It’s usually idle curiosity that drives me to Wikipedia. My web history shows the pages I’ve visited in the last few weeks have included articles about dinosaurs, 19th-century paintings, an explanation of the Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis, Civil War-era poetry collections, the 1990s animated adventure series TaleSpin, the Catacombs of Paris, a list of fatal alligator attacks in the United States by decade, Groucho Marx, the 1978 children’s novel The Great Gilly Hopkins, an abandoned amusement park, the history of the Nintendo Entertainment System, and, for some reason, a list of animals with fraudulent diplomas.
I probably visit Wikipedia every day, often multiple times a day. I’m not alone. Wikipedia has long been one of the most popular sites on the web—and that’s still the case, even as people increasingly use smartphones to go online. “Among mobile sites, Wikipedia reigns in terms of popularity,” wrote the authors of a new Knight Foundation report about how people access information on the mobile web.
People spent more time on Wikipedia’s mobile site than any other news or information site in Knight’s analysis, about 13 minutes per month for the average visitor. CNN wasn’t too far behind, at 9 minutes 45 seconds per month. BuzzFeed clocked in third at 9 minutes 21 seconds per month. (BuzzFeed, however, slays both CNN and Wikipedia in time spent with the sites’ apps, compared with mobile websites. BuzzFeed users devote more than 2 hours per month to its apps, compared with about 46 minutes among CNN app users and 31 minutes among Wikipedia app loyalists.)