Mining the ‘Depths of Wikipedia’ on Instagram

Did you know that there is a Swiss political party dedicated to opposing the use of PowerPoint? Or do some people believe that Avril Lavigne died in 2003 and that her appearance was similar? Or is there a stone in a museum in Taiwan that looks like a slab of meat?

Probably not – except that you are one of thousands of people following @depthsofwikipedia. The Instagram account shares bizarre and surprising snippets from a huge, crowded online encyclopedia, including fun images (a chicken literally crosses the road) and small moments of history (Mitt Romney spends several hours driving with his dog over his car). Some posts are healthier – such as hatsum, which is the Japanese word for a person’s first dream of the year – while others are not safe for work (say, panda pornography).

Anne Rouvarda, 22, started the account in the early days of the epidemic, while others were baking sour bread and learning how to knit. “Everyone was starting a project, and this was my project,” she said.

At the time, she was a sophomore at the University of Michigan. Students are often discouraged from using Wikipedia as a source for educational work, as most of its pages can be edited by anyone and contain inaccurate information. But Ms. For. Rauvarda, the site was always more about entertainment: spending hours clicking on one link after another, getting lost in the rabbit holes.

“Wikipedia is the best thing on the Internet,” she said. Rauvarda said in a phone interview. “It simply came to our notice then. It has a hacker policy to work with and create something. “

Initially, only her friends followed the account. But he drew attention when Ms. Rowarda posted about the influential Caroline Calloway, who was annoyed that the post featured an older version of her Wikipedia page, saying her business was “nothing.” Ms. Rauvarda apologized, and Ms. Calloway later boosted her Instagram account.

Ms. Rauwerda has since expanded @depthsofwikipedia to Twitter and TikTok. She sells merchandise (such as coffee mug emblezon with image from Wikipedia entry for “bisexual lighting”) and hosts a live show in Manhattan featuring trivia and stand-up.

Her followers often pitch to feature her Wikipedia pages, but these days Ms. Rouverda. “If it’s an interesting fact on the Reddit home page, I’m definitely not going to post it again,” she said. “For example, there are only 25 blimps in the world. I’ve known him for a long time, and he went around Twitter a few days ago. I was shocked. I was like, ‘Everyone knows this.’

She is mostly selective because many of her followers rely on @depthsofwikipedia to find the hidden gems of the internet.

“I just love teaching things, especially these weird photos and things I’ve never been able to find on my own,” said Gabe Hockett, a 15-year-old high school student in Minneapolis. He said his favorite posts from the account include “The Most Unwanted Song” and “Dave Matthews Band Chicago River Incident”.

Jane Fox, 22, said the trading posts from the account with her boyfriend were “a special, rude language of love.” It is also a litmus test for friendship. When Ms. Fox, a copywriter who moved to San Francisco in February, will mention the account of the new people she met. If they were aware of it, she said, “we would start DMing each other and sharing our favorite posts, which felt like we were really strengthening a solid friendship.” Ms. Fox also attended a @depthsofwikipedia meet-up at a local brewery. “There’s such a community behind it,” she said.

It’s not new for Wikipedia lovers to rally around their passion for the platform. The Cool Freaks Wikipedia Club, a Facebook group founded eight years ago, has about 50,000 members who actively trade links.

Ms. Heather Woods, an assistant professor of rhetoric and technology at Kansas State University, said Roward’s account “makes the Internet seem small.” “It shortcuts the rabbit-hole phenomenon by offering attractive – or sometimes hilariously unattractive – entry points into Internet culture.”

ચેdepthsofwikipedia is an extension of the site’s participatory policy, said Zachary McQueen, brand director of the Wikimedia Foundation, which manages Wikipedia. Said Mr. McQueen.

And because Wikipedia has over 55 million articles, including Ms. Rauwerda is helpful. She hopes visitors to her page will move away with the new shared knowledge. “I want you to see something that stops you, ‘Hmm, that’s interesting,'” Ms. Said Rauvarda. “Something that lets you rethink the world a little bit.”

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