Hamsters rule the internet
Posted by apgaylard on December 30, 2008
Here’s a bit of year-end nonsense: one of the mysteries of my blog this year has been the post, “Good News For Hypercholesterolemic Hamsters“. This has been, far and away, the most viewed post; accruing twice the number of views of its nearest rival. So, is it interest in the applicability of animal models to people that has driven this phenomenon?
This post uses the Google Trends tool to explore the relative popularity of hamsters against: gerbils, guinea pigs, homeopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy and reflexology, Ginseng, Black Cohosh, Ginkgo Biloba and Red Clover.
So if you have found this post when all you really want is pictures of cute hamsters – welcome. If you make it all the way to the end of this post, I’ll reward you with another!
But now, let’s compare the popularity of ‘googling’ for ‘hamster’ against their fellow small caged mammals: the gerbil and the guinea pig. In Figure 1 we can see that hamsters win by a mile (black line); searches for ‘hamster’ have risen dramatically over the last year. The trend is remarkable. They seem to be taking over ‘my part’ of the internet, at least.
Moving on to my usual blogging fare, they beat the CAM therapies of homeopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy and reflexology by a substantial margin. The other interesting observation that strikes me in this comparison is that acupuncture (blue line) is roughly twice as often ‘googled’ for as the other CAM therapies.
Acupuncture is about twice as popular as guinea pigs; the other therapies languishing at guinea pig popularity levels.
Herbs fare even worse. None of them have hamster-like popularity, when it comes to internet searches. Ginseng is running at guinea pig search volumes (green line); whilst Black Cohosh, Ginkgo Biloba and Red Clover languish in Gerbil territory.
So, what lessons can I take from this end of year frivolity? With the stock of the humble hamster rising dramatically expect more hamster-oriented posts in a transparent move to boost blog traffic.
It may not be all that hard to come up with material: It seems that some ‘alternative’ vets do use homeopathy for hamsters and other caged mammals; though I must say that this website is far more sensible. There has also been acupuncture research using hamster models.
So perhaps there is some scope in piggy-backing on the amazing popularity of hamsters. Let’s hope that they are not heading for a fall!
And to those who have come for the hamsters: please stay for some of the science. If you are at school just think how much evidence-based annoyance you can inflict on CAM friendly teachers!
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