Fri Jun 28, 2002

On being an obscure google search result

It’s five o’clock on a Friday, it’s the middle of the Summer, I’m wasting my time. I’m looking at my web-server’s log files. Any fantasies I have about this site being widely read are crushed by the data they contain. This page comes to you courtesy of fiachra, my office workstation. Fiachra also contains other bits of my web-presence, most importantly a little file tree where I put pdfs of published and draft papers, teaching materials and other odds and ends. As it turns out—- alas—- it’s the odds and ends that are the real stars of the website, rather than my brilliant writings.

For example, the most popular Google query that led people to my site this month was for someone named Pavan Ahluwalia. I do not know Pavan. But when I was in graduate school, I wrote a column for the student daily and so did he. Once, I mentioned him in one of my columns, a copy of which lives on in the archives. In fact, Princeton-related searches are absurdly common in the log. “Cottage Club Princeton Tradition” will lead you back here, for one. As will “Princeton Nude Olympics”, eventually.

The most popular search query leading to my website, though, is not Princeton-related. Needless to say, it has nothing to do with sociology, either. Instead, it’s the #2 result about an inappropriate response to a cry for help.