For anyone who’s ever written for the web, Analytics are everything. If you are an amateur, Analytics feed your ego and if you are a pro, Analytics feed your paycheck (and your ego). One of the most reliable ways to take the pulse of our culture and measure what we are collectively thinking about is to check out the Analytics.
A web search is a nearly effortless thumb-jerk reaction to a fleeting moment of curiosity. It’s as if we have instrumented everyone’s brain, and can record each brief encounter with uncertainty that happens to tease the neurons. Answers to our most intimate questions are only a few clicks away. Analytics records it all.
Take God for example. While the Pew Research Center polls remain the standard for measuring spirituality, there is much to be learned from Google. In spite of all Pope Francis has done to revitalize the religious landscape, things have not been going well for God lately. Porn searches have risen 83% and heroin (thanks in part to Phillip Seymour Hoffman) has shot up 32%. Although the Ten Commandments is the go-to guide for solving life’s tough problems, “Love thy neighbor” (the number one search with the word “neighbor”) is closely followed by “neighbor porn.”