Where Are You?

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog, but soon they’ll know exactly where your doghouse is. Despite the mysterious whereless possibilities of cyberspace, it turns out that not only do websites want to know where you are, you want to tell other people where you are too. This New York Times article on Online Locator Software talks about how commercial content providers want to know your surfing address for the same reason TV broadcasters do: markets behave geographically. That’s not so surprising, but wouldn’t you expect people to want to hide behind the location-free anonymity of the web? Not so. The GeoURL server allows websites to attach themselves to physical locations on the globe, and it’s quite popular. Only today, fifty people added themselves to the list, and there are more than 12,000 sites catalogued so far. Cyberspace permits rootlessness, but the humans that inhabit cyberspace crave roots. When I look at the logs for my site, I want to know the same thing: where are you? Australia? Germany? Canada? Next door? Does it matter? Yes it does. I have spent a long time, for example, reading through kuro5hin’s Roll Call posting. kuro5hin is a popular site, and the roll call post just asks people to say who they are. The results are fascinating.

So who are you? And where are you? For the record, this blog comes to you from Watertown, Massachusetts, USA, just outside of Boston. Anyway, remember, you leave a lot more footprints than you think wherever you go, and they all lead straight back to your door. Hope that’s okay with you, $BLOG_VISITOR_NAME.