We might think of Wikipedia as a good place to start when researching a complex topic, but if 2018 is anything to go by, people are using it more to keep up with popular culture.
Wikipedia’s top English searches of 2018 have revealed that people wanted to know more about royals, celebrities and film and television.
It follows a trend the site identified in 2017: In the age of binge-watching television series, we’re devouring information about our favourite shows and films and their characters – particularly with biopics.
The list reveals that last year, we were busy brushing up on Avengers: Infinity War (3), Black Panther (7) and Freddie Mercury (6), with the last article most visited on the day Bohemian Rhapsody was released.
Mercury was visited more than any other recent deaths, according to Wikipedia collaborator Andrew West’s findings, and for that reason was the entry that struck him and a group of nine other collaborators the most.
“It was a welcome surprise to be sure, but nonetheless a shock,” they said.
“For Mercury to crack the top 10, ahead of any recent death, ahead of any politics, is testament to the enduring legacy of the musician, and his persistent, perennial place in the popular zeitgeist.
“It is good to see moviegoers turn to Wikipedia.”
Searches for Mercury on Wikipedia may have also been prompted by a Pitchfork review, which described how the movie “is not so much a film as it is a dramatisation of a Wikipedia entry, watered down and over-edited”.
What else made the top 10?
The top article in 2018 received more than 38 million views and was about those who died that year. Similar lists have usually dominated in previous years as well.
Unsurprisingly, the royals also featured in the top 10, with an article on Meghan Markle/Meghan, Duchess of Sussex coming in at No.5 and Elizabeth II not far behind at No.8.
Most of the traffic appears to have been driven by the Royal wedding between Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry on May 19.
Interestingly, US President Donald Trump dropped quite a few rankings in this year’s list. In 2017, he was second but a year later, he only just managed to make the top 15.
The Wikipedia contributors said the drop has been part of a steady decline since 2016, when he got 75 million views.
In 2017 he dropped to about 30 million and in 2018, he managed just 17 million.
“At this rate, there’s a strong chance he won’t be on the list next year,” the contributors remarked.
“Given how utterly, and consciously, Trump has dominated both traditional and social media over the last three years, it is somewhat boggling that his Wikipedia views have plummeted.”
Top 15 Wikipedia articles for 2018
- Deaths in 2018: 38,610,433 page views
- 2018 FIFA World Cup: 34,306,615
- Avengers: Infinity War: 32,818,606
- Exo (band): 27,344,440
- Meghan Markle/Meghan, Duchess of Sussex: 25,943,520
- Freddie Mercury: 22,052,837
- Black Panther (film): 21,229,590
- Elizabeth II: 19,889,009
- Stephen Hawking: 18,849,484
- List of Marvel Cinematic Universe films: 18,356,670
- Cristiano Ronaldo: 18,012,179
- Cardi B: 17,841,201
- Elon Musk: 17,512,694
- Donald Trump: 17,494,734
- BTS (band): 15,689,780