Read about what you read about
Recently, I was analysing the behaviour of Grapevine’s internet readership and I found myself in a strange position. For the first time in my life, I empathised with the US government. Of course they want to track you. Of course they want to look for what you are looking for and read what you are reading. Because governments are big, bored, and serious. And you guys are just hilarious.
Take, for instance, the top search phrases that lead people to grapevine.is. The first ten or so are all variations on the words “grapevine” “Reykjavík” and “news,” with a couple of “bardarbunga”s thrown in for good measure. But as soon as “cukoo’s nest reykjavík grapewine” shows up on the list (with 64 searches, note: that is 64 separate times that those exact words were typed into Google and led one to grapevine.is.) the screws begin to loosen. My favourite top searches, from most to least clicks:
1. learn icelandic
Appearing seven spots up from the first instance of the correct spelling of “Reykjavík”
2. hafthor bjornsson
The first name to appear on the list. Technically it appears first twice, with “hafthor bjornsson’s diet” in the spot just above his.
3. cuckoo’s nest reykjavik grapewine
4. what’s on in reykjavík february 2014
Apparently people were the most bored in February, but not bored enough to leave their computers to look for a remedy.
5. bardarbunga eruption; iceland sex; icelandic men; mc donald’s reykjavik; icelanders consume marijuana
Occurring in successive order. It is possible that up to 55 readers follwed this same train of thought.
6. polish shop reykjavík; are icelanders racist; جوجل سكس; blacks in Iceland
Again, in successive order. I call this the “culture cluster.”
7. брайан пилкингтон
Brian Pilkington, in Russian.
and towards the bottom of the list…
8. smoking dung
9. elf sex
10. xxx videos
Yes, 27 people had so exhausted the pages of google’s results for “xxx videos” that they ended up here.
The top ten “most read articles” on grapevine.is are a bit more predictable. They read something like a flow chart for the next big Hollywood film. In fact, maybe we have something here…
1. Small Eruption Reported at Bárðarbunga – We will begin with a bubbling plotline. But keep it elusive.
2. Mysterious Noises Coming From Volcano – Build the anticipation. Icelandic people love to wait. Have you ever heard of Sigur Rós? Speaking of which, lets get them on the soundtrack.
3. Regarding Julian Blanc – INSERT: shameless masochism and immediate moment of comic relief.
4. Growing Likelihood of Eruption at Bárðarbunga – Cue Jónsi.
5. Music – Self-explanatory.
6. Press Secretary Encourages Grapevine to Reconsider Story on PM Holiday – A political scandal. To avoid only being shown in arty theatres with ripped velvet seats and stale popcorn.
7. Elliðaey Island: No Better Place to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse – Nearing the end of production and there is still a massive chunk of the budget unaccounted for. ‘Less is more’ doesn’t apply in Hollywood. Send in the zombies.
8. Woman Turns 90; Goes Horse Riding to Avoid Celebrations – Yeah, we’re also going to need some live animals. Get me a horse, and an old lady, send her into the countryside for four days. The international audience will love this, it’s so “Icelandic.”
9. Interior Ministry Blocks Media Access to Staff – Wrap things up with another scandal. Because WE CAN.
10. Area North of Bárðarbunga Volcano Evacuated – End just before where you began. I think George Lucas already used this technique, but it seemed to work for him.
It’s a work in progress, but I think it has potential. Of course it will have to be ‘shot in Iceland’ to make it marketable.
It is funny how our choices in news can so closely resemble the mainstream movie industry. Even when guied by our own free will, with the depths of the internet at our fingertips, what are the things we most want to read about?
and the Zombie Apocalypse.
In some ways you, dear readership, a reliable bunch. But you are also wily, in ways that only the internet could encourage. Keep it up. We like your taste, steady with a dash of danger. Like a 90 year old woman riding a horse.
In any case, we hope you found what you were looking for. And we will continue to try and reflect your interests into the New Year. Even you, Russians with a penchant for брайан пилкингтон. Even you, elf sex. Best wishes for 2015!