Wikipedia:Wikipedia doesn't care how many friends you have

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Winston Churchill doesn't have any followers on Twitter. Not notable, obviously.

In many deletion discussions, the number of fans, followers or "friends" (in the Facebook sense of the word) the subject of a biographical article has accumulated is brought up as an argument. This information is irrelevant and citing it ought to be considered an argument to avoid.

Being notable on Wikipedia requires significant coverage in independent reliable sources. Why? Because Wikipedia is not a random collection of information or a business directory or a web or blog hosting service, it's an encyclopedia. There's a reason why you need more than just a one-off event to make you notable and there's a reason you shouldn't create articles about crap you just made up.

Virginia Woolf is not on Facebook. Probably not notable.

Having thousands or hundreds of thousands of people willing to click "Like" on a page may be an indication that a subject is notable but does not in itself make a subject notable: the standard notability criteria apply interpreted through the lens of community consensus. Having lots of friends on Twitter may be because you are Barack Obama, but the reason Obama is notable is because he was the President of the United States, not because he has 102 million followers on Twitter. The fact that a reality show contestant has lots of Twitter followers doesn't mean they have enduring historical and cultural significance in the same way Jane Austen or Jawaharlal Nehru or John F. Kennedy do.

Wikipedia doesn't care about your Verified account[edit]

Businesses, celebrities, bands and other groups are often given some special kind of account: Facebook and Google Plus allow "Pages" in addition to personal accounts; Twitter gives out Verified accounts. This also doesn't change whether someone is notable a single jot. Being "verified" on Twitter started so that users could help work out which accounts named after public figures were real and which were impersonators. Verified accounts are now being granted to advertising partners at Twitter, so it is possible to pay to be given verified status.[1] Verified status has been given to journalists on Twitter by dint of a business relationship between Twitter and the journalist's employer. Notability on Wikipedia is not inherited. Just because the New York Times is notable, that doesn't mean any particular journalist writing for the New York Times is notable; just because a celebrity is notable, that does not mean their siblings or children are notable.

All a verified account on Twitter proves is that you are who you say you are, not that you are notable.

As with having a lot of fans or followers, being verified or given some other special purportedly celebrity-only status on a social networking service may be an indication that the person might meet the notability guidelines, but it is not a sufficient condition for it.

As an aside, it is worth remembering that just because an account is verified, it doesn't mean that it is actually the person named who is posting to it. Posts could very well be made by a ghost writer paid by the celebrity's agent or by brands sponsoring the celebrity. Do not take such posts at face value.

Being disruptive doesn't make you notable either[edit]

In a lot of discussions of "Web 2.0" and social media, the term "disruptive" is used, often with approval. Numerous companies and services are said to be "disrupting" television or newspapers or education. YouTube is often said to be disrupting television, for instance. Contra Marx, Wikipedia is not here to change (or indeed disrupt) the world's existing media structure, nor even to analyse the world (that would be original research) but simply to try and document in a neutral manner what reliable sources have had to say about the world. Wikipedia is not here to help "media disruptors" challenge the dominance of traditional media.[2] Why? Because Wikipedia is not here to tell the world about your noble cause.

New media celebrities[edit]

As media changes—gets disrupted if you prefer—many new types of celebrities, entertainers and public voices are coming to the fore. YouTube and other social media sites are allowing a new breed of Internet celebrities to exist. Playing the YouTube social game doesn't mean Wikipedia owes you an article. Sending hordes of barely literate twelve-year olds to participate in a deletion debate won't help your cause and is unlikely to give even the most sympathetic inclusionists a sudden urge to hunt down reliable sources to rescue the article.


  1. ^ About Verified Accounts, Twitter
  2. ^ Although that occasionally is a side effect of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects