the internet knows

I occasionally look through my site statistics page to see how many people are viewing the site, what they’re looking at, where they’re looking from (Brunei Darussalam? Tuvalu?!), and how they’re getting here.

It’s that last part that can provide the real entertainment. Plenty of links from friends’ and other PCVs’ websites: cool but not surprising. Cannibalized source code, including entire blog entries, on under-construction sites: kinda obnoxious (god knows I stole code, but I at least picked new fonts), kinda flattering, but not surprising.

Then there are the random ego-boosts. I hear from a lot of prospective volunteers who have enjoyed my site or found it helpful, and sometimes I swear the most valuable thing I’m doing over here is giving Peace Corps moms back in the US some idea of what their kids are up to overseas. And that’s cool—being a useful source of information about Peace Corps was one of my main goals with the website (the other being to keep my own mother happy, naturally). But it’s awesome to find unexpected thank-yous or REALLY unexpected listings.

Then there’s the freaky stuff the internet gets up to when you’re not looking.

Exhibit A:, a site dedicated to bringing you “images and informations about men’s efforts in flexibility.” My role in promoting “men’s flexibility at it’s best”? Someone apparently came across and submitted to the site’s collection my photo of Bryan drinking a beer with his foot. Poor Bryan knew nothing about this until I sent him the link. Odd? Yes. Kinda creepy? Perhaps. Being included among the illustrious ranks of the highly flexible?



Exhibit B: Random German girl’s website.

This is where it gets creepy.

So this person, Claudia, has pages about being a lesbian (good for you!), hot chicks (great!), what AltaVista translates as “life assistance” (alrighty), sign language (that’s nice), and cutting (um. super?). And then she also has a page of friends.

Scroll to the bottom.

Apparently—little did I know—I’m living a double life as Judith, friend of random German girl, and (again, according to AltaVista) “We know each other now already eternally.”

Um. I, uh. I mean…


The part that I don’t understand is who’s doing the pretending here. Did Judith swipe my photo and pass it off to Claudia as her own? Possible, except that the photo is being taken directly from my site—dear Claudia had to either type or cut & paste that link into her source code. So how could she not know that I’m not Judith? Has she constructed an entire page of imaginary friends? Should I just take it as a compliment that I was cute enough to merit either impersonation or… what? wishful thinking?

Either way, a response was called for. The solution? Replace the linked photo with this and wait to see what happens:

I don't know you.

And that is my cross-cultural exchange for the day. Thanks, Internet.

7 replies on “the internet knows”

So, who owns anything once photos and blog entries are posted? I’m fascinated by how easily and how far your stuff travels. There’s a PCV that’s just lifting your blog entries and posting them as his own on his own site? Doesn’t it bother you that unscrupulous creeps are stealing like that? I guess I keep thinking about what happens when/if you choose to publish your writing or your photos and find that your work is already out there in forms that you have no control over. Maybe I’m old fashioned to worry about this. This post was scary reading for me.

clare, you’re famous. i love what you did with the photo. poor brian. do you think our old yoga instructor has found your page and drools over him in the dark every night?

HECK, FUH-REAKIN’, YES!!! first of all, awesome. second of all, i think i recognize the “queen of ravishing beauty.” let us know if anything comes of your switch-er-oo.

The lifted blog entries are simply being used as place holders on a site that is being constructed from my site’s code. Which is fine — I borrowed from a lot of people to make my final design… but the point is that it was MY design in the end.

I probably need to stick more copyright notices around… Kathryn, isn’t this your specialty? 😉


i’ve friends and siblings who have had entire entries and photos lifted from their blogs to be claimed by someone else. one person had swiped manhattan photos from a person living there and claimed them as his neighborhood in d.c. wtf? i don’t understand why people feel the need to steal other people’s memories. what weirdos.

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