Sunday, September 18, 2005

Speaking of Random...

I use a free web stats service, so I can't cross-reference referrers with search words. If I could, you can bet your bottom dollar I'd want to know how NASA Googlers ended up here.

What normal, red-blooded, internet user wouldn't? Is it the aviation references, Hugh the cat photos, scathing criticism of American Idol contestants, finding funny spelling errors at the Smithsonian, or what???

The world wide web seems so random, but thanks (or no thanks) to search engines, anyone with a web presence will be linked in some way to something somehow. The more you write, the higher the statistical probability of association -- good or bad.

The other increased incidence is the statistical probability of being 'found'. If you truly want anonymity, don't have a listed phone number, a listed address, join any news groups, forums, networking sites, online clubs, or participate in anything with your real name. However, I believe in privacy management, not acting paranoid. There are some positive examples of internet presence. For example, last weekend an old friend from back in my penpal writing days (age 9 through high school) got in touch with me last weekend through this very site.

Other Googling examples (positive to neutral):
  • last year, another old friend from my penpal writing days found me; we'd lost in touch during my itinerant years
  • an old friend of my cousin from Montreal put the cousin's name in a search engine, found it on this site, and contacted him by writing to me
  • a guy whose cat had chylothorax wrote to me looking for advice because my friend's cat had it
  • a bus company representative wrote, looking for a review of a tour I'd taken
  • a man in Bulgaria was interested in my duck and pig race video clips from a trip to the Vancouver Pacific National Exposition in '02 (yeah!)