You’re so vain, you probably think that hashtag is about you

The Iron Lung ward at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital

An iron lung ward in a US hospital, Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been promoting this venue for about 15 months as a mechanism for class engagement, and in that time the BIO230 site has registered approximately 15,000 page views. Most of those page views occur when school is in session, for the simple reason that I have embedded the blog into York College’s classroom management system. Winter and Summer breaks however are dark dismal times for BIO230, when the main traffic is via anonymous individuals who come here through Google search terms. I like to review the statistics periodically for my own amusement, and was overjoyed to see that recently someone read my posting from last spring entitled “Brushing your teeth, no longer the best thing for your teeth” with the clever Google search term “the best thing for your teeth.”

Other anonymous individuals visit the site periodically, I assume mainly looking for help writing their biology class laboratory reports, and the main Google search terms by far are “unknown laboratory report,” “morphological unknown lab report,” or some variation of those terms. Since I turned on Google referrals, there have been about 150 hits to the site with those terms, accounting for close to one percent of the total page views.

Other search terms indicate that there is some Facebook-style searching going on, or perhaps it is simple ego gratification. Admit it! We’ve all done that before. It distresses me just a bit that I am so far down the rankings for “David Singleton” that it is wading through several pages of Google search results for similarly-named lawyers and plumbers before you get to me. However, in following through some of the search terms that popped up in the backend for this blog, I came across this gem via Twitter:

“he’s an asshole. you can do anything when you’re an asshole.” and “that thing was fucking huge!” #shitsingletonsays

The quotes do appear to quote me accurately, but a little bit of context might be necessary before people decide I am a loose gun in BIO230. With the first comment, I was describing the somewhat sketchy personal life of Kary Mullis, Nobel laureate and discoverer of the polymerase chain reaction. Truth is, he is renowned for being a bit of a jerk, and I don’t want the BIO230 students to think that their science heroes are all shiny and all. The second quote was how I described what an iron lung looked like, which no one in the class has seen before, but I have put at the top of this page for everyone to see. The quote reflected part of my pro-vaccination tirade from this past semester, and I think given the context and seriousness of the issue, it was probably appropriate for a college audience.

Thank you Twitter user @REDACTED, Fall 2011 5 PM Micro class! You’ve made my day. There were other accurate quotes in the Twitter stream, but these ones will be immortalized here on the blog, and on my first day of class “What the students say about BIO230” Powerpoint slides.


About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on January 17, 2012, in Meta. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Of course, the number 1 referrer to this blog (besides the captive student audience via Blackboard) are my friends on FB, with almost 400 page views! w00t!

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