Wikibumps

wikibump.jpg The elegant and useful Wikipedia article traffic statistics utility is a great poor man's Q score, but it has a lot of delightfully useless uses as well. One of my favorites is monitoring "wikibumps," the jump in traffic that happens when an article is in the news.

It turns out that wikibumps usually peak in the first 24 hours, then taper off in about a week, giving further evidence for the hypothesis that the public's memory generally extends back to the last issue of People magazine. In some cases, the article achieves stasis at a higher level than it had before the wikibump. For instance, Kanye "Imma Let You Finish" West's bump was 300,000. Taylor Swift's was 250,000, but Taylor probably came out ahead, as she achieved stasis at more than twice Kanye's views in December, the last full month of reporting.

More observations below. What wikibumps can you find?

The best way to get a Wikibump is to:

jackson-wikibump.jpg1. Die unexpectedly while famous.

Michael Jackson's wikibump was about 6 million in the first 24 hours. There's certainly a formula for the variables, which are age at time of death, level of fame, cause of death.

Ted Kennedy got a big wikibump, but it was limited by his being fairly old, terminally ill, and not especially interesting to young pop-culture fans.

Brittany Murphy had an unusual 2-day Wikibump, which may have been related to when in the news cycle her death was reported.

2. Be involved in a controversial incident

Alleged terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had a delayed Wikibump due to low-traffic pantsbombing during the holidays.

Travis the rampaging chimpanzee got the same wikibump as Mr. Sizzlepants, about 10,000, up from 0.

Beauty pageant bigot Carrie Prejean had a highly unusual trifecta of wikibumps in April, May, and June following her comments on gay marriage and the ensuing fallout.

What I like most is to compare paired Wikibumps. For instance, cartoonist Sean Delonas and Travis the chimp had connected Wikibumps after Delonas did a controversial political cartoon about the Travis incident. Delonas' was more of a wikibump echo.

Wikibumps are also closely tied with article improvement. Articles tend to have a flurry of editing during a wikibump, demonstrating that the fastest ways to get an article expanded are death or controversy. Or nominating it for deletion.

Please share wikibumps you discover in the comments!