Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Making an Entry: Wikipedia Has Cast Me into the Same Category as Basingstoke Road, Writes Becky Hogge

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Making an Entry: Wikipedia Has Cast Me into the Same Category as Basingstoke Road, Writes Becky Hogge

Article excerpt

It was a crushing verdict: "Becky Hogge is a journalist of no particular fame or distinction." My ultimate judge was Rajah, an expert on many things, including Cuban judo champions, the Irish indie-pop band The Thrills and the various staff writers and bit-part actors in Seinfeld. My jury was made up of the hundreds of Wikipedians who police entries to the online encyclopaedia that anyone can edit.

It all started with a little joke here in these pages. Faithful readers might remember an NS column, published this summer, in which I set out to celebrate the ability of the web to capitalise on the vanity of its users and their willingness to contribute content or code just for the thrill of online recognition. My vehicle was my own virtual self-obsession--my penchant for Googling my name daily, seeking in the innards of the blogosphere a fleeting sense of self-worth. And I moaned about not having an entry in Wikipedia.

Well, one reader took up the challenge and created a skeleton entry for me the very day he read my article. For the benefit of that reader, I can confirm that I came across the Wikipedia page for Becky Hogge during a regular session of self-Googling, and was delighted. I continued to monitor the page over the weeks, choosing not to edit it myself: to do so would be considered irreligious by many, though notable exceptions include the blogger and digital-rights campaigner Cory Doctorow, whose Wikipedia handle is often to be spotted mingling with those of his biographers in the edit history for his entry. …

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