The Pew Internet and American Life Project is reporting that 36 percent of online American adults consult Wikipedia. According to the report, the higher the level of education the more likely the person was to use Wikipedia. Clearly, educated Americans who are aware that Wikipedia may have errors are still using it. Could this be because Wikipedia is free, easy to use, and mostly (good enough) accurate the reason why? I expect this number to grow in the future and not go down.
Some highlights from the report:
More than one-third of American adult Internet users consult the citizen-generated online encyclopedia Wikipedia, according to a new nationwide survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. And on a typical day, 8 percent of online Americans consult Wikipedia. In addition, the use of Wikipedia is more popular than some of the more prominent online activities tracked by Pew, including auctions, purchasing, dating, chat rooms and travel reservations.
Although there has been ongoing controversy about the reliability of articles on Wikipedia, the Pew survey shows that Wikipedia is far more popular among the well-educated than it is among those with lower levels of education.
- 50 percent of those with at least a college degree consult the site compared with 22 percent of those with a high school diploma.
- 46 percent of those age 18 and older who are current full- or part-time students have used Wikipedia compared with 36 percent of the overall Internet population.