Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Present the Data, Nothing More

The recruitment of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential nominee back in 2008 took plenty of people by surprise. Before August 29, when John McCain announced her as his pick, she was pretty much unknown about Alaska - the only reason I was aware of her was from coming across a few articles around the Alaska Public Safety Commissioner dismissal issue.

There are few things that will make your name widely known faster than being tapped to be a major figure in a major leadership campaign. I can illustrate this, to a degree, with Google search results. Specifically, the number of hits that came up from a Google search of "Sarah Palin" + MILF. Why this specific term? I can't remember anymore - most likely I saw someone make a reference to it in some forum and thought it would be funny to track its progress across the net. It has the advantage of not necessarily including traditional media sources - unless, of course, you count the comment threads - because I doubt any serious newspaper would refer to a candidate like that in its own pages.

I conducted my first search with those terms at 11:29 AM Eastern Standard Time on August 29, 2008, so within a matter of hours of the announcement itself. That search gathered 3,190 hits - it's up in the air as to how many were done by Alaskans. By 12:19 AM on August 31 it stood at 4,580, down from 5,040 twelve hours before; but Google must have done a fresh round of webcrawling that day, because by 10:54 PM on the 31st, there were 13,400 hits for that phrase.

Things picked up steadily after that. By the morning of September 30, Google came up with 167,000 hits. Ultimately, on the morning of November 4 there were 752,000 hits for the phrase, and that's when I stopped tracking - but people didn't stop spreading it. As of this writing, Google pulls up nearly 1.9 million hits. By comparison, "The Hawley-Smoot Tariff" only gets 89,300 hits... but it would make a good name for a band.

Google Stats for "Sarah Palin" + MILF

August 29, 2008 (1129 ET) - 3,190
August 30, 2008 (0117 ET) - 4,640
August 30, 2008 (1218 ET) - 5,040
August 31, 2008 (0019 ET) - 4,580
August 31, 2008 (2254 ET) - 13,400
September 1, 2008 (1249 ET) - 13,500
September 2, 2008 (0849 ET) - 13,700
September 3, 2008 (0829 ET) - 20,800
September 4, 2008 (0812 ET) - 21,000
September 5, 2008 (1057 ET) - 33,600
September 6, 2008 (0839 ET) - 33,500
September 7, 2008 (0924 ET) - 33,200
September 8, 2008 (2155 ET) - 52,100
September 9, 2008 (0832 ET) - 52,300
September 10, 2008 (1237 ET) - 52,100
September 13, 2008 (0723 ET) - 63,400
September 14, 2008 (0926 ET) - 81,500
September 15, 2008 (1231 ET) - 82,100
September 16, 2008 (1153 ET) - 90,500
September 17, 2008 (2128 ET) - 93,300
September 18, 2008 (0831 ET) - 93,300
September 19, 2008 (1033 ET) - 93,800
September 22, 2008 (1201 ET) - 91,000
September 23, 2008 (2124 ET) - 91,300
September 24, 2008 (1224 ET) - 92,000
September 25, 2008 (1051 ET) - 169,000
September 26, 2008 (0856 ET) - 175,000
September 27, 2008 (0900 ET) - 175,000
September 28, 2008 (0930 ET) - 179,000
September 30, 2008 (0954 ET) - 167,000
October 2, 2008 (0824 ET) - 167,000
October 3, 2008 (1829 ET) - 186,000
October 5, 2008 (0758 ET) - 186,000
October 6, 2008 (1504 ET) - 194,000
October 7, 2008 (0953 ET) - 194,000
October 8, 2008 (1323 ET) - 207,000
October 9, 2008 (1002 ET) - 206,000
October 10, 2008 (1131 ET) - 214,000
October 11, 2008 (1617 ET) - 207,000
October 13, 2008 (1843 ET) - 206,000
October 14, 2008 (1253 ET) - 207,000
October 16, 2008 (1331 ET) - 208,000
October 17, 2008 (1111 ET) - 214,000
November 4, 2008 (0939 ET) - 752,000

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