Longtime readers may recall my fascination with people who come to the Twelve Mile Circle, click on the search box on the upper-right corner of the page and then search the word "search." I don’t pretend to understand the logic although I’ve come to accept it. There is an odd chink in the human psyche that compels people from all backgrounds, experiences and locations to want to search specifically for appearances of the word "search" on 12MC. I stand by my original theory that they want to see how the feature works and they use the default already suggested by the page. Maybe I should test the theory — change it to banana and see if banana takes off?
Brush all of that aside, though. I was curious to see what search terms other than search (by far the most popular) seemed to resonate with visitors. Here are the Top 15 terms that people actually took the time and effort to type into the 12MC search bar over the last year, in order of popularity:
- Time Zone
- Smallest County
I am favorably impressed by the list, especially with exclave leading the way and tombolo in the top tier. That makes me happy. It does seem to have a U.S. Great Plains flavor to it too with Kansas, Dakota, Oklahoma and cornfield making appearances.
I’ve tried to incorporate multiple ways for people to find topics on the site. It might have been more efficient for a hypothetical visitor to select Canada as a category (89 articles currently with that tag) instead of searching on it, or to use the complete index map to hone in on some or all of those U.S. Great Plains states more efficiently, however not everyone searches the same way so I like to offer options.
Some searches are so broad it’s hard to imagine the results were even remotely effective. This morning, for example, I noticed that someone searched on the term "unusual." Well, 12MC is nothing but one big collection of unusual. The motto — An Appreciation of Unusual Places — appears on every single page. I’m not sure what they expected to find beyond a whole lot of what they were already reading.
I don’t know where I’m going with this other than to note my oddball fascination with other peoples’ interests and habits as they comb through the site’s pages.
Has anyone else ever thought that Wawa was a really strange name for a chain of gas station / convenience stores? Maybe not. It appears to be a U.S. mid-Atlantic plus Florida thing, which I didn’t realize until I went onto their website and noticed their limited geographic reach. I thought they were more national given their carpet-bomb saturation level of advertisements. Alright, so I guess this topic will only interest the 12MC audience from Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The rest of you can skip down to the next section where I have some burning questions for you.
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I had two theories. My initial thought turned to geography. [sarcasm alert] You’re shocked, I know.
I was thinking maybe it was an abbreviation for Walla Walla, Washington? That theory dissipated after I learned that the nearest Wawa was an entire continent away. My second thought was maybe it had a cute kid tie-in (Wawa sounds a lot like a toddler asking for a glass of water). Certainly there’s precedence for an owner’s child influencing the name of a commercial establishment. The Wendy’s fast food chain came to mind.
My gut instinct was right. However I never considered the possibility of an actual community named Wawa. It’s in Pennsylvania, just a few miles north of the Twelve Mile Circle. Somehow it always comes back to the Twelve Mile Circle. Wawa, the company, is headquartered in Wawa, the place. The company also explains, "’Wawa’ is a Native American word for the Canada Goose that was found in the Delaware Valley, that’s why we use the goose on Wawa’s corporate logo."
To Twitter or Not to Twitter. Is that even a question?
I’ve been hemming and hawing about whether to open a 12MC Twitter account. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback in the comments and in off-line email messages. I’m trying to figure out how to use it best before flipping the switch. For example, several people remarked that they’d like it to send notice of the latest 12MC articles so they don’t have to access the RSS feed or check the site every couple of days. They’d also be able to retweet links easily. I’ve always kind-of thought of that as self-promoting although it does seem to be a common practice on many Twitter feeds. I would also insert various geo-observations and non sequiturs similar to what I do currently with G+ although I wonder if I’m beginning to spread myself too thin. I don’t have all that many germane or pithy things to say.
Is Twitter something readers want, and would a stream of article announcements, offbeat geography news and weird user statistics (probably no more than about one per day on average) be sufficiently interesting?