Ego surfing, in which you try to find other online references to yourself, is a time-honored tradition of the net that became ubiquitous with web search engines. I suspect that ancient proto-netizens used to look through archives of newsgroups to find themselves too, but the fossil record is unclear on this point. In any case, I’d like to push the start of the art in ego-surfing to the new frontier of social bookmarking.
Some of you will already know about del.icio.us, the clever site that lets you share your bookmarks with other people. One of the interesting features of the site is that it tells you how many other people have bookmarked the same URL. In this way, you can get a sense for the general popularity of a site. For instance, 3708 people have bookmarked google.com (for reasons that are unclear to me). Slashdot.org has been bookmarked 13,473 times. The Funeral Quest product page has been noted by only three people, including myself.
In my copious spare time, I began to wonder if anything I’ve written has been noted by anyone (outside of family). Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Here’s how del.icio.us users remember me:
- why PHP 0wnz mod_perl: 15 other people
- Journal of jjohn: Snow Fudge, a recipe: 1 person
- Intelligent Design critique: 1 person
- Markov Blogger code: 1person
According to del.icio.us, I’m best remembered for slagging Perl, ID and blogging. Super! I’m pretty happy that someone found my fudge recipe interesting enough to remember.
There’s a lot of money to be made feeding people’s egos. Think of social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us and social networking sites like orkut and friendster and more generic hangouts like myspace. Clearly, there’s some kind of business opportunity in ego massaging.
Must remember that next time I talk to VCs.