Friday, August 29, 2008

Wikipedia Knew VP Picks Before You

The Washington Post has an interesting story about predicting who Senator Obama and Senator McCain would pick as their running mates:
In the days leading up to Republican presidential candidate John McCain's running mate announcement, political junkies glued to broadcasts and blogs for clues of McCain's veep choice might have done better to keep a sharp eye on each candidate's Wikipedia entry.
It turns out that some folks were watching the Wikipedia entries for clues to both picks, and both Biden's and Palin's entries saw the most substantive action in the days before the picks were announced. The story doesn't say whether this is due to insiders updating the entries to get them "accurate" before the announcement ("some of the same wiki users [that were making changes to Palin's page] appeared to be making changes to McCain's page"), or whether this is another Wisdom of Crowds situation, but I suspect it's a little of each.

I also find it interesting that there's a company, called Cyveillance, that has analysts monitoring sites like Wikipedia.
Cyveillance normally trawls the Internet for data on behalf of clients seeking open source information in advance of a corporate acquisition, an important executive hire, or brand awareness.
Now that's an interesting phrase, "seeking open source information," that I'm going to have to ponder for a while.

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