We spend a lot of time using the Internet as a mirror. A lot of the time we use it as a big mirror that helps us see the people who think like us or talk like us or dress like us.
Many web tools succeed by helping us focus that big mirror down towards a reflection that looks more and more like us — for example, my ongoing preoccupation with tag-enabled sites that let me find people who share my interests.
But at the end of the day, the most sought-after mirror may be the mirror of one: the web site that lets you keep track of you. My conversations with tag and RSS users suggests that a lot of their work goes into keeping track of what people say or think about them personally.
And I’m not immune. That’s why I was delighted to realize that I can create a
del.icio.us vanity feed to keep track of how many people are bookmarking my tagging story (ten so far, but who’s counting… Oh yeah: I am.)
Anyone care to hazard a guess as to how much web traffic is accounted for by these sorts of vanity searches and feeds? I’m guessing that vanity feeds account for a bigger proportion of RSS feed subscriptions than vanity searches account for in the big picture of Google searches.