Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wikipedia-What the Top Searches of 2009 Can Tell Us

As Levinson discusses at the end of the chapter, Wikipedia has expanded into becoming a news outlet of its own. Nowadays, web users find Wikipedia's content as reliable as our newspapers and other media.

And after reading "The Top 100 Most Visited Articles on Wikipedia in 2009," I definitely believe it:

What this list shows is that (besides for the sexual searches) during the past year, people turned to Wikipedia immediately for or after hearing headline news. Some of the list's highlights include:

-Michael Jackson
-Barack Obama
-Deaths in 2009
-Current Events Portal
-Slumdog Millionaire
-Transformers 2
-Lady Gaga
-2009 Swine Flu Outbreak
-Taylor Swift

and many others.

These topics were all relevant in the news, and especially in the entertainment industry during 2009. Levinson definitely seems to be onto something when he states that Wikipedia is becoming a large news source.

But I think this list shows that Wikipedia, at least in 2009, was more of an entertainment and pop culture news outlet more than anything else. The entire list includes Twilight, Kristen Stewart, Megan Fox, and plenty of other celebrity and entertainment topics. Additionally, though I agree that Wikipedia has become credible, I feel that it's primarily a source turned to by users after they have received initial information on a topic elsewhere- from a more traditional news source. I can remember when Michael Jackson died, that I first read the news on and heard it on the TV, and then I eventually looked up his article on Wikipedia.


  1. I agree with your assessment of the uses of Wikipedia. It is rarely used as a source to look up and learn about quantum physics are anything or real scholarly importance. I find myself using Wikipedia to look up pointless information like where an athlete went to college or simple things that are trivial.

  2. Neil Postman would make the point that what's lost here is a sense of judgment and evaluation, making a distinction between what is considered knowledge worth knowing and, as you say, trivia. On the other hand, it does bring us closer to realizing the dream of bringing all knowledge together in one source, a dream shared by hypertext pioneers Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson, and also the French encyclopediasts such as Denis Diderot.