I don't know about you other bloggers, but I've had almost as much fun with the blog counter as I have with the blog itself. I'm still learning how to analyze all the information it provides, mostly I just think it's cool to look at a world map with little markers of all the places people have stopped by for a visit. I can't claim they all stay to read the posts where they land though; it's often quite clear that what I've written was not actually what the google searchers (or 'googlers' if you will) were looking for. Usually I don't think I can be held accountable; it can be wild what gets some people to my site. Someone recently was looking for what Bruce Chatwin said about Donegal. I mention Chatwin in one entry, Donegal in another, so Bob's your uncle. The photos of my aloe plants are very popular, for some reason, and it's not just one person stopping by for multiple visits, not unless she's an international traveler. Right now it's a toss up which of two searches are my favorite for randomness. It's either 'cretan wildcat' or 'good gay, bad gay effeminate'. Actually, both of those searchers may have actually appreciated what I said on their respective subjects, now that I think of it. But many of these searches, whoo boy, I cannot be blamed if they bring people to my site.
Some of the misfires, I will take some blame for. I was unaware, for example, that dragonfly stories are some kind of genre; I don't what defines them exactly (gonna stop by wikipedia later, I guess), but it's clear from many of the searches that people have something specific in mind when they come looking. As it happens, I have two entries entitled Dragonfly Story (I and II, natch), and they both continue to get a steady stream of (I assume mildly disgruntled) visitors almost a year after they were posted. In my defense, dragonflies do figure in both stories, but I doubt I'm observing the rules of the genre. So my bad, but I'm not losing any sleep over this one, since I think it's safe to assume anyone who landed there turned up a whole lot of other hits that gave them what they wanted.
Some of the false expectations, however, are not of my construction. A few weeks back, for example, my steady trickle of visitors suddenly more than tripled in number. I was at a loss to explain why, until friends Java and the Midnight Gardener enlightened me. It turns out another friend had seen a portrait of me hanging in a local art gallery, and mentioned it on his very popular blog. Besides the portrait of me, the post also mentioned visiting a renovated sex club. Having the words 'sex club' in the title probably didn't hurt. Now maybe I am misunderstanding what brought my visitors from Tony's blog, but I strongly suspect they were hoping for something a bit more sexy or racy than, well, a chipper post about Patrick taking a happy jaunt, hippity-hop, to Fort Tryon Park. But that's what was waiting for them there. There were pictures too, but they were of flowers, in particular heather, because I do loves me some heather. The spike in readership lasted for about three days, before things dropped back down to my previous average, so I don't think I won over a whole lot of new people. Next time I'm showing skin on this blog though, I'll be sure to contact Tony.
That was maybe the most amusing example of disappointed expectations, but it was pretty quickly explained. There's another one that perplexed me much longer. Almost at the beginning of this blog (way back in April of ought 6, it was), I wrote a short, very silly little entry that for some reason regularly got hits, and recently has been growing in popularity. At the moment it is the fourth most popular post on my blog, actually. And it's just not that clever or interesting, so I really hadn't a clue what was going on there. It was the first time I specifically mentioned the blogging juggernaut that is Joe.My.God, so if I thought about it at all, I figured people who found themselves there had googled him, and for reasons of their own decided to go WAY down their list of hits. Not much of an explanation, really, but it was the best I could do.
Then I realized that the comments on posts show up in google searches. Ah, that made things much more clear. I had written this one back before blogger made it so ridiculously easy to create links in one's posts that even a computing knuckle-dragger such as myself could create them, and the subject of the post, while actually about how and why I love Joe.My.God, spent a certain amount of time bemoaning the fact that I was reduced to writing out the entire addresses, rather than creating elegant links that don't break the flow of the text. So Brian, ever helpful, particularly on subjects computer and internet, kindly wrote a detailed explanation of how one created links writing the html code. The oh so random example he chose, THAT was the magic phrase that was drawing random strangers to that entry. Since I'm trying NOT to torment these people further, I'm not going to write what the magic phrase was, but you can go see for yourself. Hell, if you know Brian, you can probably make an educated guess.
Now, I didn't feel too badly about getting people's hopes up on this issue either, since again, I assumed their google searches too were turning up more satisfying hits. The thing is, not only is it getting hit more often of late, for some reason this baby has also gone international in a BIG way. More and more the visitors are coming from non-English speaking countries, many of which consider the search topic involved to be criminal behavior. It's even possible just doing the google search is illegal in some parts. So if people are taking that kind of risk, and hell, probably typing one-handed while they do it, I feel bad for misleading them, and boring them on top of it. One poor bastard even had the whole thing translated, just to make sure he wasn't missing anything good. And he really, really wasn't.
So, while I don't mean to suggest my blog has any great clout on the world stage, I think I will be taking that post. It just seems cruel.