Michael Jackson

On June 25, only moments after rumours of the death of Michael Jackson had begun to spread, Wikipedia began to feel the impact of a shock wave of curiosity. According to Wikinews hoaxes started to spread, internet sites suffered from overload.

Wikimedia Foundation CTO Brion Vibber described how the Wikipedia servers had a hard time trying to cope with the demand (see also Domas Mituzas’ more technical explanation). Wikipedia’s tough time became a small newsworthy factoid by itself, reported by several mainstream media, like The New York Times and CNET.

A blog named The Wikipedian analyzed in The King of Wikipedia Traffic how even The New York Times struggled to get the numbers right. Most media settled on a peak visit of nearly a million viewers in the final hour of June 25. In fact the actual number is almost 25% higher, as people who asked for an article on ‘michael jackson’ or ‘Michael jackson’ were routed to the proper page as well, but were overlooked in stats as differences in upper and lower case lead to separate raw counts.

Wikipedia servers received 1.24 million requests for the English article about Michael Jackson in the first hour only, 8.68 million  in the first 24 hours, 14.4 million in the first 7 days.

Page views per hour per language

Michael Jackson Views Per Hour
Large version

Michael Jackson Views Per Hour
Large version

Note how in the line chart above the Spanish cycle is hours behind the German/French cycles and very close to the English cycle. This shows that most views for the Spanish Wikipedia came from North and South America, much less from Spain.

Page views per language for first seven days

Michael Jackson Total Views One Week
Large version

Page views and their historic significance

Liam Wyatt (aka Witty Lama) just days ago gave a presentation with the brilliant title “Wikipedia The Endless Palimpsest” to celebrate his graduation in history (many congratulations Liam!). In this talk he explains how recent revisions of an article can be peeled off to reveal older layers, which are still meaningful for historians. Even graffiti applied by vandals can by its sheer informality convey meaningful information, just like historians learned a lot from graffiti on walls of classic Pompei. Likewise view patterns can tell future historians a lot about what was hot and what wasn’t in our times. Reason why these raw view data are meant to be preserved for a long time (see also similar analyses on Sarah Palin and the H1N1 Flu).

Page views per article for English Wikipedia for first seven days

Page views on English Wikipedia in one week: June 25 – 1 July, 2009
where page title contains ‘Michael Jackson’
(articles and image/sound pages)
Rank Views Title
1 14,462,631 Michael_Jackson
2 498,890 Death_of_Michael_Jackson
3 431,954 Invincible_(Michael_Jackson_album)
4 426,683 Michael_Jackson_gives_autographCropped.jpg
5 387,251 Michael_Jackson_album_discography
6 286,774 Michael_Jackson’s_health_and_appearance
7 276,218 Michael_Jackson_singles_discography
8 242,149 1993_child_sexual_abuse_accusations_against_Michael_Jackson
9 238,239 This_Is_It_(Michael_Jackson_concerts)
10 193,157 Michael_Jackson_(writer)
11 182,135 Michael_Jackson_with_the_Reagans.png
12 173,032 Michael_Jackson_1984.jpg
13 145,702 Living_with_Michael_Jackson
14 124,752 Music_and_Me_(Michael_Jackson_album)
15 114,916 Michael_Jackson_sculpture.jpg
16 102,910 Bad_(Michael_Jackson_song)
17 94,541 Michael_Jackson_songs
18 78,568 Michael_Jackson_fans_waving_posters_in_support_of_MJ.jpg
19 78,199 Michael_Jackson’s_”Bad”_Jacket_and_Belt.jpg
20 74,098 Michael_Jackson
21 72,959 Michael_Jackson’s_Moonwalker
22 70,672 Number_Ones_(Michael_Jackson_album)
23 69,332 Michael_Jackson2_2006.jpg
24 65,852 Michael_Jackson_(disambiguation)
25 64,913 Bundesarchiv_B_145_Bild-F079012-0026,_Berlin,_Michael_Jackson-Konzert,_Wartende.jpg
26 64,223 Human_Nature_(Michael_Jackson_song)
27 55,540 Records_and_achievements_of_Michael_Jackson
28 55,507 List_of_Michael_Jackson_tours
29 54,704 Physical_appearance_of_Michael_Jackson
30 52,503 Rock_with_You_(Michael_Jackson_song)
31 49,245 List_of_awards_received_by_Michael_Jackson
32 45,874 _The_Ultimate_Collection
33 45,678 The_Essential_Michael_Jackson
34 43,219 The_Best_of_Michael_Jackson
35 42,264 Off_the_Wall_(Michael_Jackson_album)
36 39,389 Michael_Jackson_videography
37 37,359 Michael_Jackson_1984_cropped.jpg
38 36,855 Butterflies_(Michael_Jackson_song)
39 33,718 Michael_Jackson_marriages_and_children
40 32,906 Who_Is_It_(Michael_Jackson_song)
41 30,613 Cry_(Michael_Jackson_song)
42 30,314 Michael_Jackson_physical_appearance
43 29,945 One_More_Chance_(Michael_Jackson_song)
44 29,930 Michael_Jackson_(radio_commentator)
45 28,460 Michael_Jackson_impersonator_for_Thriller_25th_anniversary.jpg
46 28,130 Michael_Jackson_bad_cd_cover_1987_cdda.jpg
47 26,947 Michael_Jackson_1988.jpg
48 23,250 One_Day_in_Your_Life_(Michael_Jackson_song)
49 21,920 Girlfriend_(Michael_Jackson_song)
50 20,035 Music_&_Me_(Michael_Jackson_album)
51 18,198 _The_Michael_Jackson_Story
52 17,994 Michael_Jackson_filmography
53 16,931 Unbreakable_(The_Michael_Jackson_song)
54 15,838 Dangerous_(Michael_Jackson_song)
55 15,350 _30th_Anniversary_Special
56 12,995 Ghosts_(Michael_Jackson_film)
57 12,287 Michael_Jackson_(singer)
58 11,893 Michael_Jackson_albums_discography
59 11,835 Michael_Jackson_Discography
60 11,577 Michael_Jackson_and_President_Bush.jpg
61 8,915 Michael_Jackson_albums
62 8,545 Michael_Jackson
63 8,320 Michael_Jackson’s_Music_Videos
64 7,219 List_of_Michael_Jackson_awards
65 7,105 List_of_Michael_Jackson’s_awards
66 6,745 Prince_Michael_Jackson_II
67 6,606 Michael_Jackson3_2006_(cropped_version).jpg
68 6,503 Michael_Jackson_bad_tour_liverpool_concert_1988.jpg
69 5,894 Death_of_Michael_Jackson
70 5,817 Michael_Jackson_discography
71 5,653 Michael_Jackson_-_Beat_It_cover.jpg
72 5,359 Thriller_(Michael_Jackson).jpg
73 5,349 Michael_Jackson_Thriller.ogg
74 5,090 Reaction_to_the_death_of_Michael_Jackson
75 5,088 Michael_Jackson_star6272009.jpg
This entry was posted in Nice Charts, Observations, Wikimedia View(er)s, Wikistats Reports. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Michael Jackson

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  5. Joe says:

    Dear Erik Zachte
    Is it possible to add a new language to Wikimedia Statistics website? Actually I want to add persian language which is an RTL alphabet order. If it is possible, please let me know.
    Thanks

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