A junkie in a sea of data

Dave Pell has written about this before.

Just days after he was added to The Deck advertising network, just days after he opened the doors to his house to let in the uncivilized hoards, and, presumably, just days after his crack-cocaine-like addiction to website analytics began, Dave wrote about the plight of a man addicted to quantifying his own popularity.

He wrote eloquently about how this plight would eventually (soon?) be the cause of his demise, leaving him a homeless, lonesome, broken man.

He writes:

If Facebook and Twitter are the recreational party drugs of this era, then realtime website analytics programs are like oxycontin, crack, PCP, meth and uncut Red Bull all blended into a combustible concoction that is self-administered via a slow but constant ethernet-to-intravenous drip.

The article leaves you strangely uneasy as you glance inwardly at yourself, measuring up all of your obsessive, minute-to-minute data-checking behaviours against his.

—”I’m not that bad, am I?”
You pray. But already you know that it’s true.

The real uneasy part of the article, however, comes at the end when Dave admits to us, and perhaps for the first time to himself, that there is no cure. There is no cure, no remedy, no behaviour pattern you can begin to modify. There isn’t even so much as a shred of hope that you might actually be able to beat this thing. By the time you even identify with this article or his, it’s already too late. You’re already checking to see how many hits you’ve had today, how many pingbacks, how many @replies, how many retweets.

By the time you’ve read this, you’re all ready a desperate, ravenous, hopeless data junkie, walking the earth aimlessly searching for your next traffic spike. You’re just another ‘statistic’ if you’ll allow me the pun.

You poor, poor soul.