The Internet has changed the world. There's no doubt about that. As a journalist, I remember the days when researching a story sent you to the library, where you spent hours poring over microfiche and to government offices to read through dusty old records. Reporters these days have it easy, thanks to the World Wide Web.
But the Internet has done things that aren't so helpful, such as making it easier for people to steal books, music, movies and photographs. It's also made it possible to get a glimpse into people's minds in a way that we couldn't before.
If you arrive at this blog because of a Google or Yahoo search, my blog software records your IP address, what search engine you used, the country in which your IP is located, what referrer brought you here, what you read while you were on my blog and so on. It also notes which search terms you entered if you arrived here because of an Internet search.
I suppose these data are intended to provide a wealth of marketing information. I don't have time to use it in that fashion. I do check once in a while just to see what topics seem to interest readers most, and I always look to see what this week's search terms have been.
And that's the really weird and entertaining part of it.
By far, most people arrive here because they have it bookmarked or because they did a Google search. And most Google searches are simply for "Pamela Clare" or "Pamela Clare" plus the title of a novel. But some are rather interesting, not only for what they say but also for what they reveal about human nature.
So I'm going to share some with you.
Here are some of the Internet search terms for the past couple of days. To the left is the date, to the right is the search term. Check them out. I've bolded some for discussion below.
09/19/09 18:53:48 pamela clare author (Yahoo)
09/19/09 15:20:26 strip search prison bend over (Google)
09/19/09 15:17:57 steal books from borders easy (Google)
09/19/09 15:10:41 "pam clare" (Google)
09/18/09 16:57:41 the course fabric her arousel (Yahoo)
09/18/09 07:04:48 casting couch sex stories (Google)
09/18/09 07:03:19 pamela clare (Google)
09/17/09 23:15:44 untamed spoilers (Google)
09/17/09 23:15:33 untamed spoilers (Google)
09/17/09 23:14:44 prison wank (Google)
09/17/09 22:15:38 pamela clare (Google)
09/17/09 18:01:56 pamela clare (Google)
09/17/09 14:33:59 project: naked edge (Google)
09/17/09 12:35:39 free download pamela clare (Google)
09/17/09 11:32:15 pamela clare (Google)
09/17/09 09:05:42 pinch nipple pregnant sex (Google)
09/17/09 07:59:00 casting couch uptated weekly (Google)
09/17/09 00:10:59 astatalk (Google)
09/16/09 23:39:27 pamela clare (Yahoo)
As you see, most people who end up here simply search for my name. But ever since I posted the Goldilocks Goes to Jail series just before Unlawful Contact came out, I've been getting hits from someone every week who enjoys reading about the strip search. Every week!
Well, I'm glad I can fuel their fetish.
There are almost always sexual terms that land people here — not surprising given that I sometimes post spicy excerpts.
But I also have drawn lots of hits from people who want to steal. My post "If you steal books you suck" continues to get lots of hits. As some of you have discovered, I've cut off comments to that post because it turned in to a free for all with lots of abusive language and nastiness that I don't feel has a place here on my blog. As recently as today, people have posted insults, trying to slam me because I think book piracy is wrong. Well, that's too bad for those people. Obviously, they have issues. (And if they show up here, their posts will be summarily deleted.)
Interestingly, the post has also resulted in lots of people ending up here accidentally when what they were looking for was a way to download one of my stories illegally. I'm sure they eventually find a place that enables them to do just that, but it also means they spend a few seconds at least looking at the headline, "If you steal books you suck." So at least they get to know what I think about what they're doing.
I find that funny.
But, sadly, it's clear from the search terms I see every week that people are looking for ways to steal in other ways. Yes, people actually try to Google for tips on how to steal books from book stores.
I recommend that anyone who is inclined to try stealing from a book store to read about my stay in jail first, since that's where they'll eventually end up.
Someone out there is probably doing a PhD dissertation on search terms and what they reveal about human nature. But one thing they show is people's true impulses if they're given a sense of anonymity.
It just goes to prove that people's moral character can't be measured by what they do or say in the company of others, but rather by what they do when they think no one is watching.
But, of course, on the Internet, someone is always watching.