Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Whitney Houston's death led to her Wikipedia article receiving 425 views per second

"On February 12, 2012, news of Whitney Houston's death brought 425 hits per second to her Wikipedia article, the highest peak traffic on any article since at least January 2010.
It is broadly known that Wikipedia is the sixth most popular website on the Internet, but the English Wikipedia now has over 4 million articles and 29 million total pages. Much less attention has been given to traffic patterns and trends in content viewed. The Wikimedia Foundation makes available aggregate raw article view data for all of its projects.
This article attempts to convey some of the fascinating phenomena that underlie extremely popular articles, and perhaps more importantly to editors, discusses how this information can be used to improve the project moving forward. While some dismiss view spikes as the manifestation of shallow pop culture interests (e.g., Justin Bieber is the 6th most popular article over the past 3 years, see Tab. 2), these are valuable opportunities to study reader behavior and to shape the public perception of our projects."

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