A recent article in the New York Times discusses the challenges faced by Wikipedia in a time when smartphones are becoming the dominant means through which individuals utilize the web. The author notes that this is a problem for the contributors to Wikipedia as increased mobile access to the internet slows down contributor research time that is done through a computer. As such, Wikipedia has experienced seven straight years of decline in editor participation.
As the author notes, “The nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees Wikipedia’s operations but is not directly involved in content, is investigating solutions. Some ideas include touch-screen tools that would let Wikipedia editors sift through information and share content from their phones.”
However, this is not the only problem plaguing Wikipedia, as recent shifts in the Board of Trustees have provided internal struggles for the site. Despite the site’s budget of “roughly $60 million…the foundation’s new executive director, Lila Tretikov, has been hiring developers from the world of open-source technology, and their lack of experience with Wikipedia content has concerned some veterans.”
While it is unlikely that Wikipedia will cease to exist, the company must figure out how to combat changing technology and mobility of the internet and internal struggles if it wishes to continue to bring its’ democratic sensibilities to all individuals.