In this post, Fabian Tompsett, Wikimedian and co-ordinator of the Wikimania support team, shares his views on his his first few weeks in post
It has now been a couple of weeks since I started as one of the three Wikimania support staff taken on by Wikimedia, along with Chris McKenna and John Cummings. We started by catching up on all the preparations which have been going on behind the scenes. That has provided us a good basis to work from. Now it’s a matter of getting out there, whether it is amongst our fellow Wikimedians through Wiki Meetups (watch out for some new ones coming up), or spreading the word amongst educational, heritage or open knowledge groups.
Our team has been allocated desks together at the end of the office, which helps us maintain a close working relationship. We each have our particular focus, and a lot of my time goes on following up and developing links in the educational field. There is a real shift in how educators regard Wikipedia: they now see it as much less of a threat, even if they are not quite sure what it has to offer them as educators. Another interesting aspect is that whilst Wikipedia is a household word, not very many people realise that it is the product of a new kind of on-line community. Sometimes explaining the relationship of Wikimedia UK, the charity, to this broader community can be complicated, but more and more people are getting it.
One element we have been involved in is working on the five pre-Wikimania fringe events. These are taking shape now, and offer an opportunity to develop input for Wikimania itself. We are currently looking for volunteers to get involved in these as well. Keep an eye out for a volunteer open day on Saturday 12 July.