13 Feb 2014
When I was in 8th grade, the most popular girl in school approached me on the first day of classes and invited me to an event. My excitement must have showed because she kind of chuckled. It didn’t take long before we were BFFs and just like that, I was popular. In with the clique. On the fringes, for sure, but suddenly everybody in the school knew my name. One day, we were in my room, just hanging out, and she picked up my diary. “Where’s the key?”
I had written extensively about this girl and my thrill at being popular in this diary and would not allow her read about how much her friendship meant to me. Also, I might have said a few things I didn’t want anyone to know about my ever-changing love life. For whatever reason, I would not give her the key. She persisted. She got a little angry, even.
“Why can’t I see it?”
She was thinking the opposite of the truth. That I had written bad things about her. Nope. I had gushed out my gratitude for finally being accepted with the In crowd and my utter adoration of her. I thought she’d laugh at me and tell everyone all the details of my diary. That should have been my first clue that trouble was brewing.
I stayed semi-popular until I dropped out of that bitchy crowd to bond with a new group of friends who liked listening to music, smoking pot, and disdained the whole idea of “popular.” I stopped writing journalism and started writing poetry. In my head, I was beyond cool.
Something similar happened within the last few weeks. For ten years, every time I typed my name into Google’s search engine, there would be “A Writer’s Diary” right on top. Ahead of Virginia Woolf, from whom I’d borrowed my blog title. Ahead of a lot of people way more important than me. Just like with that popular girl suddenly deciding to befriend me, I couldn’t figure out “why me?”
But, again, like those feelings of old, it felt good. After awhile, I took it for granted, to be honest. I don’t know who follows my blog or how many or any of that stuff. I never wanted to know. But I got a little thrill when I periodically checked my name on Google.
Then a few weeks ago, I typed in my name and I was #5. After a film producer with my name, assorted other Cynthia Harrisons had inexplicably leapt ahead of me. I thought about it for awhile and then shrugged. At least I was still on the first page. Then yesterday I checked again, typing in my name as usual and ”A Writer’s Diary” was nowhere to be found.
My Twitter handle was there, a few reviews of my novels, my Amazon author page. But no blog. I thought about why this had happened. I have no clue, just like I had no clue why I was #1 when there were no such things as tags, I knew a little code, and swiped photos and ran hot links with abandon.
Finally, I had reached the goal I set for myself when I started my blog. I was a published author with five books. But I was less, not more, popular with Google. Seems like an ironic contradiction. When I was in junior high, it took me at least a year to figure out I didn’t need the In crowd. This time it took less than 24 hours to realize that, for me, Google ranking is not a big deal. And now I am going to check Bing:)