Why I’ve Decided To Kill Google



Dandelions on the side of the highway on an overcast day; May 08, 2008
— Photo by Me.

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So the question is, why do we allow people searching for “five ways to kill a man edwin brock anal” to read our intimate thoughts? I’ve allowed people using search engines to find my blog for over a year and it has begun to feel as though I am selling my pain for blog stats.

This isn’t a new revelation. It’s something I’ve been thinking about off and on since I started Salted. But the stats I’m getting from these Google People are mostly based on people not finding what they were looking for. These people find my blog by accident, read the first paragraph of a post about my life, probably steal my photo then piss off somewhere else to find their “miss fran romper room” fetish. At some point, on my part, there’s an erosion of respect… respect for myself, respect for my blog and respect for the people I’m writing about.

I think at various points over the past eighteen months I convinced myself there was a possibility someone searching for answers might find some on my blog. But for every person finding Salted randomly and leaving a message saying something I’ve written has helped them, there have been thousands of people searching for inanities and insane things and finding posts I’ve written about my brothers, my sisters and my mother.

When there’s just the slightest bit of reward it’s amazing how quickly we can forget ourselves. When I started Salted in November of 2006, it was as a recovery tool. But I didn’t start using it as a tool until much later.

Over the first four months I only wrote thirteen posts, and they were about my trying to define the problem, the disease. Then I took March and April off. The essays I was writing during that period were not immediately personal, so having strangers access them wasn’t such a big deal.

But recently WordPress introduced a new feature called “Possibly Related Posts” where random links to WordPress blogs show up on our posts based on similarities in Tags and Categories. And a link to a post I wrote about my little brother’s experiences on September 11, 2001, showed up on a gardening blog… and it freaked me out.

I wrote two news pieces about the feature, I even wrote the owner of WordPress. And as I was doing so I was looking at my blog stats thinking… how can I get so pissed off at WordPress while justifying having people read the same post after they’ve searched for “your tube my little brother is gay”?

It actually comes down to choice… WordPress surprised everyone with their new feature, but I chose to allow people searching for porn to access my life. And, really, I did it for no other reason than the blog stats.

So that’s why I’ve decided to utilize the privacy feature WordPress provides and make Salted invisible to search engines. It generally takes a few days to take effect, so I expect my blog stats to be cut by 60% by the weekend. Oh well. Salted has never been a big-stat kind of blog anyway…

I’m definitely not doing this to prevent people from reading Salted, in fact feel free to pass along the URL or write it on the bathroom wall if you think it might help someone, I just want to get back some control over my blog.

…there’s just a high level of ludicrousness in having people who can’t find pornography on the Internet without resorting to typing “fucking my aunt” into a search engine reading about my recovery.

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About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression in 1989, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. I have an 8-year old son, and a 4-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in crazy people with no pants, Health, Technology, WordPress. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Why I’ve Decided To Kill Google

  1. XUP says:

    The vastness and accessiblity of the internet is what makes it both an amazing tool/resource and a dangerous /invasive one. I hope you’ve found a happy medium

  2. thordora says:

    I’ve mostly been lucky, and had individuals looking for comfort and support hitting me off search engines…deliberately using the search terms as post titles has helped.

    There is a small number of…unpleasantness, but overall, I feel like it’s doing more good than harm. But I totally get where you’re coming from.

  3. markps2 says:

    Stating the obvious, the sky is usually blue, water is wet.
    The point of the/a blog may be to have a group of friends to talk to, get responses from. You have enough internet friends to cancel the search engine thing.
    Someone looking for a group will find you.

  4. nursemyra says:

    completely understandable

  5. Gabriel... says:

    Well… it’s been three days and I’m still getting a trickle of search engine referrals, but I think it’s over now. So it looks like it’s just you guys, a couple of others and me…

    Now I’m wondering what this is going to do to my Google Page Rank… I kind of like being a 5.

  6. Lydia says:

    This is an interesting dilemma. My blog is totally a recover tool at this point. I started it after sort of unsuccessfully looking for a person in my life to work through some the issues of long time recovery with me, and failing.

    I get some readers, but not many commenters. I’m not sophisticated enough or knowledgeable enough or interested enough to know if they are repeaters or unique. Every once in a while someone will write something long and very thought out.

    It bothers me a little when I see search engine phrases that have to do with looking for information about AA. I’m tempted sometimes to put beginner information on the blog, though that is directly opposed to the purpose.

    Oh well. I’m glad I found you before you went under cover. Is it OK to keep you on my blogroll? I’ll take it off if you want.

  7. bine says:

    i found salted via google when i was desparatly looking for answers – and found thor and puddlejumper with you. it makes me kind of sad to think that others will not get that chance. but i completely understand why those search engine results freak you out. there are some really weird folks out there.

  8. You’ve mentioned this in the past–the entire search term issue. Or we’ve talked about it? Well, I remember something for sure. Perhaps the whole “Possibly Related Posts” bullshit just is/was the icing on the cake. You already know how I feel about that!

    I hear you on the “Search Term Madness” as I often call my posts when I list the absolute ridiculous ones I get–and inject my own attempts at humour regarding them.

    I guess for me they don’t bother me too much simply because they are so ridiculous. If someone types in something so inane and they actually click on my blog as a result of a Google (or whatever engine of choice) search, they will soon find that they will not find what they want.

    Exit stage left.

    For the longest time (and probably still are)…I mean, wow…my hits are all about my avatar and Lisa Edelstein! Gimme a break! Again, they are not going to find anything there!

    Anyway, I respect your decision to cut off absolute strangers and feeling like your privacy is invaded. Not to mention, you are not anonymous. Well, semi-anonymous?

    I am anonymous. That is a good point to mention here. Because I am anonymous (and I also blog about a whole whack of other blahbbitty-blah non-head shit) I really don’t give a toss if I’m “out there” via search engines. If someone does pick me up and I can help them or they learn something, great. Sometimes they get me via a blogroll…I don’t know. Sometimes they say, “I’ve been reading you for a long time..” but again, how they found me–no clue.

    Still, darling. You do what you feel is right. You and I have known each other for a while so you have my full support in anything you choose. You know that.

  9. Gabriel... says:

    Hi again XUP, it’s been four days since I activated the WordPress privacy feature and I’m still getting referrals from search engines so I’m not sure if I’ve done anything yet, but I’m hoping this is the happy medium.

    Admit it Thor, you love it when people find you after searching for weird porn.

    Hi Mark and Nurse Myra… Nurse, I’d imagine you get some pretty off the wall referrals. Mark, dude, I hope you take the advice you’re giving me.

    Hi Lydia. Your reasons for starting your recovery blog are my reasons. I’m only trying to stop people from randomly finding my blog, so if you want people to find Salted or you’re enjoying it, please keep Salted in your blogroll. My decision basically comes down to, do I make certain posts private and completely inaccessable, or put a password on them, or do I just make the whole blog unavailable to people who are searching for “pit stop hostel, medellin, columbia” and finding intensely personal stories about my family and friends. I’ve decided that I’d rather make my whole blog invisible to search engines, at least for now.

    I had the same questions when I started Salted that you have now… do I make Salted a resource to other people with manic depression? About 30% of the “blog hits” I get everyday from search engines are from people looking for help… and there are days when I feel some responsibility to them. Most of my blogroll is dedicated to offering people other blogs from which they can learn about recovery. But the first rule of recovery has to be “me first”, and taking on more responsibilities than we can handle is a very dangerous thing.

    And, Bine, that’s exactly why I’m nervous about this… or at least that’s where any second thoughts are centred. I do think about people looking for answers, and some have left comments here, but at this phase of my recovery I can’t worry about people who don’t exist… if you know what I mean.

    I don’t know purrPAL ninJAH, I think I’m still pretty anonymous. That “exit stage left” attitude is something I’ve never felt 100%, usually I’ll look at a ridiculous search engine term and… well, think it’s ridiculous, but a lot of the time I’ll also look at it and think ‘well, that idiot just read about how I lost my virginity.’

    And hey, if anyone thinks someone would enjoy or get something out of Salted, feel free to pass along the URL. I trust the judgement of everyone here, and it’s not like I want to be a hermit… to be honest if this bites into my page rank I may reconsider and find another solution, I kind of really like being a five.

  10. Well, my nin-JAH, in partner in crime, you know that when a really good discussion or post or what-EVAH has come up, I have linked to it.

    And further to that, I would like to think that you trust my judgment in that area. It’s not like I’m inserting a link to nin-JAH saying, hey…read this fucking freakazoid! Are you kidding? No, it is, has always been and always WILL be relevant.

    And completely off topic, I can’t remember the post I wrote…speaking of links to sites…but it was about being stabbed by some kind of nin-JAH swords or Samurai shit.

    You.Would.Not.Believe.

    I found the most kick-fucking-ass nin-JAH outfits that were actually pretty cheap! I mean, costume for sure and what not…if it were in the anime realm, cosplay?

    I was SO tempted but I was confused by size because of my weight vs. height? Oh, I sooooo want…

    Don’t you think I’d look so cute?

    Erm…I mean, kick ass tough?

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