LitWiki and the Digital Age

LitWiki and the Digital Age
Photo by Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

First, as it relates to Wikipedia/LitWiki, an article can start off as a tiny little seed, then flourish into a leviathan with many tentacles- especially when there are many editors involved. Admittedly, that was my first takeaway after looking back at the work done on the article. Nevertheless, my initial experience with the wiki collaboration centered around the various contributions and viewpoints entered in by my colleagues. The subject itself, "Technical Writing in the Digital Age," was a lot broader than I realized and, along with the instruction, my fellow students served to reinforce this perception.

Experience

The experience with contributing to this wiki project was very interesting. For instance, one challenging part was having a sub-section which I thought would be notable to add, only to have that contribution added already by one of my astute classmates! Jokingly, this was the elephant in the room for me, as the subtle competition that seemed to take place among my classmates to see who would be the first to make an entry was apparent. Yet, there was that feeling of ownership each time I hit the "save" button to put my thoughts into the ether. Nevertheless, this was simply a testament to my colleagues and the work we all put in in making this come to fruition. So, looking back over the past few weeks I realized how much this project progressed, and it gave me a whole new outlook when working in and viewing a wiki. This is the ultimate literary democracy: of, by and for the people!

Contributions

Nonetheless, here is where I highlight my contributions! My first submission involved personas in digital writing. Since personas tie closely with the user experience, I felt this would be a worthy addition to the wiki entry. The "user" is an integral part of the digital writing experience and personas help facilitate the creativity that is generated in technical and creative writing.

My next submission involved Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I felt this was another integral part of digital writing, as the ability to generate web traffic often relies on how one maximizes keyword usage. As technical/digital writers, knowing which words and phrases to utilize is often the difference between a website that gets little visibility and one that is extremely popular. So, understanding SEO and its importance to the overall digital experience is another tool in a technical writer's toolkit to optimize content creation.

Other contributions included layout suggestions to the project. There was also an indentation edit made in the "paragraph blocks" of the talk pages to enhance readability, done in an "outdent" style.

Comprehension and Public Understanding

The communal aspect of contributing to the wiki was perhaps the biggest takeaway of this project. Also, the farther the project moved along the more coherent the submissions became, as my comprehension of wiki editing took shape. And, there was a certain level of accountability to ensure accurate and reliable information was being uploaded.

So, from my vantage point this is one of the hallmarks of the wiki model, as community input should help with the public's understanding of wiki philosophy, and can be an important tool to help mitigate "fake news" and misinformation, with both being very prevalent today in the age of social media. Nevertheless, what I learned from this exercise is that there are still guardians at the post of information who care, and they are concerned with what is being put in print and will continue to protect this institution.

Calvin Green

Calvin Green

Calvin works as a Technical Writer for ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) creating tactical training programs for prospective law enforcement candidates. He loves to cook, travel and the outdoors.