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The Democratization of Media & Tracking Visitors on ahelms.com

A couple of years ago I was listening to an acquaintance who works for CNN speak about how what “news” is reported by mainstream media is driven by advertising revenue. It does not matter how trivial or trite the content may be, if it generates revenue it will take precedence over meaningful stories. In the last two years I’ve read The Lexus and the Olive Tree and The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. Friedman astutely and clairvoyantly predicted the democratization of media, which is to say that individuals will determine what is meaningful and what becomes “news”. One such tool that democratizes media at least in terms of online media and blogs is digg, which is a social bookmarking tool. del.icio.us is a similar tool. The way these tools work is quite simple.

Once you have an account with the site, you submit links to your favorite items on the web to the tool. You may have noticed the buttons at the end of individual posts on ahelms.com and other less interesting sites like the sites of the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Economist. These buttons make it super easy to bookmark the item whether it be a blog post, article, video, or book you want to buy. The social part comes into play because you can share your favorites with friends, family and the tool’s community. With digg, as soon as a page gets dugg it appears in the upcoming part of digg‘s page. If more people find the page digg-able, then the page will end up on digg‘s homepage and/or digg‘s top ten. As you digg, you are democratizing content. Social bookmarking sites vary in functionality and purpose; this is a quick and dirty explanation for novices.

I added social bookmarking buttons in the middle of August to the end of my posts and was interested to see what kind of effect they would have, if any, on traffic. In my post Aug 2 post, Statistics, Motivation, Syndication, Weight Loss and the Like I reported that there were 250 visitors and 1,139 visits to ahelms.com in July. The first post that I submitted to digg was my wife’s post on God’s Grace In the Midst of Marital Bliss. I don’t remember what time I submitted it, but it seemed to be an abject failure as nobody else dugg the post and it got 36 pageviews. The next post I submitted to digg was my review of Radiohead’s new album In Rainbows. When compared to other posts on ahelms.com it was a smashing success. It was dugg just three more times, but digg sent 123 visitors to my page. The last post I dugg was the post on ticketmaster’s itunes promotion on facebook. While nobody else dugg it, digg was the source of 69 visitors. This is all to say that digg has had a profound impact on traffic to ahelms.com.

Here are some more statistics and pretty graphics.

This map overlay makes me wonder: do citizens of Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi not have Internet access? Or are our interests so different? I did not include Alaska on that list because although it shows white, there is a faithful visitor in Anchorage that pops up frequently: Google Analytics is not perfect.

Traffic is trending upward.

The following chart shows a breakout of visitors to ahelms.com by country.

Visitors by Country

As I’ve said in the past, the purpose of the site is purely for my enjoyment and edification. Thanks for reading.

Donna J said,

November 8, 2007 @ 8:55 am

I am tired of reading this blog. Post something new.

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