• 20/04/2010

Jimmy Wales: Internet will be the gateway to all human knowledge

The 2010 Valencia Festival of Media was marked by the travel difficulties surrounding the volcanic ash generated by the Eyjafjalla volcano which prevented the arrival of some speakers and delegates. Despite this, and after spending 24 hours in a coach driving through France and Spain, Jimmy Wales, one of the founders of Wikipedia, managed to reach the Valencia Conference Centre and open the event after a welcome party named "Volcanic Reception". He was then able to take time out to chat to us.

How was your trip to Valencia?
It was great fun. We drove through the whole of France to get here. It was a surprising journey and then when we got here we found a city which had been waiting for us to hold the latest, highly interesting Festival of Media.
One of the objectives of this Festival was to talk about social networks and the example couldn?t have been better than the actual trip itself.
That?s right. It was a fascinating personal experience and the Festival?s website, twitter and YouTube published the videos that tell the story of our journey. I think the future of internet is linked to social networks and to users taking part in the digital world.
And where does Wikipedia fit in to this world?
Wikipedia is just the start of a new era of participatory digital media. We are in a global era in which internet is our link to obtaining information about everything. In the future, this will enable us to access all human knowledge. Culture is becoming more intelligent thanks to the use of technology and gives us the chance to imagine a future in which the internet is an essential element.
Does this mean that there is room for everything on the internet?
Yes, but it is the user who needs to know what to choose and what he wants to see because the internet has it all. We must be aware that nowadays everybody checks things out on the internet. Wikipedia is a unique information platform, which means that there must a commitment to quality and truthful content so that the answers we give users are valid. Each one of us must be responsible for what we write on the internet.
How do brands benefit from the internet?
Before the internet, the only way of reaching the consumer was traditional advertising and on many occasions, communicating with the consumer was relegated to a back seat. Nowadays, if you want to compete with Coca-Cola or Pepsi using traditional advertising, you?re going to have to spend a lot of money. However, in the digital era simply having a good communication strategy can take you a very long way. I think that brands can grow to be huge without having to spend millions on marketing. It?s time to rewrite the rules of advertising.
Which technology do you think will grow in the future?
Nowadays, mobile phones have taken the lead, but we must remember that we often need a keyboard and in this respect, mobiles are not particularly user friendly. A mix of tools would be the best thing. At this event, we are checking out the advantages of the Ipad which has just been launched in the USA and which may set the trend for the future, we will have to see how it pans out.