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Reflections of Generation X

Hey, I hope everyone had a wonderful Father’s Day!

I should probably get my ducks in a row by preparing timely holiday posts, but I’m too busy celebrating with my family and am apparently not great at planning ahead. We had a nice time swimming and eating a good meal with my folks, at any rate.

Watching my kids with their grandparents got me thinking about the different childhoods we various generations have had. My folks are Baby Boomers, the young adults currently dominating the scene are Millennials, of course, and my kids will be part of some generation that doesn’t even have a name yet. You know, the one soon to be characterized by all their robot friends or teleportation skills or whatever.

crawford_lang1And me? I’m late Generation X (the “whatever” should’ve clued you in). We used to be all the rage, back when we were waiting to see if Winona Ryder would pick Ethan Hawke or Ben Stiller before rocking out to Nirvana while wearing our long-sleeved plaid shirts and brown lipstick.

We gave you cynicism, MTV, Rap and Grunge Rock (it was a backlash against those flashy 80’s. Plus, we had AIDS & crack epidemics on our hands and all watched the much-hyped Challenger explode when we were little kids).

We questioned the American Dream and debated all existing philosophies without worrying much about PC language, beyond a few obvious terms (we just turned everything into sarcasm and irony if someone got annoyed). We figured we had the racism deal mostly licked by the time The Cosby Show came out (oh, how different that seems in retrospect) and sexism practically beat with Title IX and Puritanism was clearly on the wane since Bart Simpson started swearing in family cartoons (that’s right, folks. You so wouldn’t have Family Guy and Robot Chicken if it weren’t for us. Honestly, I can’t believe The Simpsons is still on TV).

See, Gen Xer’s are young enough to have been introduced to email, smart phones, and the internet relatively early, (early enough to master them without frequent bouts of cranky belligerence, at least) while still old enough to remember what growing up without them was like.

And lately, I’ve been thinking about how they made life different, for better or worse:

Video Games

I’m… ahem… old enough to barely remember when playing a video game meant loading a tape for 45 minutes then smacking pixelated squares around with a joystick. Or dumping quarters into an arcade while avoiding the much older, friendlier men.

I can actually remember trying to sort out Zork commands. Those games always had long, tedious maze sections.

And I also remember when hitting a snag in a game meant possibly never finishing the game. I got stuck in one that doesn’t exist anymore while trying to get my rich family to travel back in time to their medieval selves, hoping for the chance to type in the “sneer” command. I hit this puzzle that I couldn’t solve and still don’t know how that story ended.

You couldn’t look up walkthroughs. You would just sit there, stuck, unable to finish your game and running to the nearest comic book store to find whatever local nerd you figured had the best chance of having figured it out.

I played Sim City back when it was a bunch of red and yellow rectangles and Age of Empires, back when it was just minuscule cave men saying, “Rooooooh-gan!” before cutting down a tree. I remember when Castle Wolfenstein was a bunch of stick figures shouting angry German amidst the hiss of walkie-talkies (surprisingly terrifying at the time) and when Doom began setting the standards for awesome graphics and superficial, blow-everything-up game play.

And now… well… I still love video games and modern graphics make the ones I grew up playing look like something a drunk toddler worked out on an Etch-o-Sketch, but we did have elaborate stories and had to mentally fill out those stick figures with our wild imaginations. We also didn’t have those massive multiplayer online role-playing games that now suck up years of people’s lives with their thin storylines and continuously-regenerating VI opponents that make you button-mash like a laboratory chimp jonesing for its next cocaine hit until it starts peeing itself and finally forgets to mate or eat.

So… there’s that.

Plus, we’re now seeing a strange return to those earlier simplistic games with FarmVille and similar phone apps, now combined with the addictive qualities of MMORPG’s. Hey, it doesn’t really matter if your pumpkin crop fails, people. Get on with your life (and get off my lawn).

Smart phones

chandler
Yeah, they were pretty goofy.

For a while, when I was growing up, personal phones were around but not something most people had access to. They were really popular in Italy and we all found that really funny (Psh, those crazy Italians and their crazy cell phones and wild hand gestures and protection rackets).

They were also roughly shaped like a shoebox and cost a ton of money to use, so only businessmen were using them to make sure everyone knew that their time was really that important and those guys were probably also shelling out for those exorbitant plane phones while flying Business Class or getting their suits tailored or otherwise worshipping at the altar of Ayn Rand.

But normal people had landlines. If you wanted to showcase your whimsical, Bohemian self, you’d get something like a hamburger-shaped phone (Hell, I remember when cordless phones were a big deal because they’d you let you walk outside a two-foot radius).

People couldn’t contact you outside your house. Sure, we had answering machines so you’d find out if someone called, but you wouldn’t know about it before you came home (and you could be on vacation). You could feasibly put off calling someone back for several days, because you hadn’t had a chance to check your messages.

On the one hand, texting is really convenient. You can reach anyone, anywhere, at any time.

On the other, now anyone can reach you, anywhere, at any time. They now expect you to get back to them right away, or else they’ll be mad. There’s no excuse, because you’re wearing your phone at all times, or should be. You can never totally escape into the activities of the present moment, because in a way, you’re always leashed to a device that keeps you perpetually “on call.”

And you can’t heighten romantic tension anymore by making your significant other think you’re running around having an awesome time, innocently oblivious to all of their attempts to contact you. Now, you’re just ignoring them, which is rude. It used to be much easier to remain mysterious.

But I sure wish I had Google maps back in college because it would saved me from so many crying jags on L.A. freeways. Thomas Guides were absolute crap.

Downloadable media

It was once much harder to get your hands on entertainment. You had to buy compact discs for $16, so they’d better be worth it. You either had to catch shows when they were on or make sure you programmed your VCR correctly, and also that no one accidentally taped over your show, because once you missed it, you could be waiting years for it to come back on. If ever.

blockbuster
However, there used to be more comedy scenarios about people you wanted to impress catching you picking up embarrassing films.

If you wanted to see a movie, you’d drive to Blockbuster Video. You could rent movies for just a dollar, but they’d triple in price if you returned them thirty seconds after 8 PM the next day. For some reason, your rental bill always ended up being $8, which was roughy the same price as a couple of fast-food dinners, so renting several movies meant having to order fewer pizzas that month.

It’s a bizarre equation, but trust me… that’s how it was.

It’s nice to be able to instantly access whatever you’re interested in without having to rearrange your schedule. But on the other hand, we probably watched less TV and spent more time outside, doing stuff during which no one could contact us without getting into a car and finding us.

We also had fewer channels, which means we couldn’t as easily live in the polarized political echo-chambers people live in today, with internet sites, news channels, and Facebook groups completely devoted to upholding whatever one-sided world views we’re aligning with. We tended to argue more face-to-face.

The Internet

It’s pretty great to access whatever information we want, across international borders, within a minute or two. You can fall into rabbit-holes of infotainment that you once had to tackle walls of library microfiche to navigate.

We can also fact-check more easily now. If someone warns you about the guys at the Walmart parking lot knocking unsuspecting women out with chloroform disguised as perfume samples, it now takes 30 seconds to debunk the idea on Snopes.com, whereas it used to remain an unconfirmed rumor, forever.

So you’d think people would get less paranoid, right? Except now we have entire websites devoted to whatever whackadoodle conspiracies people take as Gospel Truth, so I’m not sure.

Today, anyone can also write anything on the internet and get lots of attention for it. I don’t think we had as much of a troll culture back in the 90’s. We spoke much more earnestly back then.

trollNow, it’s hard to tell if someone’s a jerk or just trying to get a rise out of people, which inherently casts doubt upon any unconventional opinion. If you start taking on someone’s nasty argument, you get worried about becoming the sap that’s playing into some obnoxious troll’s hands, so we now hear increasingly crazy, unchallenged opinions on a regular basis that go half-ignored by most because we’re unsure of how to best distinguish idiocy from narcissism.

Maybe that’s why people seem more outraged these days… they have to convince everyone that they really, really mean it.


So, any other Gen-Xer’s out there who want to weigh in on what I’ve been saying? How about some Boomers or Millennials?

Or even the Greatest Generation, if you guys are actually perusing blogs right now instead of discussing the mechanics of WWII planes. I’d love to hear your insights as well, since you guys definitely have the long view in this equation.

 

 

 

 

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The Wonderful World of Marketing

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A New Perspective

You might’ve noticed that Bubbles and Beebots looks different now.

I may keep on tweaking it until I’m happy. But see, B&B is now getting enough foot traffic to receive advertising invitations and I had to rework its layout into a more ads-friendly theme.

Which is kind of exciting, though I won’t be expecting more than pocket change for a bit. Maybe just enough to get my kids some ice cream at the zoo… don’t you want my adorable kids to be able to eat ice cream, folks?

There. That was my best attempt at salesmanship because I’m so NOT a natural saleswoman. I figured I’d try the guilt angle, since it comes so naturally to parents and as far as I can tell, advertisers usually work their magic using one of a few tools:

Guilt

vintagecaradAgain, a natural selling-point for parents, since we already feel so responsible…

Hey, buy these spoons that tell you when food is too hot, so your trusting baby won’t end up burning her poor little mouth!

Sure, this cereal costs three times more, but there’s a cartoon princess on the box and cartoon princesses make your kid HAPPY. What kind of a monster doesn’t want their kid to be happy?

Using dogs and cats works well too. Aren’t they your best friend?? Don’t they deserve the best!?

Fear

Mostly of being socially ostracized because not buying Product X will make you disgusting.

lux_landi.jpg
Preventing heartbreak with the right soap

I mean, what if you use a substandard deodorant and end up stinking up the subway? You’ll put your arm up to hold onto the rail, and… BAM! No more invites. You wouldn’t want to gross out your taxicab cab partner, would you?

Or toothpaste. What if that woman you’ve had a huge crush on for ages finally walks up to talk to you and you melt her eyebrows with your jalapeño egg salad breath? Don’t be so GROSS.

It also works with more literal fears about your physical safety. There are always tons of commercials for home alarm systems whenever  you’re watching a crime show.

Envy

I’ve been noticing a theme here, and it mostly involves our fears of being judged. We don’t want other people to think bad things about us.

And on the flip side, we DO want them to think good things. Like, it’s great to have a fashionable product because then everyone will know you’re on the level. Or if you’re a hipster, you want a product that ISN’T popular, so you can be part of the elite club that actually appreciates it. We don’t want the ads to look too rehearsed or glossy, in that case.

Let’s say you think that girl from the Sketchers ad is pretty hot and you’d like to look like her or date her (or both, depending on your persuasion). So, maybe if you wear those tennis shoes, some of her hotness will rub off on you and then you can rock her awesome figure without having to do any crunches or lay off the Cinnabons.

soda
I don’t think this is really about the soda.

And hey, Benicio Del Toro is pretty macho and successful and maybe you could also be a world traveler if you tossed back a few Heinekens. At the very least, you’d be cool.

beer
Umm… or the beer

Eh… my terrible natural salesmanship is becoming all too apparent. In fact, I should probably pull this post before any actual advertisers read it.

And go back to being a manic pixie who occasionally mentions poop tantrums. It’s what I do best. 🙂

Do Bubbles Really Cause Obesity?

Every once in a while, we long-suffering bloggers check our WordPress stats and are thrilled by a sudden explosion of new views or followers.

That’s probably the most awesome thing that can happen to bloggers when checking out our stats,  but a close second has got to be finding out the search terms people used to find our blogs.

Because those can be downright hilarious.

bubbles
Don’t do it, kid! Save yourself!

Like tonight, when someone inadvertently navigated to my site after asking the internet whether bubbles cause obesity.

I just… can’t make heads or tails of this idea.

I mean, I get the logistics of the search results (my blog has “bubbles” in the title and I guess I’ve talked about dieting and obesity a couple of times), but what’s really throwing me is the idea that someone, somewhere, is genuinely wondering whether bubbles may be responsible for their weight problem.

What kind of bubbles are they even envisioning? Spit bubbles? Soap bubbles? The kind of bubbles you played with as a kid?

Is there some kind of granola-hippie nut job  out there suggesting that chemicals in children’s bubble formulas are responsible for the obesity epidemic in America today?

Have you tried losing weight only to watch each diet fail, time and time again? Well, stop torturing yourself, my friend! There’s no need to feel guilty…  you’ve been a victim of the Great Bubble Conspiracy. Once released from the nefarious bubbesphere, you’ll see pounds melt off effortlessly, without changing your lifestyle or spending countless hours at the gym!

I seriously doubt bubbles have anything to do with gaining weight, unless the bubbles in question are the bubbles in bubble tea. Because those have a startling number of calories.

Sheesh, these weight-loss gimmicks are getting weird.

 

 

 

Where I Try To Figure Out Why People Hate Cats, Part 2

So after chronicling the failed first part of my quest to figure out why people hate cats, I found myself still pondering the question.

It isn’t the idea that some people prefer dogs that baffles me so much as the greater social acceptance of outspoken cat hatred. In other words, why is hating all cats a thing whereas most people would only talk about hating certain dogs in particular?

Different preferences make sense, in and of themselves. Some people like Hip Hop music, for example, while others prefer country and still others will only admit to liking bands obscure enough they’re sure, or at least hope, you’ve never heard of them.

This being the case, I’d hardly expect to find everyone on the same page concerning optimal house pets. But I do find the strange pride people take in professing their great hatred of cats peculiar, especially when derogatory dog comments would probably go over about as well socially as loudly insulting your mother’s homebaked apple pie while peeing on the national flag.

IMG_2992
Typically aloof behavior from my aloof cat
Determined to sort out this enigma, I tried to think up some negative associations related to cats. “Aloof” was the first word coming to mind.

 

I’ve always felt charges of universal cat aloofness were unfair. True, cats aren’t as naturally wired to be pack animals as dogs, and apparently aren’t as domesticated, but that only means cats won’t by default seek your approval. You have to build trust with them instead of automatically expecting it, which makes cats… a lot like most other non-human animals on the planet.

Hmm. It seems to me most zoo animals are rather aloof, yet we don’t invent a lot of memes complaining about them. What gives?

beta fish
STOP SHUTTING ME OUT, YOU FLOATING BLUE NARCISSIST
Maybe it’s the fact we take cats into our homes as beloved pets and therefore expect something more from them?

 

Nah… I’ve owned one too many stuck-up beta fish for this to be the answer. I swear, some of these fish wouldn’t bond with me for love nor money. I’d talk and talk for ages and it was still like all they cared about was scoring another hit of dehydrated shrimp.

Next, I tried scanning Yahoo and Quora answer forums talking about why people hate cats and was surprised to see, again and again, how many people think cats are “silently judging them.”

Okay, I’ll admit the idea of cats silently judging you is funny. Still, people are clearly projecting here, because by what set of cat standards are you afraid you’re falling short? Relative night blindness? Neck-down baldness?

rhino
Quit staring at me like that, you sonofabitch… it’s the BEST CAR I COULD AFFORD!
MOST animals can’t talk to us, so why single out cats by assuming they’re secretly thinking mean things? For all you know, that nearby squirrel thinks your outfit looks stupid.

 

The silent judgement angle being a dead-end, I went back to the drawing board and tried to come up with more negative cat associations. “Crazy cat lady” was the next one coming to mind.

Crazy cat ladies, as we all know, are sad, lonely old women who collect lots of cats. Probably as a feeble substitute for the human companionship they lack, which has driven them batty. They look something like this:

crazycatlady
Note the uneven pupils as well as the oddly Bart-like gray cat
Now, why is it “lady,” specifically? Why are there no crazy cat guys?

When thinking about famous fictional guys with beloved cat pets, I picture evil geniuses. Men like James Bond’s arch-nemesis Ernst Blofeld or Gargamel of the Smurfs. Men with cats seem less pathetic than their female equivalents. They aren’t good, but at least they’re maniacally brilliant. Evil, yes, but not lonely schizophrenic crones.

After pondering this connection deeper, I decided to take it outside America’s jurisdiction by invoking Wikipedia. Let’s look at the long game for the sake of more perspective.

I typed in “cultural depictions of cats” to get a better feel for how felines have been interpreted for centuries. And I got an eyeful…

Their negative associations mostly involved cunning, deviousness, and lust. Yes, lust… According to the Romans.

They were celebrated in other cultures though. The Ancient Egyptians considered cats sacred to the household, under the protection of the household goddess Bastet. They were also linked to Isis, the mother of all Egyptian goddesses.

The ancient Celts thought cats were fairies, or “sith,” which sounds suspiciously like the bad guys in Star Wars.

The Norse linked cats to the love goddess Freya, who ran around in a chariot pulled by two enormous gray cats. These cats fought with her in battle and farmers would leave bowls of milk out for them, hoping to earn protection for their crops.

freya
Boudica-like
(A chariot pulled by two enormous cats. How cool is that?)

 

And… then… during the Renaissance, cats were associated with witches. They were burnt en masse during the Black Death, though they ironically could’ve otherwise eaten many of the very rodents spreading it.

That’s a lot of goddesses, I have to say.

So… am I alone in thinking maybe a centuries-old association with women might explain our cultural rejection of cats?

It would make sense. The lone older woman surrounded by cats sounds as much like the perfect candidate for a Salem-style burning as the “crazy cat lady” nickname.

And I’m guessing cats used to hang out with women a lot. Back in the old days, when people pretty much stuck to gender traditional jobs, women would’ve mostly hung out at home cooking in warm kitchens, weaving by the fire, and being super pregnant half the time. An indoor cat, who could mop up errant rodents and nap by the fire, seems a more obvious companion than an energetic dog, desperate to get outside.

Hmm… is it possible that anti-cat prejudice is somehow linked to vestigial anti-female attitudes, or at least the rejection of traditional female roles?

I decided to rerun my Google experiment to find out:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 11.53.46 AM

BAM! The idea that women are like cats is the third most common Google idea. Course, we aren’t sure who exactly thinks this, but it’s nevertheless the third most common thing to think.

Just for the sake of consistency, let’s try the reverse:

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 12.40.48 AM

Damn. If Google said men were like dogs, that would’ve totally clinched it. I’ll admit I’m a little disappointed, as well as curious about this alleged men’s arena everyone’s talking about.

But I’m convinced I’ve found a most interesting female/feline connection as well as a Pagan one. Based on my informal research, I have a few possible theories about our culture’s longstanding rejection of cats:

  1. Fears about cats = fears about women and/or traditional femininity
  2. We think cats are evil because, like snakes, they used to be symbols of paganism (except snakes can actually kill you), or
  3. Cats are introverted homebodies and we reject them because we don’t trust introverts

And it doesn’t help that we all grew up watching cats portrayed like this:

lucifer
He’s actually named “Lucifer”
Lucifer, Tom of Tom & Jerry, Sylvester the Cat, the Siamese cat twins of Lady and the Tramp… most cats aren’t getting good press in the media, to be sure.

So, let me leave you with a final question. Some food for thought, if you will.

What’s up with Puss in Boots?

Seriously, I’m having a rough time thinking up ANY popular cat heroes, aside from Puss in Boots.

Puss_and_KittyWho is this Puss is Boots fellow and what does he represent? How did he manage to rise above common cat biases to become a beloved international hero?

I have no idea, but I’m sure I’ll be exploring it further in future cat-related posts. Because once you start unraveling the great anti-cat conspiracy threads, you’re in it for the long haul.

You can’t just put them down, I tell you. You’re in it way too deep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where I Try to Figure Out Why People Hate Cats, Part 1

I don’t know if you guys have heard about this app yet, but recently I signed up for Nextdoor.com. It’s a private social network for the people in your neighborhood where you can post breaking local news events, like upcoming yard sales and block parties.

Well, apart from some recent episodes of vandalism, it turns out the most interesting thing going on in our jet-setting neighborhood involves a woman who’s getting ready to move and wants to know if anyone owns the cat she’s been feeding for the past eight months. She’s considering bringing the sweet kitty with her, but doesn’t want to steal anyone’s pet.

This seemed reasonable enough to me, but apparently not all of our neighbors feel the same way. This poor woman keeps getting accused of trying to rob some family’s beloved kitty, a family that undoubtedly includes a bunch of kids who will miss said kitty terribly.

But that’s not all. Our neighbors have moved past insulting the woman to generalized cat character assassination. “Cats aren’t loyal at all,” for example, or “they don’t love you, they just want the best food.”

Hmm. You’d think anyone who hates cats this much would be patting the lady on the back for removing one from the neighborhood, but I guess she can’t win.

Once again, I’m surprised by how many people hate cats and how much they want to tell everyone about it… like it’s a badge of honor, a certificate of purity from any suspicious cat-appreciating tendencies.

I find it baffling, partly because I’m a cat person. I don’t dislike dogs and have owned a few dogs that I’ve loved as much as any cat, but if, say, there were a random cat and dog in the middle of the street, I’d probably approach the kitty first.

But it’s also baffling because even if I did hate dogs, I’d never run around talking about how much they suck. You get the sense that hating on dogs isn’t as socially acceptable as hating on cats and I’m wondering why that is.

So I decided to type some cat phrases into Google to see how Google finished them, like a casual sociological study on the most common associations people have with cats. On the one hand, it’s not very scientific (we don’t know who typed what), but on the other, we can  find out what people (English speakers, at least) are most likely to type into Google when they think no one else is watching, which could provide more nakedly honest answers than asking them directly.

I started with “Cats are.” This is what I got:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 11.56.40 AM

Weird. I had no idea how to interpret “cats are liquid,” but a quick search revealed tons of photos of cats filling the shapes of their containers. Like this:catliquid.jpg

So that explains that.

Still, “cats are jerks” was the number one hit. I’m guessing the cats being better than dogs idea came from cat people, which isn’t particularly helpful in this case.

I tried the reverse:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 11.57.12 AM

Well, dogs being better than cats and being the best came up first. Nothing about them being jerks or aliens or anything negative, and there’s even bizarre positive manga slang about dogs being “moe.”

This seems to confirm the idea that dogs have a better reputation, but doesn’t explain why. I decided to try something different:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 11.58.06 AM

So according to the internet, cats are cute but weird. How about the reverse?

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It’s impossible to tell whether the searchers actually think dogs are better than cats or if they want to find out why other people do. After all, if you think dogs are better, you presumably have your reasons. Still, there’s nothing negative about dogs in the first several hits, unlike the cat search.

I decided to try “I hate cats.” This was the first image that came up:

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Tosh proudly showcases his mug alongside cat insults

On the other hand, when you put in “I hate dogs,” you get:

i-hate-dogs.png
I, for one, suspect Photoshopping 

 

That’s right, you get Cat Hitler. CAT HITLER, everyone.

According to the Google public, any cat who hates dogs is apparently a Nazi, despite the glaring logical flaws involved in likening rational fears toward larger animals that could kill you to the megalomaniacal goals of a genocidal sociopath. Seems fair, right?

So far, my google efforts were confirming that people do, indeed, think more highly of dogs but couldn’t explain why… apart from the idea that cats are weird aliens who would make believable Nazi dictators. I decided to get more specific with “I hate cats because…”

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 2.14.24 PM

And the top reason was because they kill birds.

Does this seems right to you? While it’s true that cats kill birds, I didn’t realize we had such an enormous community of bird lovers within the population.

I don’t know about you, but the bird thing feels more like a rationalization of pre-existing biases than the root cause of all the cat hatred. Fear of cats goes way back in our culture… I find it hard to believe all the medieval and Salem witch hunts associated cats with Satanism and Black Magic due to their bird-eating tendencies.

While it’s true that cats wreak holy terror on small mammals, this can also be a good tendency. They eat rodents, for example, which have threatened humans with stored grain demolition and bubonic plagues for centuries.

Plus, we don’t seem to hate lions, and those are just cats taken to the next level.

I’m just not buying the bird explanation, unless you happen to be a bird aficionado. I mean, dogs kill people sometimes, and surely that should matter to the average person more than the fate of wild birds. You never read news articles about cat owners being liable for their pets attacking small children.

My curiosity frustrated, I decided to call it a day.

But this isn’t over. I’m gonna figure out a more satisfying explanation of our culture’s irrational hatred of cats, yet. Even of it takes me more than an afternoon.

 

 

 

My Blog Demographics Say I Should Be Writing Men’s Fashion Tips

As I’ve previously mentioned, dedicated bloggers can find detailed information about who’s checking out their blogs. They can find out how popular they are with different age groups, for example, or in different cities, and what kinds of topics interest their readers.

There are so many blogs out there that figuring out your niche is critical for growing an audience, or so I’ve read. Looking at your audience demographics is supposed to help.

blogging-is-like-theatre-shakespeare-234x300Weird Search Terms

WordPress tells you what search terms people used to navigate to your site and my all-time favorite has to be “what is a dick beebot?”

Clearly, the term “beebot” led to my site, but I really wish I knew who that person was and what they were trying to find. I doubt it was a mommy blog about hilarious moments in parenting.

But I had another interesting one a few days ago: “wearing red, tips for guys.”

This google search led him (I’m assuming it’s a him) to my article about wearing red, where he was undoubtedly frustrated. My advice not to go overboard with the red by simultaneously wearing red lipstick, heels and a dress was less than helpful, I’m sure.

I never even suspected guys worried about wearing red effectively. Who knew?

Unexpected Demographics

As my blog wears on and I accumulate more experience, I’m beginning to see consistent patterns within my audience demographics.

Age

bloggirlSome of them seem logical enough. For instance, my blog is most popular among 25 to 35 year olds. That makes sense, because I write about having two kids under five and I’m guessing most parents with children under five are in the 25 to 35 year old age group.

Next highest is 18 to 25, which is probably the next most common age for parents of young kids, in addition to blog readership skewing young because blogging is more hip and tech-savvy than dusty library books (which I also love, by the way).

This is probably why people aged 50+ are my least common readers.

Gender

Now here’s where I’ve been quite surprised. Considering I’m a woman who writes a mommy blog about her two daughters and occasionally throws in a yoga or fashion article, I expected my audience to skew largely female.

Boy, was I wrong.

My audience is generally around 70 percent male and 30 percent female, or somewhere close to it.

So, while I have a sizable chunk of female readers (mostly women who have a fabulous sense of humor as well as awesome blogs), I’m clearly attracting more men than I expected and I’m scratching my head about why that is.

Many of them are fathers, which I think is fantastic. They like reading about parenting and must really love their kids.

Maybe it’s because I’m more likely to tell poop stories than give crafting advice. Or maybe it’s despite the poop stories, who can tell? I guess I’m suggesting my blog is more about funny stories than beautiful projects, which maybe resonates with dads.

Also, I like video games. Maybe gamer dads are just accidentally landing here then kicking their shoes off for a spell.

Popular Posts

freelanceblogger-meme

Another way for bloggers to better define their audience is by looking at what articles really took off.

Mine seem like a crapshoot sometimes. I’ll write something I thought was hysterical then hear crickets for the next week, whereas some other random post gets thousands and thousands of views.

I’ve heard other bloggers say the same–sometimes your post hits at just the right time. I’m sure there’s a science to it that I have yet to figure out.

But when I look at a couple of my really popular posts, like this one and this one, I notice they say something about gender differences I’ve noticed in parents and children. Maybe it has something to do with my tendency to openly analyze what I’m seeing without being either a full-blown traditionalist or refusing to believe any different tendencies exist.

Or maybe people just thought they were funny. I don’t know.

The Takeaway

So having looked over my current audience, I have to wonder if I should be throwing out a few more articles with a male audience in mind. Like, tips on wearing red, for example.

I couldn’t begin to analyze male clothing to the degree that male experts do (it’s like asking a guy to distinguish between 50 different shades of red lipstick), but maybe I could give a female perspective. Like, “Guy Style that Women find Hot” or “Ten Things In Your Closet Your Wife Secretly Wants to Burn.”

Food for thought.

I wonder if other bloggers have found demographics useful and have tailored their posts with their audience in mind. There’s a huge science to this whole blogging gig that I’m just beginning to unravel.

 

 

 

 

Bizarre Search Terms

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Another kind of dick beebot

When you have a WordPress account, your Stats page provides info about your blog readership. Stuff like how many hits you’ve gotten today, what countries they’re coming from, and any search terms that were used that lead to your site.

Well apparently, today someone navigated to my site after entering “what is a d1ck beebot” into Google.

I’m baffled, incredibly curious about what they were trying to find,

And fairly certain they didn’t find it on my blog.

Sorry, whoever you are. May your future d1ck beebot searches prove more fruitful.