The very best part of visiting my blog’s administrative dashboard might just be a little box that tells me what Google search terms led people to find my blog. Chronicling the public’s secret desires this way is hardly a unique theme for a blog post, but I think the end of the year is a good time to reflect on just what phrases have led you here.
“Sweatshirts about duct tape and Jesus”, anyone? Or “Evil santa claus bunny rabbit”?
This search term feature is quite useful for a blogger. The good news is that a lot of blog hits due to search engines were people Googling my name or my book (though a few variants intrigued me, like “asteroid alaina” and “hurricane alaina”). Most flattering was the simple phrase, “Alaina Mabaso says”. I’m so glad you care what I think. On the other hand, over the last year, though I’ve published what I thought were worthwhile essays on death, grief, politics, literature, gender issues, the digital world and more, I found that the blog topics people searched for most were goldfish fry, pharmacists’ tattoos, and the hats of the royal wedding (I am not the only blogger who now knows that the American public has a bizarre obsession with the headwear of British royalty).
I divide other search terms into categories.
The first category is Ambiguous Concepts. This included “Katherine heigl extra terrestrial”. Maybe not so strange for people who think she is an alien. Or perhaps she starred in a sci-fi movie I’m not aware of. If I were to Google her in connection with another term, I just wouldn’t know what to say other than perhaps “Katherine heigl attractive uptight woman who needs a man to loosen her up”, but clearly some Googlers have more imagination than Hollywood screenwriters.
A second confusing search term was “snake bites on Goth kids”. Who wants any kids to get bitten by snakes, even if they do have poor taste in clothes? Or are “snake bites” a kind of jewelry or accessory I’m not aware of? Also, is there such a thing as a Goth kid? I am picturing a five-year-old in eyeliner, combat boots and a black trench coat.
Another head-scratcher was “multiple breast fiction”. Is there a genre of erotica dedicated to fantasy involving more than the usual allotment of breasts? Or was this written by a person who does not know or believe that women are endowed with two breasts? More importantly, how did my blog pop up under this search term?
To sum up this category for today, I’ll add the possibly unfortunate search term, “Alaina smells”. I’d like to think that this Googler was trying to find an essay I wrote about bad smells, but there’s also the troubling possibility that “Alaina smells” is someone’s opinion.
A second category brings a fascinating range of stories to life: Long Search Terms.
“a man bought a goldfish in a petshop. upon returning home, he put the goldfish in a bowl of recently boiled water that has been cooled quickly. a few minutes later the fish was dead. explain what happened to the fish”.
I would dearly love to know the source of this inquiry. Is some student cheating on a biology test’s curiously sadistic question? Or is this simply the plea of a heartbroken would-be fish owner seeking answers?
Or try this one:
“just saw a commercial saying that if my kids eat fruit snacks, a kid in africa might get a laptop. wouldn’t it make more sense if I buy a laptop, africa kids would get fruit snacks?”
I am picturing a suburban housewife ashamed to voice her musings on “africa kids” to anyone else in the neighborhood, but turning hopefully to the internet to see if anyone else had privately noticed how bizarre it was that American kids should get fruit snacks while African kids got laptops – shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Then there are the Questions or statements that I wish I could answer personally.
One is “surname Mabaso in English”. Guess what: it’s “Mabaso”.
Also, to all the people searching for “good morning translated to Tsonga”: it’s avuxeni.
Another is “What age can you sell goldfish fry” or “how old are goldfish before you can sell them”.
Despite pet stores that would lead you to believe that goldfish are, in fact, a salable item, the answer to this question, for the home aquarium-keeper, is your home-hatched goldfish will never reach an age at which they can be sold to anyone. If you can wheedle your friends into adopting a few of your goldfish fry for free, you should count yourself lucky.
To the person who Googled “What does Alaina want for her birthday”: I would like the 2008 miniseries version of “Sense and Sensibility”.
To the person Googling “what is the solution to the story peanut butter rhino”: if you simply want to know how the book ends, the sandwich is stuck to his ass. If you’re wondering how such an inane storybook made it on the market, I have no answer.
There are also the Terrifying search terms, namely “Large clear centipede Philadelphia”, “centipede clear feathery legs” and “Worst centipede real”. Pretty many people are Googling centipedes and we all now know we’re not alone in our fears. Worst of all: “scutigera coleoptrata giant” and “Scutigera Coleoptrata bite”.
More enjoyable are Fun imaginary scenarios, like “Female hans solo” or “Stinkybugs go to camp”.
Of course, there are also many mildly embarrassing or intriguing Sex-related searches.
“Breaking dawn sex excerpt”, for example. No fair: go buy the book and turn down the corner of the page where Edward and Bella Go All The Way if you want to. You ain’t gonna find it on this blog. Let me just throw in here that an alarming number of us are Googling questions about Edward and Bella’s wedding night, as well as Kody Brown’s polygamous bedrooms (one Googler even shows a peculiar interest in this Mormon’s feet).
More troubling, perhaps, was “Harry potter sex comic”. Though I admit I did write a Harry Potter-themed blog which questioned the Sex Ed standards at Hogwarts.
I wish I knew who found my blog by looking for “Leonardo dicaprio hyperventilating attractively” – and whether anything I wrote tickled their fancy.
I hope the timid soul Googling “images of men’s and women’s reproductive part” did not get more than he or she bargained for by taking to the internet.
I think some bloggers tag their stuff like crazy to drive hits to their site, when the content of the blog actually has little to do with the tag. Therefore, my favorite category may be Search terms that are highly satisfying because these people probably found exactly what they were looking for on my blog.
For example: “e.t. comes”. Here is an illustration of this exact statement from my blog post titled “The Truth About E.T.”
How about “sprained ankle humor”? Why yes, here you are!
I didn’t know it when I began writing poems on extremely random topics, but there is a large segment of the population who wants to find them. Who knew that somebody out there was specifically searching for “heat wave poems”? Hey, try this! And yes, I did write a “poem about stink bugs”! Whaddaya know, I’ve got an “airline poem” too. “Porsche poem”? Sure, here it is. I’ve been slacking on the poems this year, and now I feel bad, because it’s obvious there’s a large contingent out there seeking poems on non-traditional topics.
Are you glad that I don’t know what it is you’re Googling?