Sunday, February 04, 2007

Grandma, You're Being Careless

Just a few days ago, I initiated a little experiment using what Technorati claimed were the most frequently used post tags. These included obvious ones — like Windows Vista, Iran or Paris Hilton — and some others I had never heard of before — like Tammy NYP and Stacy Schiff. (The former, it seems, is the pseudonym of a Singapore woman involved in a sex video scandal and the latter a Pulitzer-winning author.) Anyway, the post itself included no real content. It was just a medium through which to apply the popular tags to my blog, plus a title I thought would draw attention. (In retrospect, I see that “An Amazing Development You Haven’t Heard Of!” might as well as come from a spam email advertising penis enhancement. Good to know that I’ll always have a fall-back career as a spammer if this journalism thing doesn’t pan out.) I initially hesitated to put the post up, however, because I worried I’d get hate mail — or, more specifically, hate comments — from people angered at the thought that I’d trick them into visiting my site.

The experiment yielded altogether unexpected results. First off, all the comments I received were positive. People seemed intrigued by the experiment. One blogger, Mike from Wales, even wrote about it on his blog, On a Hill. Secondly, the people who arrived at Back of the Cereal Box via the experiment post actually spent time looking around, at least from what my FreeStats account tells me. And they did so at a rate of about thirty or so a day since the post went up. More often the not, the people who end up on my blog through random Google searches for things like Moesko Island or whatever quickly see that my blog doesn’t have the info they’re looking for and leave. Those getting here through Technorati searches for Tammy NYP and the like bothered to stay for at least a few minutes and read what I had to say. (Regrettably, what I had to say lately was limited to Birdo and the implicit gayness of “Frasier,” but hey — I can’t be on my A game all the time.)

I can’t explain why this happened, though I can guess. It’s possible that because people thought my little experiment was clever, they posited that I could be clever in other posts, too. (Boy were they wrong.) Alternately, the people who use Technorati are searching for specifically for blog posts and new items, and, thus, are probably more accepting of the ramblings of some random blogger than the average Google searcher, who might be looking for info from a more respectable, official website. (Though, I’d wager I’m more of an authority on Shirley the Loon than most people whose words end up online.)

One thing this exercise didn’t tech me was why people were blogging about Stacy Schiff on January 30 in such high volumes. She’s no longer on Technorati’s Top Twenty, so I guess we can credit this to either a one-day spike in blogger interest or just another of Technroati’s curious little quirks.

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