Learning patterns/Harvesting new Wikimedians from social media

A learning pattern foronline engagement
Harvesting new Wikimedians from social media
problemOften times, especially in the case of Indian languages, the major road block in recruiting new editors is in language input.
solutionUsing different strategies to identify people who are already contributing in the native languages help to reach out to them and mentor them has helped grow many Indian language Wikimedia projects.
created on03:52, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

What problem does this solve?


Language input with complex Indian scripts is slightly difficult for any new user as in most places it is not taught in schools. Many new editors face the problem with language input before even getting familiar with the wiki markup and Wikipedia/other Wikimedia project policies. This has been a major road block in recruiting new editors.

What is the solution?


Social media helps identify people who are already using their language and script, and group under the umbrella i.e. Facebook group, Twitter list, etc. Designing Social media campaigns or one-on-one mentoring on topics that interest one or many users then help streamline and yield better result. The mentoring and handholding using social media becomes a constant and gradual activity. This could be an effective way of recruiting many who are enthusiastic for their own languages and are beyond the scope of physical outreach.

Things to consider

  • Organize the target users by maintaining internal contact spreadsheets; use various ways of engagement like "Mail Merge", social media campaigns, posting promotional images tagging/mentioning target users, featuring top contributors in media and publishing blogs by interviewing them.
  • Creating tutorials often helps. (See a quick tutorial that I created along with fellow Wikimedians during a month long online edit-a-thon)
  • Being friends with the users on social media is a must and is always an added benefit as it brings a trust factor for users to start contributing to Wikimedia projects.

Unusual target groups


Wikimedia Czech Republic has learned that it is possible to reach specific target groups via Facebook, including senior citizens. There are many Facebook pages which provide content for this age group and are adequately followed by some of the most active and IT-aware seniors in the country. The best practice is to identify such groups and provide a content for them, rather than trying to grow your own community of 60+ Facebook followers. We had limited success with age-targeted advertisement on Facebook but it is still worth trying.[1]

When to use

  • Designing online campaigns/edit-a-thons (e.g. a month-long edit-a-thon organized by the Odia-langauge Wikimedia community. In the past the Odia Wikimedia community has managed recruiting over 10 Wikisourcers whose contribution helped to bring the Odia Wikisource live)
  • Regular online engagement with new/potential editors. (e.g. @WeAreWikipedia, a collaboratively curated Twitter handle that brings one different Wikimedian every week who shares her/his community/chapter stories to a global audience, and engages in conversation about the Wikimedia movement with the Twitter users.)



See also