Friday, May 16, 2008

Real Time Blog Monitoring!!

Part of human nature is to become obsessed about what others think about something you produce. This seems to be especially true with respect to writing. I know many authors (including myself) who have become obsessed with monitoring their Amazon ranking or star rating (I weaned my self off of that one with great difficulty).

Feynman wrote a book titled, "what do you care what other people think?" I never met the man in person but I imagine it would be easier for someone of that stature to not care. I try not to care but often do, much to my displeasure. It is hard for us ordinary people not to measure our own worth through the eyes of others (even if many of these eyes gaze out of even more ordinary heads).

So given this obvious flaw in human nature, what would you say if I told you I found the equivalent of crack cocaine for insecure bloggers! As with other drugs, I found this quite by accident. Some of you may have noticed the little AIM chat widget on my blog. I installed this on a whim more out of curiosity then any thoughts I would spend much time chatting with my few readers. There were only two attempts by anyone to chat with me and both occurred when I stepped away from my computer.

However, what was much more interesting is what happens on the other side of this widget. As you can see from the screen shot above, AIM synthesizes a guest id for every visitor to my blog while my chat client is up. This means every time a new eyeball looks at my blog my AIM client gets updated in close to real time! Further, if you have sounds enabled you hear the squeaky door open and close as they come and go! Talk about instant gratification!!
The real funny thing is that I did not notice all this until someone posted one of my posts on redit! I don't know if the AIM developers thought this through, but I can tell you if folks with far more popular blogs than mine embedded this control in their blog page, the AIM chat servers would get a run for their money!
I'll probably remove the AIM widget from my blog because it serves no real useful purpose. I'd rather folks leave comments that everyone can benefit from than have a private conversation. Still it is interesting what the law of unintended consequences can dredge up. Any insecure bloggers care to "take a hit"?

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