In honor of Wikipedia’s tenth birthday, Clay Shirky has written a nice note for the Guardian about that now venerable internet institution: Wikipedia – an unplanned miracle.
Wikipedia is so very good and its appearance and continued existence is so surprising that I sometimes think that, like a self-creating god, it plucked itself out of nonexistence.
Shirky’s article has a little historical background and some perspective on what it all means. I like this quote:
Wikipedia is best understood not as a product with an organisation behind it, but as an activity that happens to leave an encyclopedia in its wake.
That’s a nice systems-oriented way of thinking. Many things are best viewed this way. Or perhaps I should instead say, most of the best and most durable things work this way.
And I’d like to point out that this year will bring in the tenth anniversary of the first mention of Wikipedia on these pages. That’s right, this blog has been on the scene for more than ten years, scooping the big stories for you. Keep on reading and I’ll tell you what’s going to be big ten years from now…