Jimmy Wales (on left) is originally from Alabama. His degree is in finance, yet he founded what's now the 9th most popular web site in the world (a non-profit). He spoke at VCU on April 11th on creating and consuming culture in the digital age. As founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy is often asked to speak as the voice of the Internet (a lofty task for anyone). Wikipedia is a people driven online encyclopedia that has become a global phenomena. It is also a non-profit run by seven full time employees. The rest of the work is done by volunteers. FYI, Wiki is a Hawaiian word meaning fast.
Jimmy spoke about Wikia, another project that is separate from the non-profit work done by Wikimedia Foundation. Wekia allows people to create Wiki communities based on any subject they are interested in. Wikia shows the same growth pattern that Wikipedia had when it was first launched.
In the larger scheme of things, Jimmy Wales is an advocate for the Open Access Movement. This movement is about connecting people with information for free. It is much different than commercial content or even fine art content. Open access basically means that you share your work/passion and people can look at it, use it, copy it, modify it, and share it. It's not about making money as much as it is about sharing. Jimmy used a term that I've heard before but it makes more sense after watching his presentation. The term “user generated culture” makes sense in an open access environment. There's so much change happening everyday. It's really an exciting time to be alive.
Here’s some clips from the lecture.