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THIS is what industry bodies should be doing

Posted: 2012-05-19 in Opinion    |   Tagged: b2b pr, cipr, wikipedia editing, wikipedia edits


Heather Baker (@TopLineFounder) comments on the CIPR's new best practice guidelines for using Wikipedia.

Last week, Wikimedia launched a draft document outlining guidelines for the PR profession on using Wikipedia. The guidelines were developed with the CIPR, and are now publicly available on the Wikimedia website. They are well worth a read.

“The guidance is open to public relations professionals to offer their view, but most importantly, we want Wikipedians to give us balanced and constructive feedback on our proposal,” comments Jane Wilson, CIPR’s CEO on the institute’s website. ”The end result will be a set of guidelines for public relations professionals to use if they want to engage with or through Wikipedia. Take a quick look at the talk page and you’ll see that the debate is already extensive. Take a longer look and you’ll see the challenge that lies ahead.”

The move follows two high-profile screw-ups by PR agencies Bell Pottinger and Portland, involving editing clients’ Wikipedia pages using fake identities or to remove uncomfortable references.

I’ve been a member of the CIPR for three years, and this is the first time I have been really impressed by something the institute has done. They’ve responded to a serious challenge facing our industry-in-flux and they have done so quickly. The result has been practical and highly useful guidance, that has been developed in collaboration with Wikipedia, which means it will almost certainly be relevant and valuable. Even more impressive, the CIPR’s social media panel will be running workshops to help PR pros become wiki certified.

If you know me at all, you will probably know that I have mixed feelings about the PR industry’s associations. I think they tend to waste time on pointless endeavours (such as ‘defining PR’), scrapping amongst themselves and self promotion. But in this instance, I must congratulate the CIPR – more of that please!

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