Sunday, December 2, 2012

A new message to save Wikipedia

Today's guest blog is from NYU grad student Kaycie East, who has advice for those advertising to keep Wikipedia free of advertising.

Would you donate money to keep Wikipedia available online? How about $30? Maybe $10? Do you even care? You have probably run into these solicitations when you use Wikipedia. 

To me, the first solicitation, highlighted in yellow, is a bit robotic. The dreadful, lurid yellow background reminds me of road construction. The second message, from founder Jimmy Wales, has more passion and personality. He says that Wikipedia "is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others." This helps to position the brand’s identity and promise in our minds. But this one seems informal and incomplete. Like a hurried note left on a refrigerator.

My recommendation is for Wales to cast his solicitation as a simple but dramatic narrative... along these lines:
To our valued Wikipedia users:

Imagine a free, wide-open park where no street vendors can disturb us—where we can gather and share our knowledge with each other. No more imagining—you’re already there: Wikipedia.

Now imagine another park—but one that is crowded, loud, and filled with street vendors yelling at you to buy things. Which park do you prefer?

Like a public park, although free, this special place is costly to keep up. We prefer a street-vendor-free park, don’t you?

Your favorite park is in danger of closing. Please give whatever you can to help keep it open.

Thank you, Jimmy Wales
By Kaycie East. Kaycie is a California native studying to be a PR pro—and a travel and music enthusiast who loves the sun.

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