Reaching out

October 10, 2008

Each morning I obsessively pore over information about visits to Cracked Window. Not that the number is large, though this offbeat post about a bear campaigning for Barack Obama attracted more than ten thousand because The Atlantic magazine’s Andrew Sullivan linked to it.

I’m curious about what gets read how often — which posts resonate and which don’t. What’s also intriguing are keyword searches that lead to my posts and the countries that blog visitors live in.

Europeans apparently are obsessed with “dangling shoes” on overhead wires, judging by how often the words have found this post. It’s the most popular among what I tongue-in-cheek call my international audience. Not surprisingly, “Tom Jones” is a favorite. So is “garden porn,” though those searching with that combination are destined for disappointment unless they’re gardeners.

Looking over the statistics this morning, I found a poignant reminder of the long and enduring reach of the web. Someone in India — a visitor’s national flag is displayed in the data — entered the search phrase “last kiss on my lips.” I’m trying to envision this person and how they reacted to finding the most powerful image to emerge from the Iraq war, one that captures the sweeping tragedy in a single moment of extraordinary grief.

Maybe the person, expecting something romantic, was shocked and angered. I hope so.