The Wiki-master

Arts Hub Australia — Jimmy Wales is the co-founder of Wikipedia, responsible for changing the way we look at the web, information, and online networks. His lifework is living proof that technology is a force for positive change - and that's not just geek spin. Venessa Paech catches up with him as he lands in Australia for a conference, and talks about success, publicity, online values, and
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Arts Hub Australia — Jimmy Wales sighs. The co-founder of online reference hub Wikipedia has arrived in Australia to take part in a series of public seminars on education and knowledge. He’s excited to be here, but he’s dismayed at a headline he’s just seen in one of our broadsheets on the evils of MySpace and that wicked World Wide Web.

The article, spawned by the tragic suicide of two young girls who happened to have a MySpace account, expresses some valid concerns about the dangers facing our kids, and a melancholy that they were forced to articulate their woes online, rather than to family. But Wales feels the piece, and others like it, do us all a disservice by scapegoating an easy target. The Internet, after all, is still the new kid on the block, and easy pickins’ for the big, bad senior class, (read, old media, socio-political establishment) who are starting to realise their tenure at the top of the totem pole is finite.

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Venessa Paech
About the Author
Venessa has worked as an actor, singer, producer, choreographer, director and writer in New York and Australia. She earned a BFA in Theatre from New York University (Tisch School of the Arts) and an MA in Creative Media from the University of Brighton (UK). She was head of Community for Lonely Planet for several years and is currently Lead Community Manager for Community Engine. She is a published social media scholar and regularly speaks and consults around online communities: clients include Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Live Performance Australia, Ad:tech, Eye For Travel, Media140, Australian TAFE Marketing Association, SitePoint, Social Media Club Melbourne, Print NZ and more. Venessa is the former Editor of Arts Hub Australia.