How many people are interested in chemtrails? Not very many I suspect. But how to measure them? One way is to see how popular they are on the internet. You could measure how many web pages mention “chemtrails”, but that could give a distorted picture, as the people who believe in chemtrails might tend to be much more likely to post their beliefs on the internet. Lots of people knit, for example, but only a tiny fraction of them make knitting web sites.
We could count blog posts, but that has similar problems, as people who believe in conspiracy theories seem quite keen on spreading those theories, and so are more likely to blog about them
The best way that occurred to me was to measure search terms. Simply see how many people were googling for “chemtrails” vs. other words. In this Googlified world, if people are interested in something then they google it.
Here’s my raw data:
|Google Blogs||Google Images||Video||News||Scholar||Pages/Posts||Groutability 2006|
The columns are fairly self explanatory. They are the number of results returned by google for web, blogs, images, videos, news and scholar. The pages/posts column is the ratio of total web pages to blog posts. The “groutability” column is the ratio search volume for that word to the search volume of “grouting”. I chose grouting as it seemed like a thing people would be searching for at a fairly constant volume, but not too much.
I chose search terms that had a similar result to chemtrails. I also added some outliers, that were very popular, or very unpopular, mostly activities practiced only by a few (like reborning). I included “morgellons”, as it seems like the most similar thing I could find with a distinct name.
You can look at the numbers and draw your own conclusions. Chemtrails has more results than “killer bees”, but less than “bboy” ( a type of athletic break-dancing). It has vastly less than knitting and archery. But a lot more than “reborning” (making realistic baby dolls).
But how many people are interested in chemtrails? Well, there are about 30,000,000 knitters in the country, and 600,000 blog results. So given the 4828 blogs results for chemtrails, that would indicate 241,000 people have some interest in chemtrails. But, like I said, it’s not easy to accurately extrapolate. If you could extrapolate from blogs, you could say there are three times as many chemtrailers as there are vexillologists (flag enthusiasts).
Or you could say: a lot more people are interested in Parkour than are interested in chemtrails.
[Update] Chemtrails on Usenet (archived on Google Groups), were only mentioned in 1999. Here are the year-to-year search results for the word “chemtrails”. There are NO results prior to 1999
1999 – 1070
2000 – 2050
2001 – 2810
2002 – 2250
2003 – 2060
2004 – 2100
2005 – 1570
2006 – 2450
2007 – 2230