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The campaign #KnowWithWiki celebrates young voices: Khanyi Mpumlwana

Wikimedia Foundation's Creative Director shares this campaign is an attempt to demonstrate how project like Wikipedia can help people access and share knowledge globally

e4m by Shrabasti Mallik
Published: May 24, 2022 1:07 PM  | 5 min read
Khanyi Mpumlwana

There is no denying the fact that we are living in an era of data deluge, where information is available at, literally, the click of one button. But with an unrestrained inflow of data arises the pertinent question that doubts its authenticity. And this is exactly where Wikipedia comes in. A free-knowledge project operated by Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia is one of the most-visited sites across the world for knowledge and content.

We speak to Khanyi Mpumlwana, Creative Director, Wikimedia Foundation, about the charitable foundation, their latest #KnowWithWiki campaign, and how the foundation ensures verified information to its global audience.

Excerpts from the interview:

Tell us about the Wikimedia Foundation? Is it linked to Wikipedia?

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organisation that operates Wikipedia and other Wikimedia's free knowledge projects – we host the sites and build software experiences for reading, contributing and sharing Wikimedia content. We’re the people that support and amplify the work our online communities do!

How relevant and verified is Wikipedia in an age of data deluge and fake information? In what ways does Wikipedia benefit the lives of a common Indian?

Wikipedia, as well as our other free-knowledge projects, is required by all of us. Over time, Wikimedia volunteers have developed essential tools to weed out unreliable information on its platforms. The transparent and open-editing process also adds to building trust with Wikipedia readers, since everyone can review how a Wikipedia article has evolved over time and contributed to its improvement. Think of Wikipedia as a crowdsourced encyclopedia, where information is constantly verified and cross-checked by people across the globe, and every piece of information is cited from a credible source. Our volunteer community follows rigorous editorial standards - at over 3,00,000, they are akin to the largest fact-checking and sourcing operation in the world.

Indians visit Wikipedia more than 750 million times each month, the fifth-highest number of views from any country. India also represents the fifth-largest volunteer base for Wikipedia with over 65,000 contributors. Our contributors have developed Wikipedia in 25 regional languages of India including Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi and Telugu, along with endangered or tribal languages like Santhali.

For a common Indian, Wikipedia is often a quick source of relevant information and a stepping stone to deeper research. The vast range of topics included in the online encyclopedia gives an opportunity to today’s discerning audiences to find more fact-based, verified information about their topic of interest or research. 

Tell us about the #KnowWithWiki campaign. What is the aim of the campaign?

The campaign #KnowWithWiki is our way of celebrating and amplifying the young voices that share knowledge in dynamic ways on their social media platforms. A lot of young people in India may not use Wikipedia as part of their knowledge sharing and this campaign aims to demonstrate the role we could play in what they already do – share information. We hope to use this campaign to help young people learn more about how Wikipedia - in India, so that we may strengthen our communications and relationship with them.

How is this campaign different from other social media campaigns? What is the creative idea behind the campaign?

This campaign, along with another we made in South Africa, is different in the sense that we are experimenting with the Wikipedia brand by putting it in the hands of young creators, to see what they come up with. Wikipedia is a platform that thrives on the voices of people the world over and we want to use such campaigns to show young people that they can also participate in the world of knowledge sharing in ways they are comfortable with - through audiovisual content on their social media channels.

We have seen the influencer content being published as a part of the campaign. They all have a topic to talk about. Who chose those topics and why?

The influencers themselves chose these topics. Our brief to them was quite simple: We acknowledge that you like to cover various topics on your social media platforms. So, please pick a topic that interests you and break it down for your audience using relevant information from Wikipedia. We are not a brand that dictates how people should share knowledge or the things that interest them the most. We are simply a brand that wants to encourage people to do so using a trusted source of information like Wikipedia!

Can you tell me a little more about your role at the foundation? What exactly the Communication department and the Brand Studio do?

My role as the Creative Director is to determine creative, resonant and, sometimes, even localised ways for Wikimedia projects to connect with audiences. The Brand Studio is a team of creative professionals - ranging from strategy and brand management to writing and design - who work to develop and craft the voice of our brand, globally. We sit within the Communications department and collaborate on multiple campaigns, initiatives, and experiments in order to help build awareness of Wikimedia and, hopefully, one day, contribute to a more equitable and representative knowledge ecosystem.

As the campaign is aimed at Gen Z, what is the one thing you want them to take away from this campaign?

Whatever you want to know, you can know it with Wiki!

Image credit: Neo Baepi CC BY SA 4.0

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