Chances are if you are into some sort of video game, anime/manga or TV show, you’ve been on a Wikia community before. Originally a spin-off of Wikipedia, Wikia now functions as an independent company and is a formidable growing community platform for fandoms that influence decision-making within each of the industries that Wikia engages with – which is a lot.
The front page has some stats on the website. Well, talk about impressive!
My encounters with Wikia previously were mostly restricted to landing on one of the Wikia communities after Googling the name of some obscure character in some TV show whose back story I had forgotten after abandoning the show for a few months. I knew that the content was generated by fans, so they were most likely accurate. What I didn’t know was the scale and the business model that Wikia runs on.
At the 2014 New Context Conference in San Francisco, I learned about Wikia during a pitch by CEO Craig Palmer, and it made so much sense that I became a fan of the company right there (even though I still don’t use Wikia as a contributor). It became as just a Wikipedia-like platform for fans to organize and curate information about their favorite things. However, over time, Wikia had developed strong communities that have even become ‘official communities’ recognized or endorsed by the companies that produce some of these ‘things’ that people are crazy about including games and dramas. What I liked best was how Wikia involves its Superfans (the tribal leaders within this collaborative intelligence ecosystem)
They have selected (or accepted applications in some cases) for Wikia stars who get to be the ‘leader’ of their respective Wikia communities. It is like the equivalent of earning a recognition or certification of ‘I’m your Number 1 Fan’. Wikia basically harnesses the power and potential of fandom.
Superfans are not just leaders in creating and curating content on the site. Sometimes they are even involved in the planning stages for the next big thing from the companies whose products they are fans of. With Wikia, the gap between industry and fandom has been brought closer together.
According to Palmer, Wikia believes that in order for a company to successfully interact and engage with superfans, they have to let go and give the fans:
– somehow create an ‘insider feeling’
The fact that something like Wikia even exists and runs on such an interesting business model is just absolutely fascinating for me (so fascinating that I’m doing a Learner Lecture on it even though I just wrote this). Thanks to this talk I saw a lot of new possibilities within my own line of work as well. Wikia rocks!