Crowdsourcing of Art: Poetry from Search Terms

Since I had access to the log files of my first hosted web server (in the past millennium) I had been addicted to analyzing my log files – browsing text files with a simple text editor.  In particular, search terms submitted to search engines had intrigued me. I know I am not the only one.

People (… I guess … it might have been animals or artificial life forms as well …) sent full sentences and questions in natural language to the omniscient oracle Google. Such as:

Should I take decisions from heart or mind?

What is going on in the mind (or heart) of somebody asking such a question on Google? I am not a psychologist and cannot solve that mystery. I can just make use of this phenomenon, applying a pragmatic approach:

Nowadays everything is crowd sourced, crowd funded, crowd & cloud whatever. So why not crowd source poetry from these search terms?

Technical note to potential fellow search term poets: I strongly recommend to use the WordPress Webmaster Tools and verify ownership of your blog on Bing or Google tools – this gives you access to even more great search terms.

Italics: Titles added by myself. But soon these titles will become part of the global consciousness of the internet, eternal quotes in pop culture, and they might appear in somebody else’s log files.

Bold: Search terms, unchanged. These will also be amplified in the subconsciousness of the web by this posting.

Bing poetry (1): On Web 3.0 – Animals Communicate via Household Appliances (I might re-consider this prosaic title)

anything new in microwave ovens?
just rodents
posts in dark
comment via microwave
the dark side is strong in this one

Bing poetry (2): On Theory and Practice

the word cliche address
theory of trying
i am trying to not get attached to a psychologist
i am interested in combining theory and practice

These are re-arrangements of the search term poems published on Facebook initially,  but I split my original poems into two. The messages of these search terms are so intricate and aphoristic – you should not cram too many into a single poem.

WordPress stats poem (1): On Corporate Clichés

just received a blank piece of paper in the mail
original idea already cliche 

theory about stupid questions
reconcile corporate goals
universe life combine
burn org chart

WordPress stats poem (2): On Science, Engineering and a Bit of Biology

silly questions on microwave engineering 
heat pump outer space
 stiff wire instead of helium
sniffing of path
dead mouse smell around microwave

I needed to backup the poems somewhere before Facebook decides again not to show some arbitrary subset of messages on my timeline. But this is another story. It is interesting though that strange Facebook issues started the day before yesterday when I published my Bing poem, and yesterday Facebook was offline for half an hour. I digress – this is just to add a disclaimer: I do not know how dangerous and subversive these poems really are.

Editors, magazines and committees that fund alternative internet art (or whatever this may be called (*)): Please refrain from contacting me – I need to contact my lawyers first to clarify issues with intellectual property. Who owns the search strings? The anonymous users? Google, Bing or WordPress?


Acknowledgement: The great aphorist Kelly Hartland might have inspired this experiment. Please visit her blog if you want exposure to genuine art!

(*) Asking Google myself I learn that there is really something as ‘croud-sourced art’. And again I have considered myself to be so original – again in vain.

F as in Finally

Finally I did it. I. Am. On. Facebook.

A week ago I reactivated my dormant Facebook account, created years ago, that has never been associated with any friends. Fortunately I have some friends now. If I die tomorrow, I will not die alone.

And I am on Twitter. @ elkement Little bird has left its egg #twitter #newbie

So I can finally dump all that strange stuff somewhere:
Links to weird websites, the search terms my blog visitors have used (“irony practice”, “theory of trying”), products that need to be promoted, and haiku-like poetry: Funny #furniture for #facebook freaks. Fantastic!

Astonishing: It even feels a bit like work (Elkement, Social Media Manager) and not like procrastination and killing time on the net.

In this blog and in various comments on other blogs, discussion groups, and on my other web sites I have gone to great lengths in stating that I am not and never will be on either network. Actually, the very first post on this blog was about my lazy-laggard-ness and Web 2.0 reluctance.

Facebook Logo from Wikipedia. Copyright-free as ‘fonts and simple geometric shapes cannot be copyrighted’. That was easy! I expected to do hours of research on intricate legal texts!

So it is time to confess and to repent.

Why in hell did I join these social networks despite the risks?

Your accounts might get hacked, you might have Kafkaesque encounters when you violate the name policies. But luckily my surname is neither Gay, nor Beer, nor Lord.  On trying to create a Google+ account I have learned that Subversive Element will violate the Name Policies, and the image of my iconic virus  will not allow people to recognize me because there is no face in it.However, Kafkaesque encounters are just round the corner anyway when you start using a service provided by a global corporation that enforces policies based on the user’s region.

I learned from Twitter’ trends (sic!) that Facebook friends can stress you out. You collapse your different social biotopes onto a single group, list or circle of ‘friends’ and it feels like your parents or your bosses are invading your party (the experts say).

Why haven’t I been more active earlier?

Once upon the time I was The First Employee Using XING. The fun was in using a business platform in a not-so-business way. I entered Subversive Ideas in the form fields for Haves and Wants.

But quickly social networks became mainstream and – for better or for worse – I have always tried to avoid mainstream (Not successfully). Thus I shunned the alleged mainstream activities and remained within my shell – my textfile-powered fortresses on the web that allowed for zero interaction.

I shunned interaction even more than mainstream. I did not want anybody to intrude into my territory and spoil the pages filled with my intellectual musings with comments. I did not want to watch out for inappropriate comments, deal with copyright infringement, delete spam, or repel stalkers, hackers or other dark and alien denizens of the net.

I did not understand at all what’s the point of re-tweeting and sharing the same content over and over.

Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few.
(Despair’s Demotivator on Blogging)

Not very convincing arguments though. Anyway – what has changed?

First of all, I feel that there is an increasing number of articles and posts in the web which deal with deleting Facebook accounts, reclusion from web 2.0, returning to real life. Though this resonated with half of me, but the other half thought: I will start using Facebook when anybody else started dreading it after the initial hype had faded.

Above all, in a networked world, you should never underestimate chaos and the butterfly effect. In my post on my award nomination I have – as usual – responded with No Facebook, no twitter. But I have mentioned in passing that I had created a placeholder twitter account in order to reserve my lame nickname.

I did not even add a link to the Twitter profile that was originally titled This is a placeholder. I try to tweet without RT, #, @ or URLs. Hard to resist though. This brilliant strategic move in viral marketing yielded a first follower on Twitter. Then there was responsibility, all of a sudden, a call to arms. I must not disappoint the community.

Nearly Irony-Free Explanation

Recently I have moved from the geeky, virtual world of IT to more down-to-earth and less nerdy renewable energies. I do not miss The Useless Monday Strategy Task Force Meeting or steel-and-glass Borg cubes, but probably miss the geeky coffee talk. I desired to inhabit an online cubicle, including the experience of feeling part of the collective. (Irony-free? #fail)

Really Serious Explanation Though It May Appear Ironic Again

We are players in a big game. Social media is about the interaction and the entanglement of all those weird streams of communication, running through the blogosphere, twitter, and various networks. It is about walking the thin line between being authentic and creating an online persona – or both at the same time.

It is not so much about business primarily, and it should not feel like work in my humble opinion.

Why do you use social media?


I think I was inspired by Clare Murphy’s  invisible mending tips – each tip related to a letter in the alphabet – when creating the headline.

Less Irony

I am asking myself: Am I in need of Less Irony? Or does the ironic tone of my most recent posts resemble My Real Voice more than the solemnity of the posts I published this spring and summer?

This is an open question, and writing this blog and related websites is an open project to explore this.

However, irony is like a magnificent uniform, an adamantine shell, and a fluffy coat.

Probably like a Steampunk costume.


Steampunk Costume (Wikimedia). Should I worry about the similarities to Borg implants?