turns 20 years old! Tell us what @Wikipedia means to you using #Wikipedia20. 20.wikipedia.org
  • Wikipedia started as an ambitious idea. Twenty years later, it has 55 million articles across over 300 languages! Learn more about the history of @Wikipedia on its 20th birthday: 20.wikipedia.org #Wikipedia20

Throughout the day, share highlights and fun facts from the past 20 years of Wikipedia on social media using #Wikipedia20.

  • Retweet and share celebratory posts from the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia social media channels. Links to our handles are below.
  • Promote the 20th birthday launch video (coming soon!), which will be available in Arabic, English, Chinese, French, German, Russian, and Spanish.
  • Promote a Twitter chat between @Wikipedia and the International Space Station (details coming soon!).
  • Change your social media cover photos (graphics coming soon!)

Visuals to share

We’ve created several commemorative graphics for you to share on your social media channels to help promote #Wikipedia20, including stickers, GIFs, and other digital assets.

Amplification request form

If you would like additional amplification from the Wikimedia and/or Wikipedia social media accounts of materials you are sharing, please complete this form with the relevant details.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s social media content plans

A brief overview of the Foundation’s 20th Birthday social media plans is available below for your reference. We would appreciate if you can share the following materials on your channels:

  • From Monday, 4 January - Thursday, 14 January, we will run a social media series on Wikipedia channels highlighting key moments in Wikimedia history from the past two decades. Additionally, we will promote the virtual event, community events, and relevant news coverage about the birthday on a rolling basis.
  • Friday, 15 January: We will start Wikipedia Day celebrations on social media at 7:00 UTC. We will change all of our accounts’ cover photos to the new visual materials. We will start by sharing a celebratory video that is in development now. Other things we will promote throughout that day include:
    • Livestreamed virtual event (16:00 - 17:00 UTC)
    • Blog post by Executive Director Katherine Maher
    • Resharing birthday messages from celebrities, volunteers, donors, and others (We are encouraging people to tweet a story about them and Wikipedia, tagging @Wikipedia and using #Wikipedia20.)
    • News stories
    • Trivia questions about Wikipedia
    • An augmented reality filter
    • Thank you to our partners
    • 20th birthday web hub
  • From Monday, 18 January - Friday, 29 January, we will run a social media series on Wikipedia channels profiling Wikimedia volunteers.

Wikimedia Foundation social media handles

Wikipedia social media handles

Tracking press coverage for Wikipedia’s 20th birthday

This provides a common place for the movement to track press coverage about Wikipedia’s 20th birthday. If you see a specific media article about the birthday, please add it below!

Updating and connecting

Please add a row and share what you are working on regarding media outreach for Wikipedia 20. This could serve as a "live" overview of who does what where. Is there something you could help somebody else with? Need inspiration yourself? Want to plan together or do simultaneous releases?