22 May 2007

What were you looking for?

Siberian Light, one of the top Russia blogs out there (for good reason), recently posted a link to a new set of rankings of the English-language Russia blogosphere which has promted a debate over whether it's appropriate to make a blog's site traffic data publicly available. (In case you're wondering, yours truly ranks 31st. I like to think that's respectable, but there are lots of things I like to think that aren't entirely true).

I choose not to make my site data public because I think it infringes on the privacy of my readers. But what I do like to do is look at my stats privately which is quite amusing. One of my favorite past-times is looking at the Google searches that brought people to my blog.

It helps that my blog shares a title with a work of far greater literary genius, Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon. In fact, putting in that reference right there probably just bought me another 10 hits a day. And so, high school and college students trying to find "symbolic meaning of darkness at noon" often have the misfortune of stumbling onto my blog where they're more likely to find the symbolism of a well-cured pickle.

The other one that has come up recently with surprising frequency is a search for "Lenins n Things." I can only imagine they're really looking for the store, "Linens n Things," and that it's a typo or they can't spell. But why would you click on a link that's clearly not advertising sheets, towels, or kitchenware if that's what you're looking for? Maybe they really are looking for Lenins n things. Goodness knows I've got a lot of Lenins. And things.

Finally, my favorite which just popped up tonight (and prompted this post) was a search for "picture of the fall of the Soviet Union." I had to chuckle at this, as it implies that there was a precise moment when the Soviet Union "fell," much like the Berlin Wall fell, and that maybe there was a lucky photographer who captured that split-second moment with his camera. I suspect the searcher might be a 10th grader writing a history report who needs to do a bit more reading to realize that the fall of the Soviet Union is better measured in weeks, months, even years.

Nonetheless, it brings up an intriguing question for you Russianists reading this: if you could pick a single photo (or maybe a couple) that somehow capture "the fall of the Soviet Union," which would it be? Yeltsin on the tank? Yeltsin confronting Gorby at the podium? The final lowering of the hammer & sickle over the Kremlin?

If anyone has any nominations, send them to me (an actual photo is best, but if all you've got is a description of a photo you once saw, that's OK) and I'll put them all up.

Email: rubashov17 [at] gmail [dot] com

5 comments:

Lyndon said...

Without wanting to spend too much time perusing Google Images, I think I'd opt for a montage including things like Chernobyl, Afghanistan c. 1988, and people waiting on line for bread with ration tickets. The collapse may not have been a foregone conclusion by 1991 (maybe it could have been averted, but i doubt it), but the process was in motion. And while elites certainly drove the process to some extent and often profited a great deal in the end, much of the process was driven from the bottom up.

Rubashov said...

To that list I would add the human chain spanning Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on August 23, 1989 on the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. If you believe (as Mark Beissinger convincingly argues) that it was nationalist mobilization that eventually brought down the Soviet Union, the Baltics as the "first risers" can't be overlooked. I'm sure there's a picture of the chain somewhere on the internet...

Andy said...

Thanks for the kind words!

With regard to statistics, I think I'm going to make the Sitemeter stats for SL private only again - if only so that, like you, I can wonder in amazement at the kinds of things that bring visitors.

Today, for example, someone on a Finnish forum linked to an old (2005) post of mine about killer siberian squirrels. No idea what he said about the post, but it must have been good, because it's brought in a good couple of hundred visitors...

Anyway - pictures. I'm rather partial to this one of Boris Yeltsin.

Krusenstern said...

The original ranking you will find here!.

And don't forget: It's not only a ranking, it's a chance to attach a new network an find new readers!

Lyndon said...

R, you're right of course to bring up nationalism. I was thinking about something like demonstrations in Chisinau on language day, but the human chain is exactly right. And the reason Chernobyl was important beyond just being an example of Soviet environmental and media mismanagement is because it sparked environmentalist movements, which meshed with nationalists in some of the republics.

Good luck in Lipetsk and Tambov. I think I know the scientific process you mentioned in the post about your travels. Just admit it - it all started with a liter of moonshine and a pirated CD containing the song "Mal'chik Khochet v Tambov." You'll want to look that song up if my theory is incorrect and you haven't heard it before...