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“What’s Wikipedia?”

By on Feb 28, 2010 in Food For Thought, Personal | 12 comments

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Do you ever get that feeling when you’re walking to someplace or working on something, when you’re hit by a sudden feeling of nausea? It happened to me yesterday when I was at the Tesco supermarket. I suddenly felt listless and quite nauseated. Maybe it was due to the fact that I was wheeling my shopping cart round and round in circles. I have no idea why I was doing that. Maybe it was because I hadn’t had any breakfast. Anyway, I felt that I was this close to puking. I quickly checked out with whatever I had picked up so far.

As soon as I stepped out, a massive blast of fresh air hit me and I felt so much better instantly. That’s when I ‘saw’ for the first time how green this town is. Whether it’s on campus or other parts in town, you’ll find large lush green fields, or at the very least many trees dotting every road. I did notice this fact when I came here, but for the first time the greenery all around me struck me as I stood there drinking it all in.

Delhi is a concrete jungle. Even the few trees you have left will be covered with soot from the thousands of vehicles driving past them. I was quite fortunate in that the place where my home is does have more than average green cover.

I miss being in a hectic city where people are always zipping from one place to another, cocooned in the comfort of your vehicle, the Metro, or even the humble autorickshaw. It’s a big change coming to place where practically everything is, at max, half an hour walk away. For one, it’s given me a perspective of how incredibly huge New Delhi is – and given its size, how it does a reasonably good job of handling transportation and civic infrastructure.

I find it difficult to put into words what I was about to say now, but the gist is that that moment outside showed me how wonderful the enviroment of this place is. Given the number of things I’m involved in, I’m often rushing from one meeting to another; rushing from one deadline to another; rushing from location to another as I try to fit in multiple layers of work sandwiched in day.

I won’t lie – I am stressed by this hectic schedule, and I love this stress. I’ve realized this fact about myself that I have often suspected – I enjoy working under pressure. I hate not having to work on something with the clock ticking down.

But I also realized that within this schedule I can and should take some time to slow down. Go for a long walk. Watch squirrels fighting with each other near the lake. Drink in the freshness.

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Promotional flyers for my Twitter demo

I work part-time at SCEPTrE (not to be confused with the James Bond Evil Inc ‘SPECTRE’), which – to cut a long story short – gets fuckloads of money from the university and external government funding agencies, and puts it to use by paying their employees (even part-time ones) quite well and conducting events to improve ‘personal development’ of Surrey students.

We conducted an event last Thursday, where businesses from various industry verticals came along to learn about social media technologies. We had people from PR companies to give them a lecture first, and then they were given a demo of various social media sites by us. My task was to demo Twitter. At the same time, it was an opportunity for Surrey students to network with businesses.

I was prepared for the fact that a majority of the attendees would not know what Twitter is, even if they had heard of it in mainstream media. I walked in to the event confident I’d be able to field most questions they asked.

What I wasn’t prepared for is the following. Someone saw a flyer mentioning ‘wikis’. So she came up to me to ask:

What are ‘wikis’?

A fair question, you would say. Might not have heard of wikis in general, but would surely have heard of Wikipedia? So I mentioned how it’s “just like Wikipedia”. Pat came the response:

What’s Wikipedia?

I leave that as a parting question. How would you explain Wikipedia to someone who’d never heard of it? I fielded that one, following it up with a prolonged session of headdesking when she was gone.



12 Comments

  1. Aditya

    March 1, 2010

    Post a Reply

    Wikipedia is a public toilet. It is the world’s best, largest and fastest growing encyclopedia, and it bases itself on YOU. YOU have always been the fuel that drives the Internet, and Wikipedia is a excellent example. YOU can change the content for any article, create any article, and even improve others. Simply put, it is like a free Encyclopedia Britannica, but growing everyday. And growing rapidly. Concern has arisen over a few groups of vandals trying to vandalize content on Wikipedia, but an larger group of good people are working on the other side, keeping vandalism in check – every day.
    Wikipedia is free, content-rich, and accessible from any device with Internet access. Wikipedia exists because of a generous community who actively donates for it. It is one of the most visited sites in the world, and people who worry about its existence have donated nearly seven million dollars last year. And the mere fact that Wikipedia has so many parodies is an indicator to its fame.
    I guess that is how I would define Wikipedia.

      • Aditya

        March 1, 2010

        So you explained all this to him? :O

      • Ankur

        March 1, 2010

        Her. No, I tried a much simpler, two sentence version but it still didn’t work.

      • Aditya

        March 2, 2010

        That is because it was a her. :|

      • Ankur

        March 2, 2010

        “It was a her”? Hmm, doesn’t sound right.

      • Aditya

        March 2, 2010

        What I meant was that women aren’t really comfortable with technology. Er, no offense to any women here.

  2. Espèra

    March 3, 2010

    Post a Reply

    Hmm. Was she very old? :P

    Why do you have a tiny smiley in the upper right corner of your blog?

    • Ankur

      March 3, 2010

      Post a Reply

      No, she wasn’t that old. I’d put her in ‘the mom who’s trying to use this new fangled thing called Face-Book to keep track of her kids’ category. Although given this un-knowledge of Wikipedia I doubt that she’d know Facebook.

      The tiny smiley keeps track of what articles visitors read on this blog. It’s like, watching over you.

      • Aditya

        March 4, 2010

        That smiley has a meaning?! I’ve seen it on every WordPress blog, and never knew! So why keep the smiley there anyway?

      • Ankur

        March 4, 2010

        The smiley is added only if you’re running WordPress.com stats – pre-installed on WordPress.com blogs, and added specifically as a plugin on self-hosted blogs.

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