From Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing edited by Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith:
In 2006, America Online (AOL) accidentally released the search queries from some 20 million of its customers. The users were anonymous, identified by numerical tags, and no IP addresses were disclosed, though many were easily identified with a quick triangulation of data. Thomas Claburn quickly recognized the literary potential of this cache, publishing the data from one user with only minor formatting changes to aid readability. As Claburn explains:
Within the third of the ten files of user search queries AOL mistakenly released (user-ct-test-collection-03), there’s a poem of sorts. Between May 7 and May 31 of this year, AOL user 23187425 submitted a series of more than 8,200 queries with no evident intention of finding anything—only a handful of the entries are paired with a search results URL. Rather, the author’s series of queries forms a stream-of-consciousness soliloquy.
Whether it’s fact or fiction, confession or invention, the search monologue is strangely compelling. It’s a uniquely temporal literary form in that the server time stamps make the passage of time integral to the storytelling. It could be the beginning of a new genre of writing, or simply an aberration. But it does beg further explanation. What circumstances prompted the author to converse thus with AOL’s search engine?
All queries are from User:23187425.
my bed time you have bless night see you later yellow notice for cable joe did want miss tv had it put on basic cable did watch tv alot wal-mart 13” for 59.00 i look at everything isle of black and white nice patio pillows not rain proof mean yes fit in my chairs go back over lowes has some red setting looking for four be here for life feel better after i type to you i feel better after i type to you joe blue line thank you