2005-04-11: Brought to you by number one
Joao Simoes might be a genius.
Between January and May of 2003, he traveled through the backwaters and country lanes of the web looking for moments of true web zen. His goal: to be the first visitor to an apparently active web page, as evidenced by the pageís hit counter.
For example: The hit counter is definitely a relic of the early web.
Olia Lialina may have missed a trick in her text about the vernacular web. True headz donít use them any more - now that we have fancy tools like Webalizer, the little clicker doesnít have quite the same appeal it used to. Maybe this is because they were abused by people who Ďpaddedí them by a few hundred thousand here or there. If I see a stat counter reading anything over 136, then I get suspicious. But to find a brand-spanking-new, never-been-hit counter? Thatís purely quixotic. Did the siteís creator never look at their own page? Didnít the webmaster know to start the counter at 53,042 instead of zero? Was the page never visited by the Google bot?
In spite of the challenges, I can understand why Simoes went on this search. These pages have never before been seen by human eyes. Itís like excavating King Tutís tomb or something - the thrill of discovery. And if youíre lucky, this thrill can one day be yours. Iíve decided to conduct an experiment. Iím inserting a web counter in this blog post. The next visitor will see that big number one roll up on your screen. Whoever you are, could you leave a comment and tell us how it made you feel, so we can live vicariously through you?
Raiders of the Lost ArtBase
by Michael Connor
Joseph Ernst private collection
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