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And the assignment is: how should we go about spreading the word and getting people interested in SeattleWiki?. Discuss and illustrate. For bonus points, once we get people coming to the site, how can we get them to contribute, edit pages, etc?


So far I've emailed the guy who runs Seattle Weblogs (no response yet), placed links in the Wikipedia and Wikitravel Seattle pages, and an "ad" on craigslist.

If you have a blog, you could post a comment about SeattleWiki, nudge-nudge.

--matias 13:05, 10 Jun 2004 (CDT)

I went to the Seattle weblogger meetup a few days ago, and talked to a few folks about SeattleWiki. People seemed interested but the big question was how it was going to achieve critical mass. One suggestion was to start a weblog about SeattleWiki and put trackbacks in SeaBlogs and other places; I'm hoping to do that soon. Someone else suggested contacting the people at KUOW (NPR) to see if they'd be interested in including SeattleWiki on their site or doing a piece about it -- but I think we may need more content before that happens.

-- matias 12:37, 18 Jun 2004 (CDT)

I just finished creating a set of four small flyers that can be printed on a letter-size page and distributed all over town to get some more people coming in to the site! Take a look and download at this SeattleWiki blog entry.

-- matias 20:59, 10 Jul 2004 (CDT)

By all means, spread the word.

Just recognize, it is inevitable that people will be here. (Not to get all TechnologicalDeterminist on you.) :)

That is, I don't think you need to worry about critical mass very much. I'd be more concerned about how you are going to deal with advertisers and the likes.

I'm going to add a WikiNode to the wiki. I'll connect it up with the SeattleWireless wiki, the Seattle LUG wiki, the Seattle Cosmic wiki, and whatever else we find. When there are hoards of wiki dedicated to Blah-in-Seattle, and when Portland and every other neighboring city gets a wiki, then we can seperate that stuff onto different pages.

I notice that you are using a WordPress blog. You may be interested in MooKitty's LocalNames plug-in. I can help you install it, if you like. You can see a demonstration of it running, over on our OneBigSoup blog. I'm promoting LocalNames, so it's really not a problem at all for me to help you transition.

I am now parting to blog about the Seattle wiki.

--- LionKimbro 2004-7-10

I've got an idea for a general strategy of promoting this thing. It's called link and be linked. Our content and ideas will come from a combination of personal and internet exploration, and, as I've been doing in a bunch of cases, I've been making links to other sites. One of the big ways that I've found almost always works in the land of website promotion is crosslinking... you find a popular site, provide some free publicity, and ask to get some in return. The big options to do this here come in the form of the following groups of businesses:

  • Nightclubs/Bars
  • Resturaunts
  • Tourism locations
  • Shopping Centers

While I'm not saying we should commercialize the whole thing in any way/shape/or form (a talk page allows people to say whatever they'd like to about the place anyways), I am saying that we can create a kind of symbiotic relationship between us and local businesses. They can put themselves on here or we can put them on there and then email them, but businesses will like to know that they've been mentioned, and will also tell people that they've been mentioned, which will bring people to the site.

The other focus I think has to be about the whole system reaching a sort of basic critical mass, where it has all sorts of information that is simply and incredibly useful. Furthermore, this information can prove to be very useful in promoting SeattleWiki as people will tell their friends about things that have helped them out.

Some things we can do along these lines are:

  1. Create a movers guide to a given area.
  2. Make a portion of the website that is an attraction of the day/week/month. Someone should go out and photograph some part of the city so that we actually have images of a cool spot and then that same someone should do a brief little write up on the area. The same idea works for places to eat.
  3. Create lists of harder-to-find information, e.g. where to find a natural foods co-op, or an asian foods store, or an art supply store.

We should also take car to provide map links, driving directions, menus, etc etc etc. The more information we have the more cool/valuable the site becomes, the more likely people are to tell their friends. We should try to provide links to discussion pages whenever possible.

I would also suggest that everyone make the attempt to mention SeattleWiki to someone new every day... tell your popular friends first, then the people you know can convince people, then the people that you know know about all sorts of websites.

--Brandalone 04:28, 12 Jul 2004 (CDT)

In terms of the link and be linked strategy: when I started this I wasn't sure if it'd become a big listing of restaurants and such or not. I'm not really opposed to it -- and in any case who am I to decide :) -- but one caveat is that there are already editorial sites out there like CitySearch Seattle that have pretty good lists of restaurants, bars, etc, complete with reviews and such. I think we should try to maybe complement that instead of competing.
I think the three ideas you mention above are really great. The great think about this wiki is that anyone can contribute, so it's not owned by one blogger, magazine, website, etc. That gives it great potential because we can have any and all kinds of stuff here; in particular as you say the harder-to-find information is particularly useful.
-- matias 15:11, 12 Jul 2004 (CDT)
While they might already exist, they're often either:
  1. impractical (most of them area slow in some ways, badly designed in others)
  2. overwhelmingly commercial.
  3. closed content (aside from comments, which can be removed, the sites don't allow for a lot of human editing)
However the basic practicalities, local information/trivia, etc are our unique features. There is a saying: "Marketing Loves a Vacuum", meaning that if there isn't an existing product or service people will often flock the first product or service. While the SeattleWiki doesn't cost money, it's still providing a service, and therefore the focus should be on rapidly expanding that service (e.g. filling in more information). The "Vacuums" I have found, since moving to the Seattle area about a month ago, are this:
  1. Aside from the post office change of address thing, there is no moving guide (or it is not properly publcizied)
  2. There's really no central hub communication for people in Seattle. This is kind of part and parcel of what Seattle is as a city (very sprawled and partitioned).
  3. Aside from the Yellow Pages, there's no real information on things practical/things familiar. While I might be skilled enough at being an information gopher to discover what I need to know, people who want to know information about Seattle and do not have this set of skills will have a harder time finding the information... because the city has no solid hub.
It's therefore really important to try to build SeattleWiki as such a hub.
The first step of doing this is in the form of basic information. Weather providing links to other sites with information or doing actual write-ups or a combination of the two, this has to be achieved before Seattle Wiki can be taken seriously as a hub. To do this we need to actually court the people who know a lot about specific areas of Seattle and of life in Seattle. In marketing, these guys are called Mavens (I didn't make up the term, Malcolm Gladwell did in The Tipping Point). We then have to encourage the Mavens to pick up on the system and start putting their little tips and tricks into the system.
The second step, once a very basic level of mass has been reached (that is, once we've got a fair amount of basic information, I'd say around 100 to 200 separate pages), is to make the information presentable and laid out in such a way as to draw people in. This can be done with cool features (i.e. the moving guide, i.e. the cool spot of the day, i.e. Seattle trivia of the day). Since SeattleWiki would ideally be broad-based information (but always pertinent to the area), it would be good to provide a lot of different items like this on the main page. What's on the main page now is a start (the Browse Seattle Wiki should be there, and the Current Happenings is a great idea as long as, well, it's current), but it should actually not have the welcome message directly at the top (it should be in the About Seattle Wiki area). Instead, we should probably try to go for something similar to Wikipedia proper's main page, and make sure that the information on the page changes constantly, although the layout should stay the same
The third thing that we then have to do is make sure that people who know people use this site, like this site, and tell their friends about this site. This group of people (in Marketing parlance, a connector) can be split into two smaller groups:
Those that want to make money: This group is interested small businesses, promoters, etc.
* They will primarily be concerned about how much traffic the site is getting.
* They will also be concerned about the potential for negative buzz on the site
Those with no commercial interest
* They will primarily be concerned about smoothness of use, quality of interface, and how difficult it is to find the information they want.

More later, work now.

--Brandalone 17:45, 12 Jul 2004 (CDT)


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