The Internet is a strange place. Stranger than you think, probably. I don’t know about you, but most interaction I have on line is via social networking, and many of the people I know there are quite normal.
I have one window into other Internet behaviours though, and that’s the statistics page for this blog. Among other data, I can find out the search terms that people used to arrive at my blog articles from search engines.
Top of the pops, the most common searches, use some variation of “homer simpson nuclear power plant”, and arrive at this blog, where I express cautious antagonism to nuclear power, because the human beings who run the plants, like all humans, really are as stupid and careless as Homer.
Second most popular is the search for Fifth Gear, which arrives at the article where I explain why I can’t bear the rival programme, Top Gear. (Hint: Steve Coogan, a former guest on the show, described it in The Guardian as “lazy, feckless, flatulent & overweight”.)
Curiously high in the rankings is the search for “Passignano sul Trasimeno”, a small town on the North shore of Lago di Trasimeno in Umbria. I only visited Passignano once, so maybe I’m doing it an injustice, but it’s a fairly ordinary lakefront sort of place. Great if you wanted an escape from the city for a day (assuming you’d really want to escape Perugia) but I don’t understand it being a major Internet hit. I should write a travel guide. It might be popular.
The other one of mine with a consistently high hit rate is this blog, which is really about my budget guitar addiction, but presumably comes up because people are searching for two less common Epiphone guitars: the Explorer bass, and the “Limited Edition” Korina G-400. The blog title is a clever pun on a film title, but no-one has ever commented on it. Ho hum.
Oh, there is another with regular hits, which I titled “2B OR NOT 2B = FF” with no explanation. It’s a programmer’s joke, based on the binary “or” and “not” operations, but I’ve wondered if the searches are something to do with homework, or quiz questions.
I know that’s all relatively normal, but it’s as you go down the chart that oddities begin to creep in. Quite a lot of people search the Internet looking for the clitoris. That’s not even close. And my one brief mention of the Rio Carnival gets hits from searchers looking for carnival costumes or body paint. Photos, would you think? I’d quite like to look at pictures of exotic, near-naked carnivalers myself, but my blog isn’t the place to look for them. (Except one.)
Explosion at the Marshmallow Factory gets a regular trickle, even though the real, and perhaps less remarkable, truth is that the marshmallow factory was wiped out by an explosion at their neighbours’, the Rocket Fuel Factory. Down near the bottom, with just three searches, is “my whole body is asymmetric“. No, wait, three searches? Also three for “cate blanchett ears” and “pictures of actual nuclear accidents“.
Finally for today, I’ll just mention that I have no idea how the six people who searched for “cats wearing clothes” ended up at my blog, even if they weren’t smart enough to use the quotes. But for future searcherz, here’s a picture: