Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Vanity of Would-Be Authors.

I've always been interested in who reads my blog. A few years ago when I was backpacking through South America, I started emailing stories back to some friends and to the office. It took a while, but eventually I heard that people enjoyed them and were passing them on to others. Of course none of the people who just hit delete told me about it, but I figured they can just mark me as spam and let their mail client deal with it automatically.

(I admit - the pictures in this post have nothing to do with the content. But the maps at the bottom do. Can you guess what this picture is? answer below this post.)

Then I switched to blogging since it was the 'in' thing to do. Actually the real reason was that it was a new gadget that I haven't tried yet but it was better for me since it kept a permanent record of what I published and let people comment publically on what I was blathering about.

But I quickly found out it's not easy to get people to respond. They tell me they like to read my blogs if we happen to be talking. At least, the ones I caught up against the wall and asked if they've read it tended to say that "yes yes we enjoyed it now please let go we can't breaggggghhhhhh". But people were still uncomfortable commenting on the site, and would seldom send personal responses back.

(Beach in Yucatan, Mexico)

But with all the effort I put into these blogs (ok ok - mostly becuase of my vanity), I decided to use modern technology and high tech to add a page counter and see how many people were actually hitting this site. Lo and behold, thechnology has advanced so much that by paying no money and adding a few lines to my blog, I could get a lot of information on who was visiting the blog and sometimes on where they were coming from.

Check it out: This is a map of the world with all the places from which people came to visit my site over the period of roughly a week:

To name a few of the locations: US, Israel and Russia I could understand. Estonia (Estonia! I don't know anyone in Estonia), Italy, Spain, UK, Northern Ireland AND the Republic of Ireland.
There were a few more, including some places in South Carolina and Georgia I'm pretty sure I know no one from.

But the resolution of the tracking services is much higher than this. Ever wonder how online ads seem to know exactly where you live? Take a look at this Northern California blow up of the map:

Big brother (and his little brother and their wife and everyone else) can track you to the nearest ISP connection to the net. If you're at home, the town or county will be identified. If at work, the company. I didn't think I knew anyone at Fairfield or Folsom but there they are.

Naturally many of the readers came from Sun, but there was even a Microsoft one. I wonder who that was. I did figure out that some people were just blog surfing and hit the "next blog" button on blogspot and accidently got mine.

Trying to understand technology even more, I searched through Technorati and found that some other blog points to mine. I don't know who she is and she didn't explain why she added my blog to her "Detours" list on the side of the page but I'm honored. Here's to her! I hope she fnished writing her paper.

(The Dogs' Respite - Neve Zedek neighborhood in Tel Aviv)

To summarize: us authors (ok ok I know I'm stepping a bit above my station here) love to get feedback. We write for the masses and want your adoration and all that BS. And we'd love to see it on the blog site (though I'm still trying to understand who the anonymous person who posted "Great as usual! love reading you!" on the Swedish post is. thank you!).

And if you still don't, well, I've got my little map and I know where you live :)

Thanks for reading!


(Answer - it's the side of the pyramid in Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula; photo taken tilted)

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Anonymous said...


i confess to being one of those silent readers who devours your blogs with delight, but never give feedback.

may the muse continue to be with you,

Anonymous said...

I read it regularly, too. I envy your travels and discipline at keeping up the blog!

Guess who?

Anonymous said...

OK, OK, I'll admit it. I'm officially a travel blog lurker! :-) I really enjoy your travel blogs, Eran -- great pics & wonderful descriptions of people & places you've visited. (And yes, I figured that was a tilted pic, but wouldn't have been able to tell which continent it was taken on!).

Pete (that's my dot in the S. Bay Area)

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