When I listed my “entire life” on eBay in 2008 the interest from the media worldwide was phenomenal. Many interesting and unusual experiences came out of that wave of publicity. Ultimately, of course, Walt Disney Pictures ended up buying the movie rights for the story, and the money they paid me has funded the beautiful Caribbean island lifestyle that I currently enjoy.
One of the other unusual things that happened was that a page about me appeared on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. I have no idea who created the page, but was very flattered. The listing only stayed up for a short while, but was soon removed from the site. The reason given was that I was only “notable for a single event”, and that was not reason enough for inclusion.
I’d never really thought about Wikipedia since then, other than to use it for online research, until my friend Roy suggested that I should see about getting a page again.
So while Vanessa and I were working on the new website, trying to make everything look as professional as possible, the idea of a Wikipedia page came up once again. Vanessa put in lots of hard work figuring out how to edit and upload a page to the site – it’s not that easy – and finally made her submission.
Rejection!! And for the same reason as before – the subject appears to be notable only for a single event. Undeterred by this setback Vanessa began a dialogue with the moderator who had rejected the article, pointing out that since the eBay auction I had travelled for two years achieving goals galore, and had had much more press coverage about that adventure. Since then, she also pointed out, I had written two books, and had just received an invite to talk at a TEDx event in Europe.
The moderator was convinced, but still needed all facts stated in the article to be backed up by citations. It isn’t enough to simply ask the subject about themselves. Everything has to be referenced from an online source somewhere. I guess such strict criteria are what make the site much more accurate and useful.
We found references for pretty much everything, and made a couple of minor changes. The strict moderator still needed one more citation about the forthcoming speaking engagement and Vanessa ultimately had to remove that line, as there was no reference to it online yet.
Success!! The article was finally accepted, and appeared online almost immediately. Since then we have added a couple of images, and re-edited to include the new speaking link which is now online:-
It was quite a task, but Vanessa’s persistence paid off in the end. I think having a wiki page gives so much more credibility when putting myself forward as a professional speaker. Thanks Vanessa.
I was surprised, amused and flattered to see that the moderator had also added me to the category “21st-century English writers”. At the moment there are only 13 of us in there – what an exclusive club! Among my co-members are Robert Webb (from TV show “Peep Show”), Piers Morgan (journalist and TV host), Pam Ayers (poet and comedian) and Slash (guitarist from Guns’n’Roses)!! Marvellous.