.. or how to figure out whether you are hallucinating.
In the past few weeks I have come across more and more commentary about the site MyBlogLog, a service that is responsible for the list of pictures of other recent site visitors on the sidebar of some blogs (example).
But I was confused. I was quite sure that I had signed up for a free MyBlogLog account over a year ago, and this was not at all the service it had offered back then. I started searching and most recent commentary focuses on the above-mentioned social aspect of the service. So how to figure out if I am just utterly confused and mixing this up with another service?
First, I searched my email archives to see whether I had signed up for this service at some point in the past. Indeed, I had created an account back in June, 2005 with the purpose of tracking the relative popularity of various outgoing links on my blog.
Next, I turned to the Web archive to see what the site had looked like back then. As I had remembered, it was something quite different with a focus on enabling a site owner “to track when offsite links are clicked by your visitors”.
Finally, I did a search on del.icio.us to see when people first started bookmarking the site. The first mentions date back to March, 2005 with the descriptions focusing on the link-analysis feature all the way up until August of this year.
Nonetheless, reading the descriptions of the site you would know little of this.* I find it fascinating how short-lived people’s memories are or how little attention is paid to the background behind these much-hyped sites. Perhaps I’m just being influenced by all the historians I’ve been hanging out with recently, but I think context is interesting. And luckily there are tools that can help us figure it out even if current commentary is lacking in that domain.
Regarding the new features, the community aspect of MyBlogLog sounds interesting and not too freaky now that they have implemented the opt-out feature in case you do not want to be shown as having visited any particular Web site.
[*] To be sure, I haven’t read through the hundreds of recent mentions, but this is my impression from reading several.