Thursday, August 17, 2006

Web finds

Ah, Sarah, I understand your addiction to Google Earth. Isn’t it amazing and bewildering how something on the web can capture and hold our attention?

For me, it’s a new feature on my web site called a Clustrmap. All it does is record a hit to the web site, then put a location dot on a map. That’s all it does. It doesn’t tell me who the person is, or give me an email address. The program isn’t capable of gathering information such as whether the person visited the site on purpose or if they just stumbled across it. All it tells me is where in the world the hit came from.

And it’s fascinating!

I’m really bummed about the lack of hits from the upper west of the U.S., but am consoled by hits from other continents. I understand the dots in the eastern European countries because both of my publishers have sold foreign rights to my books in many of those countries. I even understand the dots in the Middle East because I’ve sent books to soldiers serving in the area. I have a friend in Hawaii. The dot in SE Wisconsin is probably mostly me, and the one in Phoenix is likely my mother.

The dot that truly captures my imagination is the one off the east coast of Africa, out in the middle of the ocean. I have to wonder if there’s an island under that dot. Or is someone on a cruise and that’s where they happened to be when they got bored at looking at the ocean and decided to use the computers on the ship, and for Lord knows what reason decided to surf over to my web site? Or maybe that person is a woman of considerable wealth, aboard her yacht, her laptop sitting on the glass-topped table next to her flute of champagne …. Okay, so maybe not, but maybe ….

The whole thing just goes to prove how truly small a world we live in, and how our books touch more people’s lives than we probably realize. It’s both an ego boost and humbling.

To see the map, go to and scroll down to the bottom of the main page. Click on the Zoom icon to see a bigger map with the dots more clearly defined. And if you happen to be that person in the ocean off of Africa, write me a note, will you?

Shari Anton





jackie said...

I am so tempted to look up this Clustrmap, but I'm afraid that if I do I'll never get any work accomplished because I'll be so distracted. Things like that amuse me and ignite my imagination as well. :)

Shari Anton said...

I hear you, Jackie! Which is why I'm glad that while the "count" is updated every day, the map only updates every "percentage" of hits, otherwise I'd be checking it every five minutes and get Nothing done!