What People Want with Wikipedia

Bright Idea

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I don’t care what anyone says. Wikipedia is the best tool ever. It’s the providence of the learning online, the bastion of knowledge in a world of digital riffraff and, incidentally, it’s been my not-so-secret best friend since I discovered you could read the entire plots of movies and books you didn’t want to necessarily see or read. Some call me lazy, but who has time for all 50 Shades of Grey these days?

Demographics of Wikipedia.org

What kind of people dabble in Wikipedia the most? It appears that about 40% of Wikipedia’s traffic comes from users between the ages of 35 and 54. The slight majority of viewers are male, and there’s an indication that lower income users use the site more than those with more money. However, it should be noted that this reflects the trend of the entire domestic internet demographic.

Unique Visitors vs. Page Views - Wikipedia.org

Over the past two years Wikipedia has been gaining traction, but recently there have been a few dips in their unique visitors. Above I’ve compared UVs against page views, but do not be discouraged; the page views are still in the billions, with July’s metric at 1,043,582,221 pages viewed against 86,371,551 unique visitors.  That’s still an impressive ratio, with the average visitor visiting about 4 pages in their stay.

Pages per Visit for Reference Sites

It looks like Wikipedia’s visitation might be down, but they’re still the go-to to satiate curiosity on both contemporary and antiquated subjects. Within the reference category, the real advantage is in Wikipedia’s ability to keep people on their site, clicking through links to investigate further. Even compared to big names like Encyclopedia.com and Britannica.com, Wikipedia still manages to float above the rest in pages per visit.

So what do people Wikipedia–and yes, Wikipedia is totally a verb–the most? What are computer savvy individuals the most confused about? The top daily search referrals might surprise you. Or they might not!

Daily Search Referrals to Wikipedia.org

Youtube, Facebook and Scientology. Some make sense considering recent pop culture hits, such as Michael Phelps, One Direction and 50 Shades of Gray, while others are just downright esoteric (I’m looking at you, Wolfgang G. Schwanitz). I admit I had to Wikipedia that one, but why should I feel bad about it? Evidently everyone else had to, too.

What do you use Wikipedia for?

About Ryan LaSala:
Ryan La Sala joins Compete as the Digital Marketing Co-op for Compete.com, sovereign of all things social media. Ryan is a current attendant of Northeastern University, dual-majoring in Cultural Anthropology and International Affairs (with minors in Biology and Psychology), with career interests in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Consumer Anthropology. Aside from acquiring aspirations with big words, Ryan’s other interests include reading cheesy fiction, writing in any capacity, singing and cooking. Find Ryan on twitter @Ryality or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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  2. Renee

    I found the findings both interesting and not surprising. Interesting because I would have thought more young people would be using wikipedia than the 35-54 demographic. If young people are not using wikipedia as a source of information, what other types of sites are they using?

    Not surprising because findings make sense due to the current trends in American culture and the media. And the indication that people with a lower income use the site more than those with a higher income is not so surprising, possibly due to the issue of accessibility and other factors. When I read that, I immediately thought of the correlation between access to education and socioeconomic status.

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