Wikipedia has become a staple of internet life, and has risen to the top due to its aim of giving readers the impartial truth. Wikipedia serves its purpose well, but it also misses out on the color of human experience that cannot be verified by a third party source. A new service out of Sweden, Empedia, launched today and builds off of the Wikipedia API to allow anyone to add their personal experiences or stories to world events, companies, places, and everything else. Empedia calls itself a social encyclopedia.
The goal of Empedia is to provide a database where anyone can contribute with their unique personal experiences and take part of nuanced and efficient information about any given topic. Users can build off of Wikipedia’s 3.8 million articles, or even create their own topics from scratch if they do not exist on Wikipedia already. Users can also post polls, ask questions or join in on the discussion about any given topic.
At the bottom theres a screenshot of the Empedia page about Spotify. It has the first paragraph or so, and the picture, as well as the following comment: “One of the founders – Daniel Ek, always used to go to the same Pasta restaurant as me in Stockholm, Sweden and he always ate the same sort of pasta, always. Just a fun experience :)” It’s nothing too deep, but it adds a context that Wikipedia doesn’t offer.
Jan Ainali, chairman of Wikimedia Sweden says, “Empedia is a new and exciting project that has understood the importance of social as well as gathering personal information to topics. Empedia makes clever use of the Wikipedia API and I personally think it could complement Wikipedia in many positive ways. We both have the same purposes with our services – to provide knowledge openly and freely to everyone. I am looking forward to see Empedia grow and become the great service I believe it will be.”
I have to agree, yet I hope they can keep the quality of comments high. The personal experiences about meeting Tiger Woods (for example) are kind of cool to dig through, but I can also see a dark future where this platform has digressed into the Wikipedia commenting system that every YouTube commenter wishes existed.