The Linguist / The Market

Product Feature: WIKApedia

WIKApedia Pros:

  • Uses Facebook, a most effective social media platform
  • Government-commissioned and sponsored
  • Visually¬†appealing with its infographic posts

WIKApedia Cons:

  • Exists only on Facebook as of this writing
  • Inconsistent schedule of posts

The product I’m going to be featuring tonight isn’t so much a product as a service, but you get the drift. It’s the latest of a line of things¬†TDA promotes as in line with CSR values and principles, and physical product or not, they all get my praise and recommendation. But anyway, to business.

I believe it is the responsibility of a country’s government to promote, among others, its language and culture. Although the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (Commission on the Philippine Language), the Filipino, government-commissioned counterpart to Instituto Cervantes and Alliance Fran√ßaise, isn’t as known, it is at least doing its job with a certain project that promises to be the gamechanger in Filipino language today. That project is WIKApedia.

WIKApedia (2014) (click to visit)

WIKApedia (2014) (click to visit)

Introduced to me by my best friend, WIKApedia is an online community and service brought to us by the¬†Official Gazette¬†(GOVPH), the official publication of the Republic of the Philippines, under the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office and in partnership with the KWP. A play on the terms “wika” (language) and Wikipedia, WIKApedia is a platform meant to gather enthusiasts and learners of the Filipino language and issue clarifications on proper usage of said language.

Started in September 2014, it is hosted, and is currently only, on Facebook as of now. This is a double-edged sword: Facebook is one of the most popular and widely-used social media networks in the world today (as of 2012, there were about 25 million Filipinos on Facebook Рnot counting the increasing figures within a span of 3 years, and foreigners who want to learn Filipino!). On the other hand, not having a Facebook account immediately bars you from participation in the community: You can browse through and learn from it, but you cannot ask or comment things until you sign up for your own Facebook account.

The content itself is interesting to read. Besides short and to-the-point textual write-ups, most posts also come with colorful and attractive infographics, but without going over the edge. The following is one such example, on Filipino swardspeak, or so-called “gay lingo”.

WIKApedia (2014) (click to visit)

WIKApedia (2014) (click to visit)

Most of the content either features deeper and/or less used Filipino words, or clarifications on Filipino grammar. Sometimes, WIKApedia also shares these from other sources, providing for a thriving community indeed.

It¬†updates regularly-irregularly; sometimes it doesn’t update in a few days, and sometimes it updates several times a day – but it does update. As someone trying to learn the ropes of professional blogging, and having attended a social media seminar in our foundation, I am learning the importance of content planning and scheduling, and perhaps this may be a point of improvement for the site, especially if it plans to¬†expand to other channels. At the same time, however, I accept that the site may not necessarily be run as a professional blog and a little relaxation on scheduling rules could be granted. My own site is meant not to be run as a blog, but as a library; however, for the purposes of market attraction, sites like these may do need to be run more strictly.

A note: WIKApedia is not, strictly speaking, a place for those who want to begin learning the Filipino language. Rather, it is a community of Filipino speakers, enthusiasts, and learners who generate discussions and read on “tidbits” on the language’s vocabulary and grammar. However, given that it is a community, what’s stopping someone who wants to learn Filipino from going to the site and asking for instruction in the language?


WIKApedia may be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wikapediaph?fref=ts.

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