Mysteries of the blogosphere

About a year ago we posted a piece about an elderly couple who were picking up corn from an already harvested field near our house. To use an old, even biblical, term they were gleaning.

Detail of Jean-Francois Millet’s “The Gleaners”, 1857

Fast forward a year.  Starting on September 23 we started getting hits on our Gleaners post again. Over the two weeks since, the number of web searches that have led to our post and the number of views of that post have increased steadily.  Maybe not huge by many other blogger’s stats but pretty large for us, accounting for as much as 42% of the views on some days.

What’s going on?  Why is this post now getting so much traffic?

Now, The Gleaners, in addition to being the title of our post, is the title of a painting by Jean-Francois Milet (1857) which we included in our post and of quite a number of other paintings or prints (that we did not reference) with the same or similar titles – by John Constable (1824), Camile Pissarro (1869), George Clausen (1908), George Carline (1887), Jules Breton (1859), Gustave Dore, Banksy (2009) and Ben Tankard (2012) among others.  There’s even a zombie take-off on Millet’s Gleaners.

Gleaners or The Gleaners is also the name, in whole or part, of various surplus food distribution organizations (food banks) across North America, including groups in Washington, Oregon, California, Michigan and Florida and in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

There are at least three bands out there that call themselves The Gleaners or incorporate that term in their name – one Alt/Indie, one Alt Country and one Folk Rock.

There are several restaurants or cafe’s (often associated with the food distribution organizations mentioned above).

There’s the Ancient Order of Gleaners, a fraternal Insurance Society founded in 1894 (now called The Gleaners Life Insurance Society).

There are at least two sites that offer free “examples” of essays on, among other topics, Millet’s The Gleaners for harried students to “refer” to.  Yeah, right.

There are uncountable sites that comment on, review or analyze Agnes Varda’s movie The Gleaners and I (2000) which was, apparently, well received and is available in various formats.

We suspect that most of the people who visit out post about gleaners were probably looking for one of other sites noted above.  Maybe a high school art class assignment about Millet’s painting, or about social support groups,or about quaintly named insurance companies or contemporary documentary films about gleaning.

But, boy, they had to be tenacious to find us.  When I did a web search for “The Gleaners” I had to drill down through 41 pages to finally find our post as the 405th link listed, just after the Gleaner Manufacturing Company (maker of the first self-propelled combine harvester).

Regardless, we’re happy for the traffic.  We hope some of those people who visit find something else in our blog that’s interesting and that maybe they’ll come back.  If they’re looking for one of the other paintings, “examples” of essays to copy, or information on the movie, insurance company, manufacturing company or one of the bands, food banks, or cafes they’ll be out of luck – maybe I’ve steered them in the right direction with this post.


5 thoughts on “Mysteries of the blogosphere

  1. Your Gleaners piece has been my favorite post since I started reading your blog and one that I’ve actually thought about many times since. Regardless of how folks reached your site, I hope they stayed and read the whole piece.

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