The weirdest things bring people to my blog. Seriously weird.
On wordpress, you get a list of search terms that people have used to find your blog and thus the whimsy of mankind is revealed. The problem is, it doesn’t reveal nice things about mankind, only weird things.
Take Monday. On Monday I blogged about Adam Ant. Most of the content was about the King of the Wild Frontier himself. I had videos and pictures and text. The big three.
Does Adam Ant bring people to my blog? No.
Shakin Stevens does.
Firstly, why are people searching for Shakin Stevens in the first place? I can only assume those four misguided souls were actually people who read my blog, had no idea who Shakin Stevens was and decided to have a gawk at the old sexless one himself. I hope so. In that case, the internet is operating like a little closed circle. I read a blog. I find a name I don’t recognise. I google it. I come back to the blog.
But I can’t believe this to be true. That would require only one internet site for the old Elvis wannabe and that’s impossible. In fact, there are 2,480,000 websites given to you by Google when you search for that. I’d put SS to be cute, but that would probably just lead to ALL sorts of hits I don’t want. Or $$.
So how far do you have to go through Google’s listings before you get to my blog? I’m sure it’s on about page 50. I got to page 11 before I got bored. So far, it’s all youtube links and lyrics links.
That means you’ve got to be a pretty dedicated internet researcher to get that far. Why not stop at his fan page or wikipedia? I have no idea. Or you have to really love Shakin Stevens.
Not only that, let’s assume that the dear researcher is a fan. You’d have to be a fan to get through all of that. Well, they’re not going to like what I’ve written about him, are they?! Or what I said about them. Mme. V has already taken me to task over it. I’ve already taken her off my Christmas card list for the next two years.
And I was kind of nice.
I could have been much worse.
Yesterday, I called Michael Gove a fat-faced loon. And that was kind of nice. Unfortunately, I just stole it from Macbeth, when he calls the boy who comes to tell him about Birnam Wood moving a ‘cream-faced loon’. I wasn’t even original. A google search revealed that one other person in the world has used that phrase.
Now they’re looking at their site hits and wondering why anyone would search for ‘fat-faced loon’.
Google searches are great inventions. I use them to settle battles with editors. I say ‘but my phrase is more popular than yours. 74,000,000 people used mine. Only 3 used yours.’
I don’t add ‘you bleeding buffoon’ to my answer. I don’t need to. I’m waiting for one to say ‘that’s because mine is original’, like I was with the fat-faced loon thing. Then I will say ‘no… yours is just bad English. I was just using facts to make a point.’
Statistics can obviously be interpreted in many ways.
However, the good thing is that dear old bland-Elvis has only 2,480,000 hits. Adam Ant has 38,000,0000. Who won that battle in the end??!
Mind you, two in the top ten have nothing to do with the bestriped one. One is a dictionary page about the word adamant and the other is a page about a computer web store. Weak-sauce Elvis mk 2 is at least original.
Google searches are my writerly way of finding what is unusual and what is not. I thought my business slogan ‘for all your wordy needs’ would be quite original. There are 750 other people who might have thought so too.
Once, I cornered a boy on his coursework via a 0.7 second google search. Said silly boy had handed me work that was just much too good to be his. It could have been mine. I googled one phrase and up popped the exact same essay. I printed it off.
“Is there anything you’d like to tell me?” I asked, sitting on the stern side of my desk, holding the documents. His and the print off.
“Nope.” he said, smug as anything.
“It’s very good. Did you have any help? You know you’re not allowed to have help, don’t you?”
“It’s all mine.”
“And I just need to remind you that if you stole this coursework, if you copied it from somewhere, you could be jeopardising 300 other students’ work. Our centre could be investigated for cheating. We might not be allowed to enter any single student. All our coursework could be investigated. You know that’s what could happen?”
“And you’ve nothing to tell me?”
“Your own exams could be affected. None of your results would stand.”
“Still nothing you want to tell me?”
The grinning loon was still grinning.
I then presented him with the whole kit and caboodle. Print-offs, date the original piece was done, who did it, the ISP address for the site, the location of the ISP address, the ISP itself.
Luckily, he looked a bit embarrassed and didn’t try to lie about the fact that he’d written it in Canada as a nine-year old boy.
Some things are a little sad, though.
When I was 19, one of my boyfriends used to send me poems. They weren’t very good. However, there was bit that was quite beautiful: “Of all the things worth dying for, none sweeter have I seen, than the rose that is my England in her cloak of leafy green…”
It was quite lovely.
It was also stolen from a folk-metal band circa 1991. If only I could have Googled it. I’d have seen through that poetry-writing charlatan in no time. As it was, it took me a good year or so to realise he was a bit of a waste of space. I’d quite accept he wrote all the bad poetry.
It’s pretty amazing, this internet world. It can show you as a Shakin Stevens’ lover, a fat-faced loon, a charlatan poetry writer, a silly boy who should have had more brains than to get himself into a corner with me (eat your heart out, Brenda Leigh Johnson) or an editor who can’t write.
Twenty years ago, it would have been impossible to learn most of that. Or at least to prove it with google stats.
Oh Brave New World, that has such people in’t!