I opened up WordPress to write something. As often it goes, I got curious about something, fell into rabbit hole, and find myself writing a different post.

This is my oft repeated experience on the internet.

I’m not stats obsessed, but I did glance at the JetPack plugin’s dashboard widget. It was not the numbers that got my attention (not that they are huge), but the report on “Top Searches”, ostensibly (I feel so writerly using words like ostensibly) the search words people used before clicking a result that brought them here.

It just gets me wondering what the heck someone was doing to look up by search something like “how do you feel when you had to just take a walk and you had to have a passbook?” and what they did next? I’m not claiming anything about what happened, but this tidbit tells me someone found the link in search results.

So I plug the same search in…

Does it mean something that my blog post is the first result for a search on ‘how do you feel when you had to just take a walk and you had to have a passbook?’

And did my memory walk from my childhood bank account passbook have any relevance? I will never know.

It’s a vague bowl of mystery, all I have are some faint footprints.

Stats tell me people searched on some odd things, and at least a tiny number of them clicked through to this site. Tiny.

I’d like to think someone got some value of my writing about finding places I know in Arizona from ASU’s CC licensed historic photos, but all I know is someone got there from a search on “early photos of phoenix az”.

And generate these footprints every day- I search often, and follow links that end up being more often “not what I was looking for” but also are ones that surprise me with gems, and usually more rabbit holes.

We don’t know really see or know the majority of visitors to our blogs. Maybe 90% of them are bots. I’d prefer not. They don’t leave messages, or traces, except sometimes these faint tracks. And we don’t know why or what they were looking for, of they found it here or elsewhere.

Who was looking for “analogy for being too obvious”? I don’t know. Did this help? Am I tilting the data by doing these searches myself? It’s okay not knowing, in some ways I prefer imagining these single site visits as small stories. But for all the mess of interactions online, and miscommunication to abuse, my hunch is a lot of our interactions are more like this silent passing.


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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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