Thursday, March 19, 2009

About Blogging & Tracks

Blogs are weird. They're public, yet with low-traffic, they don't feel public (in contrast to highly public blogs like Dooce). I set up a blog to keep in touch with family and friends, though most of them keep in touch by phone. A few of my more computer-friendly friends check the site regularly, some every day, which is a motivator for me to post anything - even a picture of the cat - as a 'hi' to those people. But mine is a private blog, sort of, since the people who drop in tend to be people in my life.

When you bounce around the internet, however, you are not anonymous--you leave a trace. Sites like Statcounter or SiteMeter send out reports on a blog's hits, including where hits come from (city, state, & how many return visits), pages with high activity or what sites bring people in, and even which tags or internal links an individual clicks. Sometimes a single tag (like the family tag) gets a bunch of hits in one day, but from different locations, and I see that the link has been emailed from one person to another.

On a blog like mine, the hit from Canada is usually Jane (hey there!), Omaha stops in all the time (go Creighton!), as do my friends in Brooklyn. Family is easy to identify. Most European hits come through Bayley's blog, while a number of locals come through Sarah's blog. Last week a Twitter sent 100+ people to my GoogleMap of tent city's location. Oddly, the broken toe page still gets lots of hits. The question is, are you anonymous when you hop through various websites? Somewhat. You leave behind your IP address, your geographical location, your path through the site, and your word, not completely.

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