Know Your Audience: Mushroom-seekers and chicken-killers

As an old-media reporter who’s used to sending my stuff out into the ether and forgetting about it, it’s a whole ‘nother world to have all this intel on you people, my readers. Please, no paranoia; I’m just talking about the search terms you use to find me, which WordPress saves. I know it’s probably rude to go into this, but some of these terms just kill me.

I’ll skip over the largest group, those of you who know me or my blog already.

I feel a certain affinity with the next-largest category of seekers: You have found a mushroom or a berry. You are trying to identify it, or decide whether to eat it. “Pholiota squarrosoides edible?”, for instance.

This is how I spend many days, so it is nice to know you, too, are out there. I can only hope I’m not contributing to the Great Internet Stash of Misidentified Mushroom Photos.

Among the natural-world seekers came a personal favorite for its illustration of two feelings I so often have: a dearth of precise botanical descriptives, and a hope that the tubes’ great wisdom will somehow know what I mean anyway. The search: “what is the name of the little red berry.”

A few seem already to have decided their bias before they arrived: “freaks in madison”; “huitlacoche slimy excrement.” Well! As you like. I’m ambivalent on the huitlacoche, personally. And an ambiguity: If you found me by searching “i kill chickens,” were you, as I imagine, declaring a secret to Google and wondering what kindred souls it would return to you? I have never killed a chicken, to be honest. Perhaps you will find happiness in a chicken-killers’ Meetup group, whose members are mostly foxes and minks?

Finally, I am afraid I have been no help to those who came here seeking knowledge of how to cook stinkhorn eggs, or on a completely unrelated note, of spinal-cord lesson plans. But stay tuned.

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