I got a ping. I would have mentioned it earlier, but I had no idea what it meant. A few days ago, I checked my Dashboard and there it was—snagged by the Spam filter. Most of my Spam has key words that alert me that the sender isn’t sincerely complimenting my blog. This one had a guy’s name, and an excerpt from the post I’d completed mere minutes earlier.
“What in the world?” says I. “Someone stole my idea. And they wrote it in my own words!” I quickly approved the message so I could read the rest—after all, I could tell it was a great post.
Approving it meant that WordPress put the message in the comments section for Library Thing. When I clicked on the embedded link, it took me to a site where the same message was repeated, telling the world my write up about Library Thing was interesting and entertaining. Clicking on it gave me a popup window containing my own post. How weird is that? However, I write suspense/mystery stories, so I deduced that Googling the poster’s name would tell me whether I should believe he really thought my post was interesting or was just leading me on.
He’s real. A young man out West who writes for a newspaper, name withheld to protect his reputation, actually liked what I wrote. Or, he might have posted it in order to improve his Google ranking. I don’t understand how that works, and wouldn’t have thought of it on my own, but my research suggests it is possible a Spam program picked up my post based on key words and stuck it on a news site automatically. That’s what some pings do.
I choose to trust this man’s taste and honesty, so I’m believing that he complimented me instead of spammed me. We are now linked in mysterious ways that only a techie can understand. It’s not quite as special as a first date, and we aren’t BFFs (If that doesn’t mean Best Friends Forever, someone please tell me.)But he’s my first ping, and I ping him back.
Seriously, some pings and pingbacks are legitimate notifications that a post has been mentioned somewhere else, and a link back to the original is included there so other people can read the whole thing. Both sites must have software enabling this process. If you’re interested, there’s more technical stuff about pings and their cousins, trackbacks, at:
Edited to add: I learn something new all the time! By embedding the link to the post about Library Thing, this posting is now pinging me, too. It feels sort of like I’m talking to myself…
Does anyone know if deleting the “pings” from my comments section will also remove the links that are embedded in the posts? Or can I delete the comments and keep the pings?
Edit April 17, 2009: Kaspars, a physics student and web designer, gave me an excellent explanation about pings and trackbacks in the comments section of this post. Take a look. Also, his blog has lots of interesting information, some about technical things, like widgets, and other more general topics. I’ve added him to my helpful links page, but you can also reach him by clicking here.