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Hit counts are a head trip
Dec 11, 1995 :: Michael Sippey

OK, so you probably noticed the logo in the upper right hand corner of the front page (unless you're using AOL's browser, in which case God only knows where it showed up). (Editor's note -- The Obvious has been through a couple of redesigns since this piece originally ran, and I've removed the CSoTD logo, thank God.) I logged on last Friday morning, and had about twenty messages in my mail account from people I'd never met before, commenting on last week's piece on Java. Plus one message from the folks at, letting me know that my site had been selected as Cool Site of the Day. Which was cool. But it was weird. Very weird.

You see, until last Friday, the only people that ever read my page were the close friends I badgered into it. And they were usually like "hmmm, clever, Michael. But why, exactly are you spending your time doing this?" And then last Friday I had something like 12,000 people hit my front page.

I had messages from people who agreed with what I had to say about Java. And I had messages from people who thought I was nuts. I had a couple people flame me for not taking into account Microsoft's announcement on Thursday re. licensing Java (didn't they notice the tagline? or the dateline on the piece?). I got a message from someone at c|net who was upset that I berated their "news ticker." I had one guy offer me free web space on his server (thanks, but no thanks). I got a message from Craig Reynolds, which was a treat, because he's one of my geek heros.

But the kicker was a message from "Tara Hartwick." Tara is the main character at the Spot. But Tara ain't real; Tara's a creation of some ad agency. And Tara wanted me to link my pages to the Spot. Well, OK, Tara, there's your link. (Shit, I'd put up an ad banner for the Spot if you paid me.) But I have to let you know something -- I hate the Spot. I'd much rather visit The Squat, or Too Hot for the Spot. The Spot sucks. If you want a daily dose of soap opera, check out Bryon instead. At least his stuff is real.

All in all, I think I had around 12,000 people visit the site on Friday. Which is really odd, since in a normal week I maybe get 100 hits. Maybe.

But you know what? It really doesn't matter. Because hit counts are a head trip.

Sure, I love the fact that so many people read my page. What red-blooded web publisher wouldn't love 12,000 hits on their personal site? But you see, hit counts aren't what it's all about. It's about connecting.

I don't publish this thing to attract thousands of mindless surfers. I publish it out of some strange urge to let my friends (and anyone else who stumbles upon it) know what's on my mind when it comes to technology and the web. I keep doing it because occasionally a friend will send me some feedback, telling me I'm absolutely wrong (or absolutely right), and that I should get back to work (or quit my job and do this full time).

And I do it because there are some clever things you can do with hypertext. (I betcha you just blew right by that "Microsoft" link up there, didn't ya. Well? Get back up there and check it out.)



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