August 06, 2007 |
Wikia is currently home to a great number of popular video gaming communities like Starcraft, Final Fantasy and Halo. Wikia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales demonstrated the new Wikia/Playxpert in-game toolbar at Wikimania Taipei last week. The toolbar allows users to search, read and contribute to Wikia's gaming community from inside the games. The new Wikia – PlayXpert toolbar also features iTunes, Facebook, Google widgets and other integrated features. Wikia has found another way to engage, retain and grow communities and content via simple collaboration.
Wikia is the for-profit community envisioned by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley that supports over 3000 wiki communities in more than 70 languages. Over the last few weeks Wikia has redoubled their efforts to enhance Wikia into what Jimmy originally termed; “a free access point to the sum of all human knowledge.” Wikia, of course remains a for-profit venture, but the knowledge base taking shape with Wikipedia, Wikia, and now Search-Wikia represents a rather monumental stake in the “knowledge” game. Paul Glasowski covered the Ubuntu acquisition late last month and this latest collaboration into the gaming communities further enhances Wikia's potential user base. A broader view of these incremental changes just may reveal the core fabric of Web 3.0.
Web 2.0 – Now Playing
We don't often cover gaming aspects of Web 2.0, but the impact and importance of gaming is no less than video or other entertainment venues. Wikia is the largest wiki community for gamers on the planet, and this latest attraction can only serve to engage even more of this web segment. What does this mean in terms of its “import” for data rich communities in general? How does engaging gamers play into the larger picture and Web 3.0? Angie Shelton, Wikia's resident gaming expert had this to say:
“We are delighted to be working with Playexpert — their technology fits perfectly into our core mission of enabling communities to create, share and discover information on the topics their most passionate about. By bringing Wikia game content to gamers while in-game, we're effectively empowering gamers to tap into and contribute to our knowledge base seamlessly, without requiring them to dramatically change their in-game experience.”
I have communicated with Jimmy, Angela and Gil Penchina CEO of Wikia on many occasions. Their one defining vision is to provide a platform where people can create, collaborate and access a really vast amount of knowledge. Through reference (Wikipedia), search (Search Wikia) and topically specific communities (Wikia) a basic and very extensive set of entities has been created to facilitate their goal. These seemingly isolated insertions are in my view part of a much greater plan. As for gaming and its impact, engaging millions with interactive tools is essential to a dynamic Web. Static school houses are not longer in vogue or representative of how people want or need to learn. With Web 3.0 interconnectivity people will be reached and enriched where they reside – in reach of their interests, aptitude and inclination.
WOW gamer interfacing with Wikia Community
Knowledge and Learning 2010
Force feeding of raw data is no longer a viable means of reaching or educating humanity. People need to be engaged where they live and within their resident interests. One of the great shortcomings of conventional knowledge systems has been demonstrating the relevance of subject matter to the individual. Expressing “relevance” is not just something for hakia, Powerset or Search Wikia to approach, it is the defining threshold for an educated and connected world. By interconnecting all types of knowledge bases - seemingly divergent venues and communities will begin to form a rather cohesive matrix of data that can “illustrate” relevance. Exactly how this will work seems unfathomable at present, but the key element to connecting and educating people is engagement. Relevance is about meaning and the import that is attached to data by the user.
I am not suggesting that Jimmy and Co. have all the answers, but I know they have particular designs on bringing the next generation of education and answers to people. Sure, this “gaming” foray is designed to attract even more users to Wikia – but in the final analysis the engagement of millions is necessary to impart anything and especially knowledge. Personally, I think the “for-profit” tag for Wikia is really more about “ad induced donations” to support Wales' infrastructure. Heck, he is probably tired of cashing in bonds or doing speaking engagements to support the millions of dollars necessary to run all these entities. Gamers are also Web 2.0 community members – they co-habit MySpace, Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, YouTube and hundreds of other communities, but have these communities totally engaged them?
At their core Wikipedia and the other Wales' developments seek out people for their knowledge and interests promoting collaboration, contribution, interactivity and ultimately knowledge.This is not intended as en expose on the altruism of Jimmy Wales or any of these entities – it is simply a statement of fact. Getting to people is what progressive education and community enrichment is all about, whoever does this best provides real value to the Web community. Search entities like hakia and Powerset approach this from an ”answers” point of view, while Wales' approach engages both ends by summoning gamers and other communities to provide questions and answers. The proximity we provide between “interests” and information (or what I would like to call “preferred points of access”) is where Web 3.0 resides. Whether we want to siphon millions from visitors or simply support good systems - the key is getting people involved. Web 3.0 and relevance will be the advent of an even more cohesive underlying fabric between data and people - Wikia, hakia, Powerset and others will reach out to us in diverse and ever increasingly “relevant” ways.
Another WOW interaction in game – what other extensions can you imagine?