President Trump. J.K. Rowling. Kim Kardashian West.
It’s probably no surprise that Time magazine named these three individuals as being among the top 25 most influential people on the internet.
But at least one name on the list may not be so easy to recognize.
My guess is that you have not heard of Mr. Pruitt; until a few days ago neither had I. (It also doesn’t help that his online username is Ser Amantio Di Nicolao, his favorite opera character).
But once I read about him, it was easy to see why he was named to the list, and it’s easy to imagine that you have likely read something that Pruitt has written.
Steven Pruitt has made nearly 3 million edits on Wikipedia and written 35,000 original articles. One-third of all English language articles on Wikipedia have been edited by Pruitt. To put into perspective what it took for Pruitt to become the top editor, he’s been dedicating his free time to the site for 13 years. The second-place editor is roughly 900,000 edits behind him, so his first place status seems safe, for now.
And he does all this as a volunteer, earning nothing for all his efforts.
“The idea of making it all free fascinates me. My mother grew up in the Soviet Union … So I’m very conscious of what, what it can mean to make knowledge free, to make information free,” he said.
Pulling from books, academic journals, and other sources, Pruitt spends more than three hours a day researching, editing, and writing.
I love reading about people who have found something they are passionate about, and then pursue that passion with all they’ve got.
Stephen Pruitt is a perfect example of such a person.
So I think it’s only fitting to end this with a link to Pruitt’s own Wikipedia page.
And a clip featuring his favorite opera character: