This week our History and New Media class was tasked with editing a Wikipedia page. My experience doing so was fairly easy.
First, I signed up for an account. This was not any different than signing up for a Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Omeka, or any other online account. I clicked on the “create an account” link which just asked me for a user name, password, and optional email address. I quickly filled out the form and was ready to explore the vast network that is Wikipedia.
Upon creating and logging into my new account, the site gave me a makeshift tour. This entailed small pop up message that informed me how to navigate the site, how to find articles, how to edit an entire article, and how to edit only specific sections of articles. This was a pleasant surprise since I have never edited a page on the site before.
After I followed the brief tour on how to use Wikipedia, I began clicking through random article to see what I could contribute. Unfortunately, I had very little knowledge on the articles on which Wikipedia seemed to need the most help. Thus, I chose a topic in which I am relatively well-versed – Alice Paul.
Following my topic selection, I began work editing the Wikipedia entry on Alice Paul. Since I followed the brief tour described above, this process was simple. I clicked the edit button on each section that I edited, I contributed to those sections, I cited my sources (simply by clicking the “cite sources” link), and I saved my work.
Editing a Wikipedia is a simple process that anyone can do. Not only does the cite give you valuable information on how to create an account, edit a page, and even cite your sources (an important aspect to us historians), but it is also extremely easy to navigate when it comes time to actually do these things. I look forward to editing more information on Wikipedia in the near future to not only make the site a more reliable source, but to also contribute to one of the most popular informational webpages on the internet.