Almost 1.5 years ago, I pleaded people to stop linking to Wikipedia mostly because your readers already knew how to get there. Thankfully that isn't happening as much these days, although that probably didn't have much to do with my plea.
This morning I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of Wikipedia pages I had been looking at over the last little while. So I wrote a script to parse my Firefox history file and generate this alphabetized list.
When I was in Grade 10, I had this crazy idea for a short story. In it, the librarian of a really old and really large library would gain illegal access to the library's database and use that info to reconstruct the personalities of people by looking at all the books a person liked and disliked over their membership's duration.
I think the same kind of idea is possible if you had access to a person's browser's history: I believe you can tell a lot about a person by looking at the kinds of Wikipedia articles he/she reads everyday.
I think Wikipedia has dramatically changed the way I look at facts and information. I have quit trying to remember all the little pieces of info in my head because all these factoids are only a quick "wiki" search away. I remember the good old days of trying to look up stuff in our personal copy of the World Book encyclopedia. This almost always used to be a half-an-hour ordeal. Now I can tell you the currency of Ethiopia in less than a few seconds assuming I'm at my computer with Firefox or Chrome already open. This is some significant impact.
Some of the articles on Wikipedia are actually of very high quality, if I say so myself. Especially the economics ones. Take the article on Deadweight Loss for instance (deliberately linking to wikipedia). It tells you everything you need to know, complete with a great example and a detailed illustration. You no longer have to worry about not understanding terminology; almost all arcane field-specific terminology is, as I said before, only a "wiki" search away.
Once, I had a dream that I had spent all of Grade 5 through to university reading two Wikipedia articles a day instead of going to school. That's almost 10,000 articles in total over 13 years. Somehow I suspect I would've understood more about the world that way.