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This week at Bradley O’Mahoney

20/04/2012

OUR FOCUS: Wikipedia woes…

It’s one of the most talked about websites in the world, an online reference guide that is revered and mocked in equal measure for maintaining a stance that anyone can edit entries. Now, Wikipedia is, once again, finding itself in the spotlight, with a new study by The Journal of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) finding that 60% of business entries on the site contain errors.

23% of the 1,284 public relations professionals interviewed found making changes to Wikipedia “almost impossible”.

While the most common kinds of error are based around historical information (68.5% reported this), dates (37.7%), leadership or board information (37.4%), financial figures (28.8%), criticisms (27.1%), and spelling (21.2%).

Despite the perceived rule that ‘anyone can edit entries’, the problem for PR folk lies in Wikipedia’s rule that “people should not edit the site directly if they are a paid advocate for a company.” It’s described as a ‘Bright Line’ rule and is designed to negate bias in entries.

While we can see the good intentions behind such a rule, we think that for it to be enforceable and practical, Wikipedia needs to find a system of verification for the information that is posted.

However, in doing so, does the site run the risk of losing the essence of what has made it so successful in the first place? We’d love to hear your experiences (the good, the bad and the other) of using Wikipedia; Are you being accurately portrayed?

Headlines of the week

That’s where we’ve been going wrong! … “Being yourself at work is not good for your career, study claims” (The Telegraph, 19 April 2012)

FINALLY: Waving goodbye to an icon

Facebook has any number of groups dedicated to ‘you know you grew up in the seventies / eighties / nineties when…’ followed by a list of irreverent and often now redundant popular culture references intended to prompt warm feelings of nostalgia and belonging in readers.

This week, another addition made the list, as the nation collectively waved a fond farewell to a much loved (if frequently frustrating) messaging system as the BBC information text service, Ceefax, was officially turned off.

Ironically, it was on the very services that ultimately made Ceefax redundant, i.e. Twitter, Facebook and blogs, where people flocked to share their memories of this once great information icon, chattering excitedly of time spent awaiting the pages to click through to reveal football results and checking the time to a second of accuracy, all via a remote control the size of your average battleship.

Like its modern successors, Ceefax held a seemingly infinite amount of information but everyone had their favourite ‘hotspots’ whether it was pg. 101 for news, 303 for football scores or 606 for now/next TV listings.

The ‘Ceefax’ effect also went beyond the boundaries of TV information, even helping people to land jobs. To find out how, check out this very familiar-looking CV.

And, so we join others of a certain age in saying goodbye to Ceefax and thanks for the memories…hang on a minute, still in Newcastle until October, you say?! Pass us the remote!

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