Consultant Dialog – Nicole Hallberg – Part 1
Publisher's Note: I have engaged Nicole Hallberg to offer her thoughts on what I'm doing by publishing Wikidelphia. I want to call on her instinct for understanding her clients intent as she works as a ghost writer for bloggers.
April 18, 2020
These questions are meant to grab your thoughts and goals as they exist right now. They might shift, coalesce or change completely as we go through this process. Go with your gut and what feels right, right now. We're not going to worry just yet about what's feasible or what your goals "should" or "should not" be, just what they are right this minute.
JPS: This is very, very interesting! Thank you for working with us! Since your expertise seems to be in copywriting, I should probably note at the outset that I don't write on Wikidelphia. I copy, paste, and abridge. For example, instead of what Stan calls "editorial headlines", I put the subject org's own tagline if they have one. I figure that the organization may have paid somebody a nice amount of money to make that tagline, so it's incumbent on me to use that one rather than try to invent something "editorially".
- Exceptions occur when the subject is of my own creation. So there are a few examples of my writing:
- The Why
- What is the role of "serendipity" in this project?
- Serendipity has a great deal to do with what I'm doing. It's how I work in the world. I grab on to ideas and opportunities as they show up.
- JPS: I'm the more orderly sort. I use a standard format on my own pages. I like to provide our visitors with predictability, i.e., they know what they can expect to find on my pages.
- Has the wiki succeeded in its purpose _if_ it becomes a place for some people to get hit with the right info at the right time, by happenstance, like a community corkboard where folks can pin flyers, notices and business cards?
- Yes, in part. I like to think that some people (perhaps a lot of people, some day?) will be able to browse Wikidelphia in their process of "Exploring Digital Philadelphia." But, its role for "notices" is limited. Instead of posting time-sensitive information, we reference pages for projects that offer their own Event Calendars
- JPS: We could use more metrics. I don't know of a single numerical indicator that would serve me as an analytic to know what's going on on the visitors' end.
- JPS: Speaking of current info, I'm definitely into that!
- One way: On all my pages, I look for the subject's Facebook and Twitter (etc.) and make sure there's current info there. If their social media account has recent info and updates, I add it to the page. This way, even if the Wikidelphia page is on the old side, current info can be obtained.
- Another way: My primary way of finding new subjects is a search through my News Sources. So most of my new pages have new news stories about the subjects. Also, I figure that if a subject is in the news, then there are more likely to be people looking for more information about that subject.
- Or would you like it to be more specific, strategic and structured than that?
- JPS: I'm probably the guy more interested in a consistent structure.
- (Stan:) Wikidelpha currently has five main types of entries:
- As an Index, Wikidelphia has pages that reference websites and other media.
- There are many "Issue" pages and "About" pages, often the About pages have the same named Issue. Here are the Super Issues.
- As a home for curiosity, Wikidelphia has "Question" Pages.
- As a repository of reference material we've built "Resource" Pages.
- JPS: When I make a page like this, it's called a Wikidelphia Resource Page (WRP), which, of course, I try to make with a consistent format. The way Stan uses "Resource Page", it seems to be mostly external pages. My WRPs are pages specifically built by Wikidelphia for Wikidelphia visitors, and they consist of external and internal links, as well as Wikidelphia categories and sometimes external articles. Maybe one could call them "topic pages".
- As a pool of things that "could" be, I love building "Idea Pages" and other people have contributed ideas of theirs as well.
- JPS: Stan's a big "idea guy", so these pages are a good outlet for that. I should probably make a few more of those myself. I like the idea. (pun intended)
- When is the Wiki succeeding in its purpose?
- When it is creating opportunity?
JPS: Using-Volunteers is an example. When I add this category, I make sure to also include an Info item that directly links people where to sign up and volunteer. If there is no such direct link, I don't include the category. Thanks to this practice, a visitor can find many, many volunteer opportunities that are convenient to sign up for.
- When it answers someone's very specific question?
- JPS: This would seem to refer to our several search tools: the search box on the Main Page, the Search Categories, the Multi-Category Search, are all aimed at answering questions.
- When it supports/fosters a community of well-connected people?
- JPS: I'm not sure I get the question. But Stan is huge into networking, so I'd be surprised if Wikidelphia didn't meet this.
- When it tackles a general social problem?
- JPS: I would say that we link to pages about organizations that try to solve social problems. We have a lot of those! E.g., Is-Advocacy_Organization.
- When it helps solve a Philadelphia-specific problem? Several?
- JPS: If the organization is outside city limits, I don't usually make a page about it. Stan apparently feels differently about this, but my view is that we should be careful about our scope. Philly is more than big enough, so if we were to go "Philly only", that would be more than enough for our little two-man operation to cover.
- JPS: Speaking of Philadelpia, I'm rather proud of the fact that I have n built a geographical infrastructure of categories. Look at Where-Philadelphia, and you'll see a list of the major regions. Under each region is a list of the neighborhoods in that region. On each completed neighborhood page, there's a description of its boundaries, a hyperlinked list of adjoining neighborhoods, and a map. I hope you'll have fun exploring this! It's like armchair travel.
- All? None of these?
- YES, All of these, plus more... can it promote helpfulness? Can it help to move humanity away from people killing, exploiting, and degrading each other and the planet?
- What DON'T you want to see Wikidelphia be or become?
- I don't want it to become a commercial cesspool.
- JPS: A big "amen" to that! Also, I don't want it to be one-sided. Stan tends toward the "progressive" side, and I to the conservative. There's not much of conservatism in Philly, but what I find, I add. And I want to make sure that various religious perspectives are also included.
- Would you like to see Wikidelphia operate more like an up-to-the-minute reference library, or a museum archive? Or somewhere in the middle? Or both?
- Neither of these... It's an index to 1)PEOPLE 2)other reference sites, 3)enterprises, 4)cultural sites, 5)activists, 6)advocacy groups, etc... etc...
- JPS: My view would be more like an index plus. If it were just an index, I think it's usefulness would be limited by that. I'd also like to see people stick around a little while rather than just flutter off to some other site and forget about us. So I like it when I can add a "See Also" section that'll inspire curiosity and further exploration on our site.
- Is this an online version of the Everything for Everybody store, or is this the spiritual successor to it which happens to exist online? Or are they completely unrelated in your mind?
- JPS: Stan has always liked directories of various sorts, so yes, this does seem to be closely related to E4E.
- Everything for Everybody was a storefront that I now describe as "Craigslist on Three by Five Cards." The difference between Everything for Everybody and Craigslist is the active participation of the store staff. Wikidelphia and the other ideas are an extension of the desire I had to have collaborator staff in every neighborhood where a wonderful tool would help to identify appropriate matches among the needs and resources of the clients of "Information Advocates."
- Wikidelphia is a collaborative reference tool like that called for in Librarians for the Community.
- The "Librarians" would be "Information Advocates" as described in Idea: CrowdHelping
- I call the systems that allow for Crowdhelping "Social Media Level Two"
- If someone were to email you tomorrow with exciting news about Wikidelphia, what would be the best thing that message could say?
- They would be saying how they were able to grow their network and collaborate with new people to make an impact on the causes they support.
- JPS: Visitors find so much useful information here, they'll always keep coming back. It's so much fun, they sometimes just stick around and "Wikid surf" for a while. They find fun events to attend. They find museums' digital collections, so they can visit museums all over town without leaving their living room. They find their passion-project volunteer opportunity. They use our geographical structure to find great orgs near where they live. They become Wikidelphia junkies.