The web has its own version of the time/space continuum. It's kinda two dimensional when you look at it on a screen, but those dimensions are fluid. It's also kinda no dimensional since the bits and electric pulses that make it up aren't really physical. The sense of Time on the web is getting slipperier every day. You have to push out something new all the time if you want to get noticed and stay relevant, but all that content can stick around in weird ways.

Case in point, I just googled "camera bits" which is the company that makes Photo Mechanic. Even though the link I wanted was the first result returned, the fifth link on the page caught my eye because it had a long title. Specifically, "Rob Galbraith DPI: Camera Bits announces Here I Am photo tracking". I glanced at the article and it didn't make sense, it's about tracking software that can be slid into photos that allow them to be tracked. Because of the way photos are stored on computers this shouldn't be possible, so I started to read for real. Then I noticed the date the article was published: Friday, April 1, 2005.

Dates in articles are generally blind spots that we blow right past. In this case, it created a little dissonance since I wasn't ready for an April Fool's Day joke on March 11. Welcome to wobbly internet time.


The good news for the folks at Camera Bits is that their actual company still gets top google results, but it's not too hard to imagine the fake article getting the top billing. While most users would make it to them eventually, it would be a tough break to try to deal with. If you run a business and you want a reminder of why you don't want to piss off search engines, this should do. Imagine if customers searching for your site were all directed to joke pages about your company on other web sites.

The internet is a wildly powerful communications tool, but we'd all do well to remember that just a few companies and organizations have immense control over the direction of that power.