Wikipedia has been known as a great place to find quick information and also a threat to knowledge. This threat comes from the idea that anyone can edit any Wiki page on the internet. And because of this misconception, teachers, professors, and some students believe it is not a reliable source for information. Through some research and a look at a specific page I have found this not to be the case. As I looked up a man that has had a lot of influence in the United States, especially its rough past, I found out that there is more than meets the eye about Wikipedia.
Martin Luther King Jr. was the man I had to look up. Learning about him and his time on this earth has been pounded into my head by teachers and my parents since I started my education. The “I Have a Dream” speech has been played countless times while in school during Black History Month. If I were to find any facts that were not true on a Wiki page, it would have to be Dr.King’s.
Before I dive any deeper I must take a moment to reference a man named Henry Jenkins. This man spoke about how Wikipedia can be a good thing for the world based on several keys facts that he points out and backs up with evidence throughout his post named “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us about New Media Tendencies.”
As stated before there has been a growing divide between those who think Wikipedia is something that is not helpful in terms of finding good knowledge on a topic. The term used around Wikipedia that serves a great purpose through the rest of this essay is “collective intelligence.” This is the term used to describe how Wikipedia can work based on a group of people pooling their ideas and facts together for the betterment of gross knowledge.
Returning back to the Dr.King’s page on Wikipedia I looked into the history of the page to see if anything had been added to it recently. To my surprise I found that only certain people could revise the information on this page. This is an important aspect of Wikipedia with the fact that they try to keep out the people that edit just to ruin pages. They seek the best information possible and they see the benefits similarly to Jenkins and other scholars explained in this quote “A growing body of scholarship suggests potential benefits of these emergent forms of participatory culture.”
One thing that also came up was the amount of traffic this page has gotten and continues to get. People continually rely on this site for good helpful information as we can see in this picture. All of this information that is being taken in on a daily bases cannot simply come from one person who knows all about Dr.King. There are several people that have a specific knowledge about him and they come together through Wikipedia to inform the masses. This idea relates to a part in Jenkins’ article called Redefining Expertise which he discusses the concept that was just described.
We can see changes being made to this page about every couple of days but most of which are just minor changes. We know that no page will ever be truly complete but with the accessibility to this wealth of knowledge we can see there is a sign that Wikipedia is doing good for the world with the ability to bring together people from different parts of the world to get as much solid information on big topics of interest.
Jenkins, Henry. “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About The New Media Literacies.” Web log post. Confessions of an Aca-Fan. N.p., 26 June 2007. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
For the second image : http://stats.grok.se/en/latest30/Martin%20Luther%20King%20Jr
For the first image: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.&action=edit