A Brief Selection of Weird Search Terms

I think I’m really reaching my target audience.

image

I’ve been meaning to write this list for a while because I get such a kick out of it. Something changed in the terms of service for WordPress or Google over the past few years so I’m getting fewer search terms coming down the pipeline, but man, they sure are wacky.

There are a bunch that make sense. Lots of searches for my name, Carleton, Seneca… A few people I have written about. A weird surge for Lauren Conrad Braids, Realistic Horse Costumes, and Guac. And then the crazy:

Misc.
kanye west’s outrageous high heels
why my ” and @ button are swapped (I still don’t know)
swords of famous people
there is no modern romance (re: swap boxes)
jaguar cichlid breeding (ew why?)
where can i buy a wallet in fairview mall
can i use paper clips to start an avocado
people freaking studying
why the changing of the guards at buckingham palace is so exciting (because it is!)

Nihilism
i am not boring
people who gets bored there the one who are boring
do not waste your feeling status
im learning to be alone
feeling bored and lonely photo

The moral of this story is that Big Brother is watching you! I think we are all in agreement that anything you type, click, view, or send is in the public domain. So keep that in mind while you’re browsing. Nothing is a secret and there is no such thing as privacy on the internet.

Dot Com Boom

I finally caved and bought www.maggiedebarra.com!

Notes

For a long time on my About Me page, I had written “Maybe one day I’ll buy my own web domain and stop doing everything for free. But that day is not today.” Well, my friends, that day is today. Well this year really. I bit the bullet and bought www.maggiedebarra.com and www.maggiedebarra.ca! Using my fantastic computer skills, I even re-directed MaggiedeBarra.ca to MaggiedeBarra.com and I mapped my WordPress blog to MaggiedeBarra.com! Does this make sense to you? It does to me! I owe it all to my many hours spent back in high school hacking websites to copy and modify their code.

I really do enjoy the structure and style of WordPress and I am happy to continue using their publishing platform. I used GoDaddy as a host because Diggnation brainwashed me many years ago. In addition to these new matters, I even updated my Theme to give it a mini face lift!

What’s in a Name?

This blog has been Paper Clips for so long. Paper Clips by Maggie de Barra. It just makes sense to me. It sounds and feels so familiar! I couldn’t bear to change it. I did run through many other possible names (I wanted to call it In Medias Res back in third year, though I couldn’t seem to make it work…) but I kept coming back to this one. That or simply calling it MAGGIE DE BARRA, which sounds ever more pretentious and narcissistic than owning a website that is simply your first and last name dot com. And so, I will continue using Paper Clips by Maggie de Barra as my go-to until another name strikes me, or I get a cease and desist order!

To Blogue or Not to Blogue

I think one reason why I waited for so long is because, in addition to being extremely clumsy, I’m really shy! I am. With minor online exhibitionist tendencies in the form of public tweets and private instagram photos, but at the heart of it, I am shy.

I remember reading somewhere: It’s not personal branding, it’s just living your life online. And yes, my generation is doing just that. Your online presence is a mural, and every tweet, photo, and post is another brush stroke.

I thought for a long time that if I could hide behind maggiedebarra.wordpress.com it meant that I was projecting to the world that I was not really serious, that I could stop at any time, and that I’m simply indulging an odd, online hobby. But, attaching my name, and throwing a few dollars consideration at it, that means I am proclaiming, loudly: Hello, world! This is really me and I am serious. I am still shy, but I’m working on it.

Type-Casting

For a long time this website had been a “student life” blog, documenting my experiences as a college and university student between 2008-2012 (what a nice time capsule!). Since I am now a young, urban, working professional, it has really morphed into something totally unique. It is not a millennial blog, or a fashion+beauty blog, or a foodie blog, or a music blog. As much as I’d like it to be, it is not my dream Modern, Moderate Feminism Blog (#modfem). I write about my life and experiences and things that are interesting and important to me. I write a lot about Canada and Toronto because they are the centres of my universe.

One term that I have always loved is “hyper-local”. I came across this term when it was applied to a few Ottawa blogs back in university. They would cover all the local goings-on: restaurants, concerts, cafes, shops, and local politics. They weren’t exactly travel blogs, but they’d be worth checking out if you were going for a visit to learn all about the cool local spots.

And so, I think in 2015 I think I will try to write more about the people, places, and things I love, and to embrace the hyper-locality of it all!

Quarterly Review

So far, so good.

It’s strange to think that I have just one month of school left. It’s scary to think that I’ve been out of university for two years! That is frightening. Reminds me of the good old days blogging for Maclean’s. I think I summed up how I’m feeling right now here. One month of school, four weeks, four exams and that’s all folks. It is overwhelming and I sympathize with my fellow graduating students.

The first quarter of 2012 has been pretty great so far.

Re: New Years resolutions- I’m trying to take lots of photos, waiting with my fingers crossed for the Lollapalooza lineup, and happily managing the stress of my final semester through painting my nails, writing exercises, transcendental meditation and working out on a regular basis.

Here are a couple of things that have helped to make these last few weeks a bit brighter:

world peace crossword
inspirational fence signs  monday morning crosswords

valentines korean bbq
homemade doily valentines korean bbq at korean village restaurant on bloor

toronto map flowers
• 
craigslist antiques breakthroughs beautiful flowers on the walk to school

combo royalewords with friends
live music  73 point words

A Place for Everything

And everything in its place.

I just wanted to show off my new flavors.me homepage. I’ve been looking for something like this for quite a while. I wanted a splash page that was stylish, user friendly, and easy to navigate. Flavors.me is all of those things.

I like Flavors.me for three reasons:

  1. It looks great.
  2. It was easy to create.
  3. It is efficient.

It will take less than ten minutes to craft and design your Flavors homepage. The customization options are very simple and easy to use. And it collects a bunch of your most important links and puts  them all in one really good looking page.

I changed my homepage url on Twitter from this blog to the splash page. This blog shows off my work and what I’m doing, but not everybody who clicks through from Twitter is interested in that. Maybe they want to see my photos or foursquare. Using the Flavors page let’s the user make the decision, instead of forcing something on them.

It also presents a more varied display of what I do and what I’m intersted in. Right now I have collected my blog, flickr photos, twitter stream, my tumblr and posterous accounts and my foursquare feed in one spot. Mine is pretty basic, but you can look at what some other users have created for inspiration in their design gallery here.

Flavors.me seems to be catching on. I read about Flavors.me while reading Amandalyn Ferri’s blog a while ago, and today I noticed that Lifehacker did a little write up about it here.

I’ve started using a lot of new services in the last month or so: Flavors, Buzz, Foursquare and Posterous. More on those later.

“You Should Follow Me On Twitter Here.”

Marching to the drum of Dustin Curtis.

Last night I came across this post by Dustin Curtis about Twitter and click-through rates. Curtis studied the click-through rates based on different prompts to readers, urging them to follow him on Twitter.

“Follow me on twitter” is the phrase I usually use. Curtis discovered that he got a 7.31 per cent click-through rate with this prompt. “You should follow me on twitter here” raised the click-through rate to 12.81 per cent. This is an impressive increase.

According to professor Wikipedia: click-through rates are calculated by taking the number of times a person clicks on a link or ad and dividing that by the number of times that the link was available for viewing. For example, if my About Me page was viewed one hundred times, and five people clicked the link to my Twitter page, then I could have a click-through rate of 5 per cent.

There are a couple of cool things about this study:

  • Curtis uses a lower-case t in twitter instead of a capital T in Twitter. This is something new to me. I think it works because it slips in the command seamlessly. It doesn’t interrupt the flow of the sentence by having Capital Letters throwing off your GROOVE. Also having a capital Twitter just seems a bit overpowering, while lower-case twitter seems nice and friendly.
  •  The command is a bit stern: You should follow me on twitter here. It just sounds so tough. But, if you think about it, a lot of people may have no idea what Twitter is or what you do on Twitter. If you sound like you have authority in this area, the herds may be more willing to follow you. It’s 10 per cent what you say, and 90 per cent how you type it.

I’m going to follow his lead, and I am already following him on Twitter (@dcurtis). I’ve put that command in my About page and I look forward to seeing if there is any change in my click-through rates. One more thing:

You should follow me on

twitter here.

New Maclean’s OnCampus Post

A text message that could save your life.

I just hit publish on a new Maclean’s OnCampus blog post about my school’s new Emergency Notificaiton System. Check it out here.

Big Thoughts Hurt My Brain

When Free Association meets Stream of Consciousness.

I was lying in bed last night and I had one of those moments when you start thinking something simple like “I wonder if there are any good movies playing this weekend.” and it mutates into “I wonder if I should buy my own website domain.” 

My mind just started to wander through all the things I have to do and things I want to do and two hours later I was still thinking. What kind of leaders will my generation be when we are all grown up? We live our lives on Facebook and YouTube and have no concept of privacy but a great understanding of popularity and the power of view counts. What will we do in 30 years when somebody pulls out a cached store of Facebook photos of the next Prime Minister? What is wrong with us? I could go on. Uhh the internet. It freaks me out sometimes.

Things I was thinking about last night that I still remembered when I woke up this morning:

  1. I sold a textbook at Haven!! I was cleaning my room earlier this spring and I was just transfering my big textbooks from my side table to my bookshelf to my desk to the floor. After a while you just have to be honest with yourself and admit that as much as you loved your Intro to Archaeology class there is no way that you will ever pick up that thousand-page book for a little light reading any time soon. So I put them all up for sale and now when I get back to Ottawa I will have a little surprise waiting for me in the form of a cheque. Money in the bank.
  2. I want to start a podcast. I get about this far into starting in and then I get distracted. I won’t think about that now. I’ll think about that tomorrow.
  3. I want to try Tumblr. They say it’s “the easiest way to blog.” And they give you 21 reasons why you will love it. They make a convincing argument, but then again, I am easily impressed. What is up with Tumblr and Flickr and why don’t they want to buy a vowel? Ahh! Ok I just did it. I feel like I am spreading myself too thin. I would rather be really good at a few things than mediocre at a lot of things. I am going to justify this venture by saying that I want to try out a new blogging platform.  (I’m sorry WordPress. Don’t cast me out just yet. This is field research. Archaeology remember?)

Welcome to the World

Real World. Not WOW.

Just posted my intro to Maclean’s OnCampus. Check it out here. This is just a little note to say hi. Like dipping your toes in the water before you cannonball. (or bellyflop) 

I have many ideas floating around in my head and now all that’s left is to just do it. Like Nike.

Update 08/02/09:
Woah. I just came up on my own Google Reader. This is surreal.

Maclean’s and Me

Moving on up to the Eastside of the internet.

I’m very proud to announce that I have been picked as one of the new Maclean’s OnCampus bloggers!  I am thrilled about this and cannot wait to start.

If you are not familiar with Maclean’s OnCampus you ought to get with the program. Click here to check it out!

Canadian students should put OnCampus on their Google Reader. Grab the RSS feed. Digg it. Tweet it. Blog it. Re-Tweet it. (Ok I’m starting to sound like Daft Punk.)

Whatever method you use to stay on top of stories, if you have any interest about post-secondary education in Canada (#CDNPSE) this is where it all comes together.

The folks at Maclean’s OnCampus are tuned into Canadian students and their issues. The bloggers come from all across Canada, and yes, there are quite a few journalism students. That just means that all posts will be in perfect CP style.

I feel like we’re a little band of Avengers, ready to assemble and spread truth, justice and news.