Determining the Influence of Reddit Posts on Wikipedia Pageviews
Keywords:Social Media, Pageviews, Functional Analysis
The activity of passive content consumers on social media sites is typically difficult to measure. This paper explores the activity of a subset of such consumers by looking at the influence on Wikipedia pageviews of one large Reddit community which frequently links to Wikipedia articles. The subreddit used in this analysis, /r/todayilearned (TIL), features a large number of posts on an eclectic set of topics, but excludes current events, which helps rule out the primary threat to being able to make causal statements. Wikipedia's public hourly pageview data provides a unique opportunity to study the influence of a Reddit post on a Wikipedia page at different time horizons. We here present analyses using posts from 2012 in TIL, showing that the week in which a post references a specific Wikipedia article is associated with a substantial increase in pageviews relative to prior and successive weeks. We then apply functional PCA to the dataset in order to characterize pageview dynamics. We also provide a qualitative analysis of the subset of Wikipedia topics posted to Reddit.