Monday, April 23, 2007

Non-trivial persuasion

We've all played Trivial Pursuit, but what is Trivial Persuade? I picture a game in which players earn wedges by persuading others to perform utterly pointless or mundane actions: for a green wedge, persuade someone to seal an envelope; for a pink wedge, persuade another player to say "the" three times fast. Who would want to play such a game?

Someone must want to because the phrase "trivial persuade" was used in a search string that led to this site. If you looked only at the search strings leading here, you might conclude that I write primarily about food, rodents and other pests, and people dressed inappropriately for the office. Recent searchers wanted to find out about "cooking tomato sauce good or bad" or the "temperment of groundhogs" or "braless office," three topics on which I am about as good an authority as Mr. Ed.

There are occasional questions about literature, mostly from lazy readers seeking an easy way out of an assignment; some are looking for an "in depth analysis of the yellow wallpaper" or insight on "innocence in A White Heron", while others seek enlightenment about "lie lay laid dead" or "sentence with suave." Now even more seekers possessed by an urgent need to use "suave" in a sentence will be led to this site, which uses "suave" in a sentence not just once but several times without any clear indication of what "suave" might mean.

The most frustrating thing about these bizarre search strings, though, is that I never get a chance to follow up and find out what motivates people to seek the peculiar things they seek. What is "aromatherapy chipmunks birdseed" and why would anyone be looking for it? Who needs a "strawberry powerpoint presentation" and what does he or she have in common with the person seeking a "handkerchief stuffed sleeve"? Will the person suffering from "cinnamon buns with caramelization" please send some my way instead of just making my mouth water?

Finally, how can I persuade readers that my blog is not quite as trivial as these search strings makes it appear? And if I succeed, do I get a wedge?


Anonymous said...

Personally, I think those people were Googlewhacking, a game in which the object is to construct a search query in Google such that there is one and only one result. I've tried it, but since I'm not very good at it I got bored quickly.
-Laura (posting anonymously as Blogger won't let me sign in.)

Joy said...

Ask Dr. Taylor about the service that you can subscribe to in order to see what people are doing with website hits once they visit them.

You should be proud that you have such a variety of information on your blog that people can find you looking for such random things.