Tuesday, January 1, 2013

the year in search terms

I love New Year's.  It just might be my favorite holiday.  I think the thing I love most about it is that it's NOT Christmas.  Most people celebrate the winter holidays for an entire month.  By the time we get to the end of that, pine needles have turned brittle and have fallen in rustling showers from their place on the stem, decorations, on the verge of gathering dust, suddenly feel like clutter, bakery has grown tiresome and stale in its containers, and I'm ready, as I am every year, to check myself into cookie rehab.

New Years also offers us a momentary respite from time, where we can stand on the pinnacle  between two years and take in a panoramic view, looking backward (to celebrate a good year or terminate a bad one) and forward, to the promise of what's to come. 

In the spirit of looking back, I want to offer some thoughts and lessons learned from the search terms that brought readers to my blog, for good, bad, or otherwise, during 2012. 

First, I learned not to use high profile phrases or images if they don't directly relate to my topic. My very early post wicked witch of the west? has drawn more hits than any other post I've written, but I'm sure it's the least read. The people searching for "Almira Gulch on a bike," who land on my site almost everyday, might find the image they're looking for, but they're hardly an audience predisposed to read an article about bicycling to the grocery store. Not my best marketing effort!

I also learned to never include pictures of Olivia in posts that contain the word "tween."  Or perhaps, just don't ever use the word "tween."  Can you guess why not?  Creepers using horrifying search phrases like "cute tweeners in sexy underware" (sic) have landed more than once on some of my posts about the kids.  I didn't have pictures of Olivia on those posts, thank goodness, but that was only by luck.  It seems like a person's computer should self-destruct with the entry of word combinations like that, but since it doesn't, I simply strive to be more careful. 

Sometimes it's not such a bad thing that creepers find me.  I can't say I'm sorry that people who search with phrases like “think that the u.s. gymnastics team is hot,” and “a very sexy jordyn weiber," end up on my post glamolympics.  While I doubt too many of these people actually read the whole post, I'm hopeful that my rant about the sexual exploitation of minors shames at least a few of them.

On a different note, one person came to my post take that Mr. media after searching with the phrase, "sad that I'm fat." Seeing these words made me sad too.  I imagined this unhappy person sitting all alone at his or her computer, feeling too large and looking for what? thinness? affirmation? hope?  I was glad I could offer him/her a few words about my own struggle to find self-love in a world that judges far too harshly.  Maybe it helped.

Speaking of my own body image, one day the words "fat roll hanging over pants" appeared in my stats.  Since the phrase essentially quotes my post on the subject, I looked at it in fascination: had someone googled my fat roll?  Really, I don't know what to say about that. 

The same goes for the fact that someone came to my post over 40 and gone polka dotty by searching "women 40+ no bra pictures."  I can't make anything of that without knowing the motivation for the search: to ridicule? admire?  I just hope this person wasn't in league with the person who searched for "disgusting fat huntress pics."   I can handle being a  bra-less fat huntress just fine, but no need to bring the word disgusting into it, right?
From all that, you'd think I wrote a blog full of lurid posts about sex and breasts and fat.  You'd never know I spend most of my time waxing on about far more mundane topics like food, the environment and politics.  I could tell you about how people find me using less remarkable search terms like "no poo" and "teen driving," but their being less remarkable and all, why mention them? 

What really makes me happy is when people find me by searching terms I made up, like femily and lessatarian.  It doesn't sound anywhere near as sexy as bra-less fat huntress, but I get a real kick out of the idea that I've created new vocabulary.  Honestly, I had no idea this blogging thing would be so fun! 

So creepers be hanged, you can be sure to find me here, ranting away in the new year. 

Which brings me to another part of News Years I like: the looking forward.  We generally do this through the tradition of New Year's resolutions.  I'm not big on resolutions that reaffirm tired old promises about health, weight and fitness, however.  We should strive for health and fitness every day, right?  Instead, I try to set goals intended to enrich my own life or those around me.  One year I resolved to write a song; in another I committed to learn to make bread, and in yet another I committed to starting a blog!

This year, I want to buy a houseplant and see if I can keep it alive. 

It's true.  I'm a plant killer.  Does that shock you? The good news is that I'd like to reform myself.  Can I make 2013 the year of the houseplant?  Or will I report back this time next year that words like "extreme dehydration" and "aggravated planticide" have generated a multitude of hits on my posts.  I suppose only time will tell.   For now, I'm enjoying my little forward looking fantasy that I could one day be the kind of person who has a house full of greenery, carefully nurtured and tended by me. 

I hope, now that I've dangled that high-interest hook of houseplant-wifery in front of your noses, you will stick around with me in the coming year.  And that makes this a good time to thank all my friends, blogging and otherwise, who have come back regularly, encouraging me in this endeavor by reading, commenting and sharing on other social media. As a thank you, I'll leave you with the
last thing I really love about New Year's: The song Auld Lang Syne.   

Emily Smith Band
Scottish Music Festival Tour 2008
Found this version on Twitter today

Happy 2013! 


  1. Happy New Year from a fellow killer of green things. In my case, I'm *fairly* sure that remembering to water them would help . . . but I have yet to conduct that particular experiment. Anyway, loved this post. I haven't had anything too weird pop up in my links-from-search, but now looking forward to it. :)

    1. as much as I want your plants to survive, i'm glad i'm not alone in my ineptitude. i too forget to water. it is such a disappointment!

      thanks for coming by, & happy new year to you too!

    2. gfgfggffffffh wsqz4azc5z5czc55c h353535h3h
      (love, amma)

      good luck! i used to kill plants, too. now my house is full of them. i just started thinking of them as being alive (duh, but it worked). i watered them every trash day as a way to remember. (no emotional link between the trash and the watering...just something i did regularly. i am horrible at schedules.)

      hope you find something that works for you!

      funny to see the search terms people used! i think of the word lessatarian all the time now :)

    3. thanks amma for that insightful comment! :)

      i read somewhere that plants feel pain. i was horrified!

  2. Zomg!! That is hilarious! I've looked at search terms, but I've never really *looked* at search terms.

    Mostly, I get people looking for herb info and spells.

    1. I might add, just for the sake of clarification, that it is hilarious...until you start to think about it...and then it is also creepy.

    2. yes - funny, then not funny at all. i am fascinated to see what people are looking for, versus what they get.

  3. Happy New Year, Deb! This was really interesting; I didn't even realize you could see the search terms like that. You've got such a great attitude about it too. I hope the creepers DID learn a thing or two from your posts! LOL. ...Just catching up on my blog reading, btw, but I do so look forward to another year of laughs and great ideas from small house, big picture. :)

    1. Hey Jennifer - happy new year to you too! you can see search terms under "traffic sources" if you scroll down. i've had another wave of creepers since i posted recently about rape. ugh. still, lots of others are funny/entertaining. I too look forward to another year of blogging and more thoughtful insight from 1voice4peace! :)