Alan Leeds and Who Writes the Web
September 22, 2008
One of the most frequent questions I get when I talk to people who are unfamiliar with social media on the web is, "Who writes all these blogs or Wikipedia? Who has the time?"
The answer, at least in this case, is me.
People who are skeptical about the web never seem to believe that we have a lot of time we could spend writing or collaborating on something original on the web. But they do understand the idea that people might be passionate and excited to write about topics they're passionate about.
So when I remembered a topic that's been an interest of mine for quite a while, I saw an opportunity to create a new Wikipedia page based on wanting to promote the work of someone whom I admire and respect, who inexplicably lacks a Wikipedia profile.
I wrote a simple page about Alan Leeds, whose role as a behind-the-scenes force in the popularization, promotion, and success of funk music truly can't be overstated. I admire his acumen, his taste, and the thoughfulness of his work over the years. But, as is the nature of people who work in music but aren't performers, his achievements thus far don't get enough attention outside of the respect for his work within the industry. I wouldn't argue a Wikipedia page is going to help improve that recognition, but it can help by being a useful resource for those of us who might want to make the case in the future. I have no doubt that I'm missing some of the subtle nuances that Wikipedia's moderators prefer (mostly because I don't really want to learn that much of the details of editing wikis), but the substance of the article is largely correct.
To my mind, that's a perfect motivation for the creation of a resource that people can use as a reference. Better yet, I am fairly confident I can draw the attention of friends and aquaintances who might have much more expertise about Mr. Leeds, and hopefully inspire them to point out resources or information that can improve the quality of the new page.
So, here's the brand new Wikipedia page about Alan Leeds. If you think you've got something to add, revise the article, pass along any relevant source materials, or add your voice in the comments. And if you're unfamiliar with his work, check it out — there's almost nobody else in the music business who's been so right, so many times, about the past, present and future of the funk.