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How representing ourselves online might change in the next few years

I’ve had an “Internet presence” since 1998, for the most part.  It’s gone through several lives, starting on anonymous.diaryland.com, going to ianomalous.com, then erik.diary-x.com, then mockerybird.com, then erikbenson.com, then erik.typepad.com, then nosneb.livejournal.com, then bustermcleod.com and bustermcleod.livejournal.com, and now, over 11 years later, I’ve moved once again to busterbenson.com.

I’ve anticipated and later followed a lot of the blogging trends over the years.  I supplemented comments on my hand-rolled blog at mockerybird.com way before blogger.com did.  I was uploading pictures from my Nokia 6210 (I think) to my own email server that parsed the email and posted the picture to my blog way before Flickr.  I was aggregating all of my RSS feeds from around the Internet into bustermcleod.com long before friendfeed.com.  I think that the next movement in online presence is going to be in the direction of a stats page that provides a kind of “pulse” for your general life, while also allowing others to find you easily on other parts of the Internet.

Self-tracking is becoming a lot more popular these days, as it becomes easier for people to use their phones/shoes/key chains to track what they’re doing and share it with others.  But what about all of the latent second-hand data that comes out of our wanderings around the Internet?  There are now at least 38 sites that help you track your location, where you are, where you want to go, where you will be going soon, etc.  The pictures we post know where they were posted from.  Sometimes (as through Facebook) pictures taken by others know that you were in them and let you know.

And then, even more indirectly still, and more interesting to me, there’s information about our general activity on the Internet, and how that relates to our activity in general. And, being able to track your own interest in a particular topic over time.

For this purpose, I’ve created a way to search through all of the content I’ve added to the Internet since 1998 (a Ferret search index over my whole archived collection of text).  Here are some examples:




McLeod Residence (my now-closed art gallery/bar):

Amazon (who I worked for from 1998-2004):


Cognitive biases (something I was very interested in a few years ago):

You can play around with it by typing in the search box at the top of busterbenson.com.

It may be the most interesting to myself, but I think that if other people were able to search through their content in the same way, and we could all compare our personal meme trends with each other, that some really interesting insights would results.

Next up will be more advanced text analysis.  Being able to pull out statistically uncharacteristic phrases could create personal Trending Topics, ala Twitter.

Not sure what my overarching point is, other than to say that I think that this is the direction that our Internet-representation will go in the next few years. Maybe.

One Response to “How representing ourselves online might change in the next few years”

  1. [...] is becoming a popular trend with the tech crowd. Although I’ve never been one to keep a journal, having gobs of personal [...]