According to Google, Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia is the 5th most visited internet site. I think the first time I heard of Wikipedia was on the way to work one morning. The news story was not so good. They were talking about Wikipedia, and how almost anyone could change the information being written. At the time I didn’t know a lot about the site. One of the funniest parts of the news story is how they conveyed that one of the groups who “seems” to change the articles the most are politicians. In a “truth is stranger than fiction” moment, when politicians change the article, it amounts to nothing more than “revisionist history.” A politician trying to come out looking correct especially if they have to change the past to do it is nothing new.
For the record (I love to say that even though I am never “on the record”), I LOVE Wikipedia! There is so much to love. The articles are written by volunteers called Wikipedians, there are millions of articles at the literal speed of your fingertips, and it’s free with no advertisements. Every once in a while, they ask for contributions and I am proud to say I have made a few.
Besides references for my blog, I can’t begin to tell you how many hours I have lost in the “old one-two.” These are the times where I look up something on Wiki, and then have to follow it up with a related search on YouTube…..and then back to Wiki……..and YouTube, and so it goes. I start with information on killer whales and before I know it, I am trying to figure out where on the planet are the biggest active volcanos. In between, I have to check out a few movie videos, musical references and top it off with an article on baking bread from scratch. It’s a vicious circle and I love every minute of it. Hours disappear; for better or worse.
I know Wiki is not the first encyclopedia, or the ultimate reference, but it is a great place to start.
Wikipedia reminds me of the ending to the book Fahrenheit 451. When so many books are burnt and so much knowledge is lost, the only way to regain that knowledge is the collective memory of the human race itself. Everyone will add a little bit about what they know, and in the end, a lot is known.
This is the progress of man, this is Wikipedia.