Inspire New Readers campaign: Raise awareness of Wikipedia where you live

Photo by Victor Grigas, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Did you know that only 33% of internet users in India have heard of Wikipedia? Like this, there are many other “low-awareness” regions all around the world. For example, only 19% of internet users in Iraq, and 39% in Brazil know about Wikipedia. If you lived in one of these places, what would you do to attract new readers for Wikipedia?
We want to hear your ideas! From January 8 to February 4, we will be running a new crowdsourcing campaign: Inspire New Readers. The goal of this campaign is to come up with ideas about how to increase awareness of Wikipedia where you live. Over the next month, share your ideas, discuss with others and plan a new project on the Inspire campaign page on Meta. After the campaign, grants are available to turn these ideas into collective action. For projects that do not need funding, planning and logistical support is available.

Why new readers?

The goal of this campaign is to come up with ideas about how to increase awareness of Wikipedia. It’s about bringing new readers into the movement who may have never used Wikipedia before and helping them understand the incredible work thousands of volunteers do to build the world’s largest online source of free knowledge.
This campaign is one of a series of Wikimedia Foundation projects that aim to increase awareness of Wikimedia projects. This work is vitally important: we know, based on recent research, that awareness of Wikipedia differs around the world. In the United and Western Europe, an average of 85 percent of internet users have heard of Wikipedia, that number drops sharply around the globe. Research also shows that only 33 percent of Internet users in India, 19 percent of internet users in Iraq, and 39 percent of Internet users in Brazil have heard of Wikipedia.

Slide from presentation by Zack McCune/Wikimedia Foundation, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Why is awareness important? Awareness is the first step in building new users, support, and ultimately participation in Wikimedia projects. We know that low awareness of Wikipedia is associated with low usage, and without usage people will never become contributors or advocates for free knowledge. Access to knowledge is a universal human right. By focusing on increasing participation, we are both working towards open access to information, and, most importantly, for a more diverse source of open knowledge, where everyone has equal footing in documenting history.

Join the campaign!

Inspire Campaigns are month-long events to focus collaborative efforts on some of the most pressing challenges of the Wikimedia movement. This is a time to share and create new ideas, and there are many ways to participate: you can contribute your own ideas, give feedback on other people’s ideas, and sign up as a volunteer to help in other participant’s projects.
Resources are available to help you think through new ideas. You can find two videos explaining recent efforts that focus on awareness of Wikipedia in Nigeria and India on the campaign page.  We will also be hosting two workshops: one on how to think about awareness, and another one on how to plan a pilot. Find the details and sign up to attend the workshops here.
Join the Inspire New Readers campaign and help us to bring the joy of Wikipedia to new readers around the world.
María Cruz, Communication and Outreach Project Manager, Learning and Evaluation
Wikimedia Foundation

This Inspire campaign is being led by the Wikimedia Foundation’s Community Resources team with support from its New Readers team, which includes folks from Audiences, Communications, and Partnerships. 

Submit your proposals in the comments section below, or on the campaign page (desktop only).

Archive notice: This is an archived post from blog.wikimedia.org, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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This is a wonderful initiative by Wikipedia. Let’s get those numbers up! I would love to share my ideas for this cause.

Hello my name is Divine and I’m a student at an Agricultural university in Nigeria that seeks to provide the nation with people who have all it takes to improve Agriculture world wide
I think information is key this objective and I like that Wikipedia focuses on dissemination of this so much needed information.
I intend on joining this fast moving train and use it to further inform the uninformed in my locality

Hello there. My name is Paul and I live in the United States. I have friends and aquaintances that have connections back to people in Wikipedia lower aware countries that have more or less influence in their respective countries. My objective over the next month is to reach out to those people to help build awareness. If we all did a little bit, hopefully the networking can build……….

Make sure there is a lot to read. It is counter intuitive but the Cebuano Wikipedia approach with a twist could make a huge difference. The difference; caching generated content and not saving it. Do not mistake the absence of information in hand written articles as preferable over providing no information.

Wikipedia is wonderful! It performs miracles of re-engaging minds and interests among home-bound Seniors living in high-rise apartments where I’ve lived and tutored. With Wikipedia, Webmd and email, my neighbors are re-born. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sunny Long, Pablito Greco and Paul Meleski, thank you for your kind words, and your enthusiasm! If you know of anyone who would be a good fit for this campaign, please send them this way. Everyone is encouraged to share ideas here, on the blog comments, as well.

GerardM, thank you for your comment. We have reason to believe that awareness is the first step towards further engagement. In the case you are pointing out, the more readers aware of Wikipedia, the faster the content will grow in that language version.

Eneja Divine, welcome to the Inspire New Readers campaign. Please feel free to share any ideas here, on the comments section of the blog, or on the campaign page: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Inspire
If you need support in creating your idea, we have 2 workshops that we are hosting during this campaign:
– How to think about awareness of Wikipedia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Umt35NcdmM0
– How to plan a pilot (will happen in 7 days from now): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNvMdoUYpUE