In high school, I ran these dinky websites where I'd rant about my problems and my poetry (see how I've matured! Now it's my problems and my bookshelf), and a lot of the hosting sites offered free web counters so I could monitor how many people happened upon my site.
I was a big fan of the free web counters. They made me feel popular. Now, the sad thing was that, if my counter hit 100, chances were good that, say, 92 of those would be me checking to see if anybody'd signed my guestbook, and the other 8 would be a couple of friends and my parents.
As I'm sure you can imagine, it got sort of depressing. After a while, I didn't feel popular at all.
So, when I set up this blog, I was a little reluctant to dig into the web counters--but when I did, hoo doggie! Technology, she is a-changin'!
For example, now I don't have to post a counter right on my site where all the world can see that, wow, 5 people have visited my site. No, I get a tasteful little graphic (with an alarmingly Gestapo logo) that sits off in my sidebar, slyly counting folks as they pass through the turn-stile.
And then--get this--I can go check my Site Stats and see who's been on my site.
That's right. Not "how many" people have visited my site, but "who".
Yeah. I can look at what sort of browser you folks are using to read this. What kind of computer you've got. How many times you've been back. I can see what site you were referred from--did you get here via bookmark? From my profile? Were you randomly shuffled here, courtesy of the Next Blog button? I can find out.
Dunno about you, but damn, that makes me paranoid. I mean, if this is the free technology, what're the guys with money finding out?
(The moral of this particular story? Leave me comments, so I don't have to resort to spying. I like you. I want to know you were here.)