Submissions/Wikipedia in Twitter age

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no.


Title of the submission

Wikipedia in the Twitter age

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)


Author of the submission
  • Katie Filbert (one of the main authors of the 2011 Egyptian revolution article on English Wikipedia)
  • Andrew Lih (moderator)
E-mail address

email me



Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

When Wikipedia started when there was no Twitter, YouTube and other such information sources. English Wikipedia developed guidelines for reliable sources, with The New York Times and such sources as gold standards for reliability. Wikinews was also started and Wikipedia was not to be a "news platform". But with the 2005 London underground bombings and many events since, the corresponding Wikipedia articles were developed so fast and became the go-to source, curating the news information.

Despite the Internet cut off for a brief time, information flooded in ever so faster during the 2011 Egyptian revolution, much of it from Twitter. Arguably, some of the best and most up-to-date information was in the Twittersphere, coming from embedded reporters and other "trusted" sources in Tahrir Square. In the age of Twitter, how can and does Wikipedia handle the influx of information and keep articles up-to-date yet maintain high quality verifiable information about current events? Can Twitter be a reliable source? if so, when and what circumstances?

Panelists will talk about how the Egyptian revolution was covered on Wikipedia, as a case study. Al Jazeera's (English and Arabic) in-depth live coverage, Al Masry Al Youm, "curated tweets" by NPR's Andy Carvin, and Twitter feeds from "trusted" reporters on scene were among invaluable sources for editors working on the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and related articles. Wikipedia was also able to make use of video clips from Al Jazeera, licensed under CC-BY, and free licensed materials from Flickr.

The panel will also include some insight and any possible lessons to draw from news outlets including National Public Radio and Al Jazeera, along with new media sources such as as Global Voices and projects including Ushahidi. What's their process for vetting information and deciding who or what information is trusted, or what's their approach to this?

Panelists invited (and TBD) from:

  • Heather Ford - Ushahidi / Swift River
  • NPR
  • Al Jazeera
  • Global Voices
  • Georgetown University Arab Studies program (participants from Wikipedia public policy initiative)
  • Wikipedia
  • WikiCulture and Community;
Length of presentation/talk

80 minutes

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Slides or further information (optional)
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