Doing a blog is sort of weird. You post a story, and it simply zooms off into the electronic netherworld. Unless somebody replies with a comment or an e-mail, you have absolutely no idea where it goes, who sees it, how many people it reaches, etc. I haven’t worried about this much, but it is strange.
The other day, just by chance, I ran across a web-site called Alexa.com that offers more blog-relevant information that one could imagine. Alexa tracks traffic on the Internet, and it gives you specific details about how many times people have done an Internet search that has connected with your website. That sounded interesting so I typed in my blog’s address. Sure enough, Alexa not only knew of us, but she knew more about us than I do. At first it was sort of discouraging. It turns out that Letters for George ranks number 17,472,138 in terms of its number of hits from Internet searchers. Not completely impressive (though one might have predicted it based on my paltry number of Facebook friends). I let this discovery sink in for a day or two, then did some more research. Actually things started looking up. According to Netcraft.com, there are currently over 182 million web-sites on the Internet. So, if Letters for George gets searched more often than 165 million sites, that means it’s in the top 10%. Then I checked with Answerbag.com, and I discovered that there are 95,700,000 porn sites on the Internet (no kidding). The implication, of course, is that Letters for George is more popular than at least 78 million porn sites. Amazing! I wish Alexa would break it down that way, but she doesn’t seem much interested in porn.
Alexa does have a lot of other info to offer. For example, I learned that the single query that has led Internet searchers most frequently to Letters for George is: “the meening of liferotten tomatoes.” Who would have guessed that? The three websites that have received the most traffic for this query are: (1) Rotten Tomatoes (34.75%); (2) Wikipedia (18.73%); and (3) Letters for George (15.06%). That’s definitely good company. On the other hand, it’s probably not that often that people search for “the meening of liferotten tomatoes.” The other most popular search queries that got directed to Letters for George were “rockman oil paintings on ebay”, “mainstreet mysteries winter wi,” “elementary days game shota,” and “Santa Monica gyms.” A little idiosyncratic, to be sure, but I would note that I’ve written about Rockman, e-bay, main street, winter, elementary school days, Santa Claus, and gyms from time to time.
So exactly what is the meening of all this? Unfortunately I don’t know. All in all, I find the Internet a vast mystery, and the more I fiddle around with it, the more mysterious it becomes. My aim for the coming year is to become the sixteen millionth most popular site for Internet searchers. That’s an extremely ambitious goal -- to advance 1.5 million places. It fills my mind with delirium and agitation.