I first saw this video at a marketing conference.
There are a lot of agency-created videos out there that give good overviews of the impact of social media, but I tend to think this one is the most vibrant. My favorite statistic in it is how if Wikipedia were made into a book, it would be 2.25 MILLION pages long. Two and a quarter MILLION pages. That’s insane. Who would read that? Can you imagine trying to purchase that book at Barnes and Noble? More importantly, who would want to purchase that book?
When I was little I used to tag along grocery shopping with my mom after school on Thursdays. One day I noticed a big display of book along the main aisle. These weren’t just any books, these were thick and shiny, hard-back Encyclopedias with fancy scripted writing and gold-tinted pages. From the first moment I saw them, I was in love. I remember begging my mom to buy them. I might have even cried (in my defense, I was probably about 8!) I think they were on C or D by that time, so it took some wearing down of my poor mother before she caved in and bought the first part of the set. The trick was that they were released slowly, every two weeks, by the store. For months I would happily accompany her on a boring round of errands because I knew at the end we’d end up at Albertsons and I’d get to buy the newest release.
Oh how I loved those books. I would spend hours pouring over the pages and browsing all the random entries like the Dromaeosaurus, knickers, Montana, seaweed, or the War of 1812. Sometimes my sister and I would try to look up the naughtiest thing we could think of, like “boobies” or “sex”. We were eight and six, after all. But mostly I would pick up a random letter, stop at a random page, and just skim. Eventually – like all toys – I grew tired of them and moved on to more glamorous playthings like My Little Pony and Cabbage Patch Kids. But for years they remained a staple in our house, sitting quiet yet proudly in our living room shelves collecting dust. In a way it was comforting to me, knowing that they were still there, with all of their secrets and mysteries waiting patiently inside. After all, who knew when I might need to know the diameter of a softball (3.5-3.8″), how many number one singles Elvis had (14), or when the Magna Carta was issueed (1215).
But back to Wikipedia. I guess you can say I have a soft spot for it – just like those hard-back Encyclopedias of my youth. While it’s not rimmed in fake gold ink, it still (to me) feels like a magical place where you can find the answer to just about anything. And while I would never buy the hard-bound copy (because let’s be realistic, how would I ever get that in my car?) I will admit to browsing it from time to time, with no specific goal in mind.
Speaking of, did you know that Rhode Island, the smallest state, has a larger population than Alaska, the largest state? Well, now you do. Thanks, Wikipedia.