Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Panopticon

I've been seeing these live traffic feeds on blogs all over the place, and, curious, went to procure one of my very own. I must say, they make me feel very uncomfortable. One of the nice things about blogging is that you reveal yourself or not, as the whim takes you. Lurking is perfectly acceptable. Comment or not. I often think of Harry's invisibility cloak.

The stats tools now available to even the most lay of laypeople have taken a bit of this pure anonymity away. You can sort of see who's visiting you, if you know what you're looking at. But the map feeds are another thing entirely--they're graphic and very easy to read. I was sort of startled, and discomfited, at first to see, on someone's blog, "Brooklyn, NY is here." Panopticon indeed. Only in this case, the readers are the privacy-less inmates and the blogger is the chief warden in the circular tower.

So I'm going to leave my little map up for awhile to see what the limits of my comfort are. I don't really approve of them on principle, but so be it. And that said, I secretly hope my one lone dot becomes a cluster or two...


The Next Day...
p.s. true to form, I've gone back on my critique of the map. I freaking love that thing! I love the little wee dots, I love seeing where people come from, love it! I'm going to have it implanted in my retinas!!!

13 comments:

muralimanohar said...

The things I have discovered I can find out about other bloggers, using stat counters, and widgets like the one that says I am there, and reading this post, etc. I have even discovered I can get into someone else's stats, via my own stat counter, purely by accident. How very unsettling.

Cecile said...

Nothing and no one is safe here in the world wide web. Big Brother and Little Sister are always watching us, and Con and Ex-con are always lurking to steal our identities. We just have to choose to either live in fear or take whatever life throws at us. I have learned through time, that I'm a pretty good catcher. What about you?

Peter said...

Leah,

It's an interesting device - but maybe because I know exactly which dot I am!

Peter x

Robyn said...

Leah! I get what you are saying...but at the same time I am trying to increase reader base! Thanks for the info!
Hugs,
Robyn

Leah said...

Murali, that is truly unsettling!!!

Cece--I generally catch--but sometimes flinch!

Peter--I know which dot you are too! I realized that this particular map shows the location only once--for instance, if I lurked at a particular blog 80 times a day, the dot for Brooklyn would only show up the very first time and then never again--ie, one dot no matter how many times--so that's admittedly less ominous!

Robyn--I'm finding that I like that lil map! You should get one too!

xp

MJ said...

Looks like I'm the lone Canuck.

*waves Maple Leaf valiantly*

Leah said...

Oh Canada! Our home and native land!

(Not-So) Cynical Gal said...

Then there's me, in the semi-middle north (how's that for exact?!) of the USA...Sweet Home Chicago!

I like the map too...I might have to copy you.

Leah said...

HI NSCG!! You must have a map. They're fab. xo

mutleythedog said...

I have a blog called westminster panopticon...

INNER VOICES said...

i used to be obsessed with the who and where from part of the site meter... i really only use it now to see if certain people are still reading.... fun post!

bindhiya said...

Dear Leah,
Hope you having a good day..

that one dot from India that's me I think.. :)

♥ & ((hugs))
bindi

Leah said...

Hello, Mutleythedog, I shall certainly visit your panopticon--is there a ladder?

IV, it's easy to become obsessed with one's stats, eh?

Hi Bindi! I hope you're doing well dear--

xoxo