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GM asks public to writeits history in a wiki

While many companies publish histories to commemorate special milestones, General Motors is putting a 21st Century, open-source twist on the way its history is told in cyberspace.

General Motors is inviting people worldwide to contribute to the Generations of GM Wiki on and share their personal, first-person experiences from the company’s first 100 years – everything from a story about a summer job in an assembly plant to pictures of a first car to favorite experiences with GM products.

A 1972 GM production team“The production group team I had been working in at the Chevrolet Nodular Iron Foundry decided to surprise the Plant Manager, Grant VanBuskirk, and go for the all time production record …”

An archive photo and excerpt from the Generations of GM wiki.

A wiki (Hawaiian for “fast”) comprises software that allows a web site or web-based article to be created, edited, updated and organised in a collaborative style. It is, for example, the engine behind the popular Wikipedia.

GM thinks its best authors are those who experienced the company firsthand – its employees, retirees, dealers, customers and the generations of people who have shaped GM.

“The Generations of GM Wiki proves once again that there is no limit to the uses to which business can put social media tools – and no limit to GM’s willingness to open itself to the conversation,” said Shel Holtz, Principal, Holtz Communication + Technology and author of the blog, A Shell of My Former Self.

The Generations of GM Wiki allows everyone to contribute to GM’s history. To add submissions, users will register their e-mail on and click the new “Wiki” tab at the top of the page. From there they can post a picture, write a story or simply spend some time reading what others have shared. All submissions are moderated to assure they follow the “Rules of the Road” listed on the Wiki, but accuracy is overseen by the user community and subject matter experts.

The Wiki will be based on a timeline of basic facts about GM’s history from its incorporation to the present. Using technology similar to that pioneered on the popular Wikipedia Web site, the GMnext Wiki will expand on the company’s history through links to stories, images, videos and audio.

“We welcome everyone to share their stories and build a rich and continuously evolving history of GM’s people and products,” said Steve Harris, Vice President of GM Communications. “And we couldn’t think of a better way to launch our interactive Wiki than at the Chicago Auto Show, which is also celebrating its 100th anniversary.”

The Generations of GM Wiki is the latest initiative under GMnext, a dialogue-based global platform that marks the company’s 100th anniversary and spotlights GM’s next generation of people, products and technologies. To join the conversation, visit

One Comment, Comment or Ping

  1. Dennis Rouls

    I Have not bought a G.M product since 1981 and never will again . I wrote G.M a letter back then when they would’nt replace a transmission with just over 12000 miles. I know dam well the transmission was defective. Since then I have told my two sons and everyone I know not to buy G.M. I hope it was worth it to G.M to screw me over.


The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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