WordPress lets you check your visitor stats, which I didn’t know until recently. It’s a good thing I didn’t know about it until recently, because it’s exactly the kind of online information I could get addicted to. Sure enough, as soon as I heard, I started checking it every few days, then every day, and for a while there I was checking it whenever I sat down to the computer. My interest flagged, though, when it became clear that there was very little variation; I haven’t done anything to attract a lot of attention, so every day, for the most part, I got the same thirty- to forty-person combination of dedicated readers and misguided Google searchers.
Then, on Monday, I noticed something odd: all my stats were as usual, except that some 28 people reached my blog with the following search term: alanis my humps. Now, I do have an entry that matches that search – the one about “My Humps,” which also mentions Alanis Morissette – but it didn’t make sense that anyone would be making a web search like that, let alone 28 people. “Some sort of bot thing,” I mused.
Then, that evening, Lore posted an entry about his favorite “sensitive, acoustic covers of non-sensitive, non-acoustic songs,” such as Tori Amos covering “Smells Like Teen Spirit”… or Alanis, essentially as a joke, covering “My Humps.” “Aha,” I thought, “that’s why people were making that odd web search – because they wanted to find this video! Well, anyway, I’m sleepy. Think I’ll go to bed now.”
Then, the next day, I checked my blog stats and learned that my blog had blown up. What follows is a compilation of some of my blog stats over the last few days, but it’s more than that. It’s also a precise, even elegant, numerical depiction of the precipitous rise and breathtaking fall of an internet fad over three days, a “curve” that doesn’t resemble a bell so much as the Murderhorn. (Note: all statistics for 4/5/07 are as of 7:00 p.m. GMT.)
Visitors to the blog using web searches for “alanis my humps” or words to that effect:
Visitors to Tomemos, by day (previous high, 69):
Visitors to the post in question, by day (previous high: 7):
Total views of the My Humps post since 8/31/07: 489
Views of the My Humps post from 4/2/07 to 4/4/07: 346 (70.8% of the total)
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t revel in my brief rush of visitors, even though almost all of them probably tossed the blog aside impatiently when they realized it wasn’t what they wanted; for a while there it was kind of incredulously thrilling just to click “blog stats” and watch those numbers rise. However, there are two parts of this that are a little sad – maybe even a little ironic, though I’ve been paranoid about misusing the word “ironic” ever since Morissette’s song on that subject (isn’t that ironic? … isn’t it?). The first is that I misspelled the title of that entry. It comes from a George Saunders piece in the New Yorker where he makes fun of, among other things, the lyrics to “My Humps.” However, he writes “Hump my dump, you lumpy slumpy dump” whereas I wrote, God knows why, “slumby.” I meant to change it, but obviously that’s a lie. So my pride at this undeserved popularity was mingled with embarrassment that it was centered on an entry where I had used an incorrect piece of gibberish, rather than the right one.
The second is that, to be honest, I don’t really like the video whose coattails I rode for a couple days. I initially assumed it was posted by an Alanis imitator, because the voice really doesn’t sound very good (let’s take the “and you thought it was an imitator?” jokes as read), and it’s too slow and weird to be very funny. You get the joke after about 20 seconds, and honestly, “lovely lady lumps” sounds even more nauseating when sung slowly and breathily. Nonetheless, without Alanis (and, I suppose, Fergie et al.) I would not have breathed the rarefied air of double-digit visitors. So, as a way of saying thank you, here it is: my first, and possibly last, embedded YouTube video.