Monday, 4 April 2011

Web 3.0 Lab: Cancer Research UK embraces Wikipedia

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In a move that shows the emerging importance of Social Media, Cancer Research UK has announced that it will be enhancing Wikipedia pages on cancer. This is because Wikipedia pages come up higher in search than the Cancer Research UK's own web pages. Here is part of the story on BBC:

"Cancer Research UK is turning its specialists loose on the internet to get them to tidy up the online encyclopaedia - wikipedia.

"The charity said many people researching the subject are turning to the website.

"But it said there were problems with accuracy and clarity on some of the pages.

"Wikipedia said it encourages experts to edit the site as they have a lot to contribute.

"Cancer Research UK's website has pages of detail about a range of cancers.

"However, using a search engine for the terms 'Breast Cancer' puts the charity in eighth place on the results page. Wikipedia comes second. A trend it repeats across other cancers."

Cancer Research UK move illustrates the importance of a two track approach to social network research. Having an excellent authoritative web page is no longer enough. It is critical to engage social media like Wikipedia, blogging, twitter and facebook.

The lesson here is that the line between experts and laymen is no longer respect by the Internet itself. In fact crowd sourced content engines like Wikipedia will dominate search results. Therefore experts, if they really want to get their message out, must work with the community as peers rather than broadcasters.

Web 3.0 Lab: Cancer Research UK embraces Wikipedia: