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From rabbit hole to massive success

Neuroscience grad outperforms Wikipedia’s most isolated worlds

Annie Raorda, BS ’22. (Photo: Depths of Wikipedia.)

The Buttered Cat Paradox. Spaghetti tree trick. body farm.

confused? do not be. Annie Raorda, BS ’22, will explain it. As host of the insanely popular Wikipedia Depths InstagramAnd the TwitterAnd the tik tokthis neuroscience graduate scours the free internet encyclopedia for her most unusual page, takes screenshots of it and shares it with her 1.5 million followers.

“I don’t post unless there’s something really weird,” says a Grand Rapids resident. Of her 3,000 discoveries on the Internet, many went viral. Among her favorites was the Greek philosopher Chrysippus, who died laughing after seeing a donkey eating figs.

“You just had to be there, I think,” says Raorda.

I broke the internet a second time when I discovered this gem of Wikipedia – a bar joke from ancient Sumeria: “A dog walked into a bar and said, ‘I can’t see a thing. I will open this. “

“People were losing their absolute minds trying to figure out what that meant. I had Sumerian scholars do linguistic analyses,” she says.

‘strange emptiness’

Rauwerda’s exploits in March 2020 as a time killer began relieving stress during the early days of COVID-19. Working night shifts as a home nurse’s aide with the help of Grand Rapids, she found her job doubly difficult, because only residents with dementia and the coronavirus lived in her ward.

“You can only clean the toilets so many times before the manager tells you you can sit down,” she recalls.

The facility wanted to keep it isolated from non-residents of COVID. Therefore, she had time to study for physics class and surfing the internet.

“I was in this very heavy atmosphere in this very strange little hall,” she says. “I was in a very strange place, and then I was on Wikipedia, and I saw the world is so big there, and yet a lot of it was closed off, but it was still there.”

not alone

Wikipedia entry for redemption gardening

After discovering “guerrilla gardening,” Rawerda told WGN it was “the most useful form of vandalism” out there. (Photo: Depths of Wikipedia.)

At first only her friends saw her posts. Drake George, 22, who says Annie is “a cool and down-to-earth person,” realized his ex-housemate was working on something big when her TikTok post on “Anti-Barney humor” (about a purple dinosaur on a ’90s kids TV show) reached out to her. 3 million views.

“She has the most incredible stories to tell,” says George. “I’ve never met anyone like her before.”

Early on, Rauwerda bridged Wikipedia’s most obvious worlds by following its hyperlinks and jumping down rabbit holes that seduced him. Such research is less taxing today because fans send her tips.

“I still see things out in the wild all the time, but it’s a lot easier now that I have a million people thinking of me when they see something funny on Wikipedia,” she says.

orange trivia

Trivia Rauwerda has always fascinated me. When she was in elementary school, she watched the movie “Jeopardy” devouring Ripley’s believe it or not Books, love the magazine National Geographic Children. “I’d immediately go to the ‘Weird but Real’ section. I’d read things like ‘Did you know there are 200 seeds on a strawberry?'” she recalls.

Ani Rorda on the Chicago Morning Post

Rauwerda is getting smarter in the media, as her profile has gained traction. Here, she speaks to WGN-TV in Chicago.

Older than Wikipedia itself by only 14 months, Rawerda grew up enamored with this growing global compendium of knowledge. At last count, it had about 6,524,306 articles in English alone. “On the surface, I post wacky stuff from Wikipedia,” she says, “but I hope the breadth of Wikipedia inspires people.” “It’s one of the remaining pillars of the Internet at its best.”

The Wikimedia Foundation is grateful to have published “Love Wiki” and says it has made more than twenty contacts there. “She’s the perfect ambassador between the quirky world of Wikipedia editors and what’s on Wikipedia and the general population,” says Andrew Leigh, a Smithsonian’s roving Wikipedia editor who helps migrate its resources to Wikipedia.

On the road

Depths of a Wikipedia post about

This Instagram post might introduce you to the typical “Deep Wikipedia” to Hellbender. (Photo: Depths of Wikipedia.)

Well on her way to conquering the internet, entrepreneur Rauwerda is expanding her personal brand. Besides selling merchandise based on Depths of Wikipedia, her literary agent markets a book proposal about her exploits to publishers. She is also an emerging comedian with a stage agent. Last spring, she appeared three times at the Caveat Club on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in a production of “Wikipedia Live” with other artists. Rauwerda is now planning a solo tour of six cities.

Although she found her on stage to be “nervous,” she liked the attention her fans gave her. After one appearance in New York, sidewalk-goers who were at the club saw her walking. “They were like, ‘Thanks for the show, Annie!'” she says. “I felt like in one block in New York City for half an hour I was an A-Lister with the paparazzi. People were, like, “Can I take a picture?” This part was fun.”

be clever

Rauwerda’s entrepreneurial enthusiasm, web-browsing fascination, and intellectual fervor may come from her parents. Her mother gave up her job as a school teacher to become a doctor. Her father, who was also a teacher, also went back to school and became an assistant professor.

Fearing that her feats of hunting memes might puzzle or disappoint them, she initially kept her hobby a secret. “I don’t think they thought it was that cool even New York times She wrote an article about me.” “And then they were, like, Whoa! Looks like her little hobby was more impactful than we realized! “

Today, Raorda doesn’t plan to look for a nine-to-five job and has “very low anxiety” about what the future holds, even though the culture of cancellation bothers her. “I can imagine posting something stupid without really thinking, and it ends up being offensive,” she says.

Wolverine wiki

Wikipedia entry for an intact cow lying on its side

Wikipedia will tell you that this photo inspired Ani Rorda to launch her own social media channel, Deep Wikipedia. (Photo: Depths of Wikipedia.)

So far, her posts about her state and the University of Michigan have been well received. I shouted for the Apollo 15 astronauts – they all went to Michigan and set up an alumni class on the moon. The water tower in Ypsilanti, a few miles from campus, caught her attention for winning the Most Phallic Architecture competition. The fictitious towns of Petoso and Jublo have also caught her eye on the official Michigan highway map. They’re getting a glimpse into the famous football competition, thanks to the alum who chaired the state Highway Commission.

Rorda is particularly fond of a post about Japanese professor George Sugihara, 73, who majored in natural resources. His Wikipedia page, among other things, says, “He did something after graduation.”

So did Raorda – a strange and wonderful thing.


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