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Do entrepreneurs need a Wikipedia page?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the contributors are theirs.

Recently, there has been an increase in Wikipedia’s personal pages. This trend was preceded by the emergence of so-called specialists who extol the benefits of Wikipedia entries not only for organizations, but also for business owners.

In fact, some argue that failing to embrace social media could stunt career prospects for executives, as it serves the dual purpose of promoting and legitimizing a business as well as creating an authentic and personal online presence. Many public figures (i.e. Hollywood celebrities, politicians, writers, media personalities, etc.) have no choice in the matter. However, some business people have a choice and may try to avoid being commemorated on Wikipedia – perhaps the most controversial platform. Although the importance of social media is relatively clear, the argument that business leaders have a presence on Wikipedia is not as concretely understood. Wikipedia is the world’s most important and widely read reference work in history, and despite battling with credibility challenges, is often a go-to when researching a notable person.

Related: 15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

Advantages and disadvantages of having a presence on Wikipedia

One of the obstacles to navigating a Wikipedia presence is, of course, how to get a page in the first place. Naturally, there are certain criteria to prevent the platform from being blocked by pages created by random self-promoters. To pass the “Notability” test, an individual must be “significant, interesting, or unusual enough to merit attention or be recorded.”

This means that you need coverage in many reliable, topic-independent secondary sources. Undoubtedly, meeting this barometer is in itself a distinction that deserves to be underlined. Therefore, if this is you, you might want to use it to signal your success. On the other hand, Wikipedia retains a reputation for being filled with a plethora of niche and unremarkable pages, or pages containing incorrect claims based on questionable sources or no sources at all – and the layman is not probably unaware of the eligibility criteria. you have to jump to get there. Essentially, it might not be worth having a page just to “flex” your importance. Other factors are at play. Additionally, once your page is live and has survived the initial review, be prepared to defend its integrity and the direction of the narrative it provides. With a Wikipedia page, you can become the target of random trolls, ex-spouses, former associates, or disgruntled employees. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

To state the obvious, it would be bizarre if some CEOs and corporate executives not are listed on Wikipedia due to their celebrity status and long lists of accolades. The CEO of a multinational and the owner of a small startup will probably not have the same needs, and therefore their Wikipedia pages will have a different impact. It may add little value to shoehorn yourself on a platform you don’t belong to. A managed Wikipedia page that lacks substance and reads like promotional material – even if it survives Wikipedia’s scrutiny – can make an entrepreneur look like an impostor. Clever audiences can spot thinly disguised sponsored content.

Put another way: if you shouldn’t have a Wikipedia page, don’t get one. And if you must, think twice. Notwithstanding, if you are your brand or are intrinsically linked to it, then a Wikipedia page could eloquently show how you have organized a personal brand and can defend you both as a company and as a person, assuming that you are really remarkable.

Having a Wikipedia page has advantages in search engine optimization, or SEO for short. Wikipedia ranks at the top of search engine results: in fact, it’s the number 1 search result on over 56% of Google searches. This is thanks to its strong domain authority and the structuring of its internal links. Despite Wikipedia’s difficult reputation over the years – for example, its use by students generally being frowned upon by teachers and professors – its top spot on search engines bolsters reputation and suggests both fame and popularity. credibility. With that in mind, it may be beneficial to prioritize your business over yourself when considering a Wikipedia presence as a business tool.

A good personal Wikipedia page is undoubtedly a pretty impactful medium for your accomplishments, personal background, previous business ventures, awards and accolades, with links to embedded references. Its presence indicates that the executive is remarkable and serves as an endorsement when it is substantial and appears to be objective. There’s a certain credulity in a third-person account from someone who isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) biased or self-promoting.

But beware: one of the drawbacks of having a presence on Wikipedia is the lack of content ownership. One of the most common criticisms of the platform is that it is run by a community of volunteer contributors. That is to say, just because you are the subject or a feature of an article does not mean that you control the content, even if it is incorrect, harms your personality or takes you for someone. else! You might even find yourself in a battle with moderators and editors. In an age of cancel culture hegemony, an incorrect factual claim – even if only published temporarily – could be very damning.

Have you heard of rippoffreport.com? If not, consider yourself lucky. It’s a controversial site, where people can post anonymous complaints. It is often relegated to a category of rogue complaints, despite its purported usefulness as a forum for the public to air their grievances. Why is this relevant for a discussion on Wikipedia? As I suggested, Wikipedia has a shady side beyond the risk of falling under the zealousness of revisionist editors. Some (and possibly many) Wikipedia editors are not just selfless nerds, but rather cold-blooded paid mercenaries. I have witnessed their work first hand and have been amazed at the audacity with editors-turned-paid media consultants to protect their clients and dismantle empirically-backed factual information in order to maintain a entirely false narrative that their customers have paid for. Once you have a Wikipedia page, be sure to allocate a budget to defend it against paid attacks or random vandals.

Related: What I Learned When a Wikipedia Troll Deleted My Page

Other options

In light of Wikipedia’s inherent contributor corruption, you may want to focus your time and resources on maintaining a safer social media presence – one that aligns with and promotes your brand and your core values, provides insight and depth into who you are as a person, and directs customers and clients to your offering. This could be your personal website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and other pages where you have more control over content. LinkedIn, for example, is well known and widely used by business leaders and has the added benefit of providing its participants with business networking opportunities. It also allows business people to chat, promote, recruit, post content and even market products.

Essentially, unless you find yourself organically presented or feel strongly that it will speed up your business, there’s no need to divert too much attention to a personal page, especially one that looks dishonest. The risks of your Wikipedia page turning into a ripoffreport.com complaint about you on the first page of a Google search are real.

Related: The 7 Key Elements of an Effective Personal Brand

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