Don’t Just Google it! Wiki it!
By Greg Beck
Well, welcome to what will hopefully be a wondrous waxing on “Wiki.”
Okay, I’ll stop now. But I write to you not to educate but to beg you share your knowledge, which is both assuredly interesting and deep, on two subjects so near and dear to us all: Hiroshima Prefecture and JET. Unless you’ve been living in the inaka for the last four years (and even then “really?”), you know of the phenomenon that is Wikipedia.
Like it or love it, or totally hate it, Wikipedia is a tool that everyone knows about. But that name did much more than become a brand; it launched a concept that was quickly labeled “Wiki.” Now, any Web site with content open for editing by its users (registered or not) is called wiki-this and wiki-that. You may scoff at their very existence and think, as I do, that group based consensus does not equal truth, but now we have a wiki that is just the right size and frame for you to take what you know and apply it for others who will have use for what you say. The beautiful thing is that the new JET wiki operates on a scale large enough to be profound, and small enough to catch any mischief (Hiroshima is NOT known for its break dancing and elephant sex shows).
The Web site is: http://jet.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page, for those of you who are already sold and want to start editing. And for the really impatient you can click:
to go straight to Hiroshima Prefecture’s page.
For those still on the fence or who like watching movie credits, I’ll give you a little more:
Forget editing — why should you even look at this? For starters, you may have made some friends in Tokyo, or Oita, or Hokkaido whom you want to visit. Wouldn’t you like if those people made an easily indexed list of what’s cool in their city for you to peruse?
On the flip side, aren’t you tired of visiting everyone? Why doesn’t anyone come to your inaka? The problem isn’t a lack of information — it’s all out there. The problem is… scratch that, was, communicating and organizing that info. As a PA, I have heard lots of other people discuss how much they want a wiki for their prefecture. This Web site gives you that, and connects you and what you write to every other prefecture!
Finally, using this site gives you the opportunity to share your wealth of knowledge with everyone. If you have spent two years discovering how awesome Kure is, you probably don’t want someone writing, “there’s nothing to do in Kure… meh!” So please have a read through the topics you’re knowledgeable about and set the record straight on any mistakes you find. It’s not hard.
Editing a wiki is not like building your own Web site. It is much, much easier. How easy? I heard about this Web site at a PA conference last week. I got the Web address two days ago. I had never edited a wiki-format site ever, and I am happy to say now, “It ain’t that hard.” The Web site has both icons and a drop-down list of commands for indenting, bulleting, links, underlining, bolding, etc. If you don’t know where to start, I made an “example town” so you can go into “edit this page,” copy and paste to your towns page, and just fill in! So what are you waiting for? It’s time you got on and shared those big beautiful brains of yours.