Late at night, when I need a sense of the zeitgeist of the world, sometimes I have fun with rdr.to, which is a program like tinyurl — it produces very short redirect urls out of very long ones. It produces URLs in a form as follows:
which will coincidentally take you to a report on Wikimania in Serbian. Which is awesome, especially the translation of my name. Click back and forth between Cyrillic & Latin characters for extra unicode fun.
But I digress.
RDR urls are always in the easy-to-remember form of LETTER-NUMBER. They are, furthermore, sequential. This of course means that you can spy on other people’s links. http://rdr.to/S3, for instance, turns out to be pretty good. Most of the links are simply to long articles on various topics; tech and geek seems to dominate (a goatse tshirt turns up). There’s the odd bit of porn. Funny products on Amazon (the landcruiser tank showed up twice). Many now-broken news stories. A map to an address in Chicago, and perhaps particularly poignant, a link to dictionary.com’s word of the day archive, which was for Pyrrhic victory.
There is no note of who made these links, or for what purpose; no record of who bookmarked them, or of whether the address was for a party or a job interview. There is no memory of their past; the fingerprints on these links tell me nothing, like a detective looking at door handles in a crowded room.