Wikipedia Greatness

Having recently completed my two biggest goals in life–to get a PhD and to have something I’ve written published–I’ve decided that my new long-term goal (aside from living on every continent for a year) is to achieve Wikipedia Greatness.

Wikipedia Greatness is defined (by me) as doing something notable enough that someone else creates a Wikipedia entry about me–and that entry doesn’t subsequently get deleted by the site’s editors. The key point here is the someone else. It’s important to stress that in order to achieve Wikipedia Greatness, other people have to think I’m great.

As opposed to just me thinking I’m great. Or my mom.

Of course, there are different levels of Wikipedia Greatness. The first level is to simply have a stub. Basically, just my name and a brief, almost apologetic explanation of why I have an article in the first place. At the bottom it will say something like, “This article about an Unimportant person is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.” But why would you want to? You have better things to do.

It’s beyond this first level (the stub-level) that things really get interesting and Wikipedia Greatness really comes alive. Pictures, detailed biographical information, subsections, controversies, links, references, and so on. The possibilities are virtually endless, and the level of detail is directly proportional to how important other people think I am.

But I don’t care about any of that. I just want a stub. I simply want to plant my feet firmly on that first step of The Wikipedia Ladder of Greatness. Or maybe it’s an escalator. I’m not really sure. Metaphors were never my strong suit.

So what exactly is Greatness anyway, and how can it be achieved? Naturally, Wikipedia has an article on Greatness which goes into some detail, but I’m not going to rehash it all here. What I did find interesting though was at the very bottom of the article, a guy named Bill Dorris did an extensive study of individuals throughout history and came up with a complicated argument for how Greatness is achieved (although ironically he does not yet have a Wikipedia article of his own).

Having just now done an extensive study of glancing at a few pages on Wikipedia, I’ve come up with my own theory for how Greatness is achieved. And while Dorris’s argument has the advantage of sound research and professional-sounding terms, mine has the advantage of being easy to understand and not requiring a whole book to explain.

So according to me, the three keys to Greatness are: talent, opportunity, and hard work. Now I don’t know about the exact proportions, but I think some amount of each of these things is required. And yeah, maybe if you have a lot of talent and a great opportunity you might not have to work so hard, or with a lot of hard work and a decent opportunity you can achieve greatness even if you don’t have a lot of talent, but I think at least some amount of all three is required for Greatness.

If my goal were to simply make enough money to live comfortably, I think I would be just fine with a career in science. But if my goal is Wikipedia Greatness, I’m going to have to do something else. Because while I do have some talent for research, I just don’t know what direction to take in order to discover something Great. Plus, I don’t want to work that hard because I’m just not that passionate about it.

But when it comes to writing, I feel like I can see an opportunity for myself. I think I could achieve a minor level of Greatness as a writer/philosopher. I have a lot of stories in my head–more than 60 at the moment–and I have a way of looking at things that’s slightly different compared to most people. And while I may not have an exceptional amount of talent for writing, I think I do have an adequate amount, and I’m willing to work hard. After all, I’m not looking for a Shakespeare- or Aristotle-sized Wikipedia entry.

I just want a stub.

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About Critical Awesomeness
I'm a 32-year-old American with a PhD in chemistry and a green hat. Only one of these two things is really important.

2 Responses to Wikipedia Greatness

  1. Su says:

    Being recognized or rather “acknowledged” by the public is the ultimate reward in my mind. I want my books published by one of the big 6 pub houses. I want to see my books on the shelves of the local book stores and the libraries. I really want to be validated by the literary world and the readers, not just my friends and family. For me, the money is just a bonus. Oh, yeah… I also want my own stub. Dream big:P

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