Splashes in the pond: Why Randall Munroe is cooler than you.

When I got to work this morning, I dutifully read my RSS feeds. XKCD today was an article about Miegakure. I, like so many others, had no idea what that was, and decided to google it. After watching some cool gameplay, I scrolled through some other results. At the bottom of the page, I noticed a chart:

Of course it isn’t surprising that the mention of something obscure by XKCD is going to cause a sharp increase in Google hits, but it occurred to me that the audience of the comic was much more likely to google things they read, and this might boil over onto other topics as well.

Sure enough:

http://xkcd.com/719/ caused the following spike in

“dream teeth falling out”

http://xkcd.com/717/ is seen clearly with the search

“go go gadget”

And http://xkcd.com/713/ inflating

“GeoIP”

The “Collatz Conjecture”

It’s really interesting how large the relative spike is.  You can clearly see all the hits from the comic the day it comes out, and a petering out for those who missed it the first day.  Even some high traffic searches have visible spikes due to the comic. For example, the famous  “geohashing” comic caused a small blip in the very active topic of “geocaching”

“Geohashing”

Geohashing

“Geocaching”

A cool thing to note in this graph is the large increase in searches on the weekends (gray bars) as compared to the weekdays.

XKCD updates Monday, Wednesday, and Friday:

“XKCD”

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