Friday, November 11, 2011

Wikipedia - Some 2011 Thoughts

In 2001 the user-content generated encyclopedia, Wikipedia began.

I don't know when I ran across my first Wikipedia page, but I have to think that it was maybe a few years after it's inception.

As Wikipedia pages began to show up higher and higher in my search results, I don't know for certain if it was what I was looking for, but by the time the popularity of wikipedia began to grow, part of the buzz was also the skepticism.

I remember people making jokes (they still do) about the possibility of putting fake and unverified content into the site.

That being said, 10 years after the inception of Wikipedia, I find that I utilize Wikipedia regularly.

Wikipedia is certainly not the home of scholarly research, or appropriate for any sort of academic exercise, but it's style, breadth, and general accuracy makes it a site I'd prefer to go to then most things that would randomly show in a search engine if I'm trying to figure out something simple like "what foods have vitamin A" "What was the plot of that 1990s movie" or "What songs by The Killer's were Billboard hits?"

And so, I don't know how a 14 year old uses Wikipedia, but as an adult, what I'm looking up is probably more likely to be on Wikipedia (and formated in a way that is easier to access and find) than the standard multi-volume desk Encyclopedia.

So, 10 years later, I can't really imagine the internet without Wikipedia - I don't spend hours there a week, but I probably at least go to a page or two a week - even if it's to win a discussion with my wife over the term "Olly olly oxen free."

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