Update on social media pilot

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Update on social media pilot

Noopur Raval
Dear all,

Greetings! Here's an update on the Social Media pilot
Just a small recap before I go on to the numbers.

*Why Facebook?*
Why we decided to go with Facebook at all is because potential new editors
are more comfortable and familiar with the channel.  To illustrate, after
outreach sessions, we tried staying in touch with around 100 participants
using a combination of email and talk page messages and got just 3
responses.  When we sent an invite to a Facebook page where they could get
help and inputs on how to edit, we got 300 signed up in less than 3 days.
 Also, social media requires relatively lower investments of time and
resources from our community and many Internet savvy people are comfortable
using it.  The Social Media program was started in order to effectively
utilize platforms like Facebook and community groups there (like the Odia
Wikipedia group, Kannada Wikipedia group) in order to engage more new
editors and give them basic lessons on editing.

However, running a Facebook group is very different from using Facebook for
personal updates.   That's why after observing how these groups work and
interacting with a few editors who started these groups, we developed a
systematic 19 point guide that looks at various aspects of how to do use
Facebook effectively including aspects like discipline in messaging,
structuring the interactions, tone of messaging, selecting articles, being
cautious with Wikispeak etc. (Of course, it keeps in mind WP:NOTFACEBOOK.)

Here's a sneak peek into what we've been doing on two different groups:

1) You can also write on

This group was primarily started to give lessons in English editing.
Although all of us use social network sites, it is important to understand
that the way we interact on Wikipedia is very different from Facebook. This
is the gap we are trying to bridge through more deliberate messaging. As
mentioned in the detailed program
we try and do regular editing sessions with fun, interesting articles that
have adequate space for improvement (therefore making it easier for new
editors to make their first edits.)

Through a series of 5 basic tasks like creating a username, correcting a
spelling mistake, adding a line of information, adding a reference and
adding an interwiki link, we try and get the user to make their first 5
edits in less than 10 minutes. Our initial experiments show promise and of
the 400+ members right now, over 30 users have participated in these
mini-editing sessions and have now edited for the very first time.  (You
can see their usernames in the
the group; do note that are the names of 7 existing editors also on
list, who are the mentors.)

To cite examples, User:
young new editor) came to the group and wanted to create the article
cricketer Ajit Chandila <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajit_Chandila>. Once
we helped him create the article, he started contributing to Chandila's
article and moved on to another cricketer, Manvinder
User:10gible <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/10gible>joined
us to edit the article on Lalu
Prasad Yadav <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalu_Prasad_Yadav> while
the article on his college, Jawaharlal
Nehru University <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jawaharlal_Nehru_University>,
Vicky Donor <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicky_Donor> and Amul
Chaat <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloo_Chaat> and

This could not have been possible without a group of wonderful mentors like
Debanjan, Karthik, Deepon, Sheel, Pratik and Harsh who volunteered and
constantly keep helping new editors. We had Skype calls and regular chats
just to ensure that we connect with new users in a way they find most

The first hurdle of getting new editors to do a set of basic tasks has been
crossed for some.  The challenge going forward will always be is to sustain
the interest of these new editors and make them long term editors hopefully
by multiple editing sessions. That still needs to be figured out. Any
inputs, comments and help are welcome.

2) Odia Wikipedia group <https://www.facebook.com/groups/OdiaWiki/>

This group caters to Odia Wikipedians as well as people who speak the
language and might be interested in knowing about Wikipedia. We used
similar techniques as above to expand the group conversations beyond
existing Wikipedians and encourage new editors to participate.

Once when an article on Handia <https://or.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handia> (a
local beverage) was posted, a new
forward to contribute images. Since then, she has been contributing to
articles on Odia cuisine and adding images to articles on Tribes of Odisha.
the article on Capital
High School, Bhubaneswar<https://or.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_High_School,_Bhubaneswar>

So far almost 10 new users have joined in and made their first few edits in
the past month. Given the small size of Indic communities, this could be a
very effective way of encouraging newbies.  This also helps because it
means that it filters in those who have Internet connectivity, are
passionate about the language and (in most cases) are familiar with typing
in Indic languages).

Again, this was done with the help of existing Odia Wikipedians like
Gorvachove, Mrutyunjay Kar, Gyanranjan Sahu, Suratha Parhi, Diptiman and

Now that we've figured out a way of engaging so many new editors and
getting them to make their first 5 edits, the challenge is to integrate
them into our community and make sure they continue editing. Also, it would
be ideal to expand this initiative to other Indic and Wikipedia user
groups. (I am already working with the Kannada community and I know that
Wikipedia Club Pune has already been trying something similar). I would
like to invite all community members interested to write to me (
[hidden email]) and then we can have a brief skype call and figure
how to implement it for your group.

[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Pilot_Designs/Social_Media
[2] https://www.facebook.com/groups/wikipediasupport/
[4] https://www.facebook.com/groups/wikipediasupport/doc/353268748054711/
[5] https://www.facebook.com/groups/OdiaWiki/

Noopur Raval

Noopur Raval
Wikikn-l mailing list
[hidden email]