Monday, March 16, 2009

Am I a StatCounter-holic???

Well, Webb-ed Feet is just over one week old, and I have to say that I'm really enjoying being an active participant in the blogosphere, after many years as a 'lurker'. That said, you do learn a lot as a lurker, and you never cease being a lurker on some sites.  I do think that having your own blog gives you more confidence to comment on others, and maybe commenting on others' gives you more confidence to blog.

However, one thing I've noticed is that I've become a bit of an addict, and I'm blaming it on my StatCounter/Feedjit/Clustrmap!  It's hard to resist the urge to open the old MacBook for a quick peek, see if the counter's gone up, ultimately to see who, 'out there', is reading.  I get a bit of a thrill seeing those little red dots pop up, and wondering who it could be in Venezuela or New York that's reading. 

I'd love to hear from other bloggers out there - do you experience this as well? At least did you in the early days? Clearly those bloggers with thousands of readers are not going to jump up and down over one more red dot. Or are they?... Here's one example of similar sentiment, and the StatCounter User Forum even has a thread on this.

Thinking about my own experience here, I think when getting students to create their own blogs, I would almost certainly recommend that they put a Clustrmap on their blog. One of the key advantages of blogging as a student publishing tool is that it connects them with a real, global audience, and Clustrmaps etc, give them proof that they are being read, and hopefully will motivate them to write more.

Even better than red dots, however, are comments - a blogger's food. This to me is really what blogging is all about - starting a conversation and developing ideas as others add their perspectives. 

So, as always, comments please!


  1. Don't forget that the Web trail may not be telling you the whole truth about visitors. As far as I can tell, I appear on your site as being a visitor from Cambridge, UK, rather than from 200 miles north. This I put down to AOL UK having being bought out by a British ISP, because before that I used to be tagged as a voyeur from Virginia, USA. So that lurker from "New York" might just be Kraig from Kristchurch ...or one of his aliases.

    Going off at a tangent ... three fascinating sites for surname distribution, origins & frequency:

    - Meanings & UK distribution according to 19C and 20C census data:

    - Frequency of given & family name combinations in USA:

    - Ditto for UK (love the illiterate web address):

    When the first site was set up, it was supposed to be the first stage of a project that would allow plotting of emigration trails to the USA and Australasia, but sadly this seems not to have happened ...

  2. Interesting observation - I was wondering about that Cambridge IP!

    I'll have to have a look at those websites, see how spread out the Clan are these days! One thing I've always wondered is how many people there still are with the surname 'Hitler'. Did they all change their name by deed poll in 1945? Hmmm.

    Speaking of Hitler, and from our 'just for a laugh' department (not that those two items are often found in the same sentence...), have a look at Yes, some cats really do look like Hitler!

  3. Hi Craig
    I have enjoyed reading through your blog posts, having been directed here from your comment on my recent post. I have added it to my RSS feed as you have lots of great material here.
    I think that the topic you have posted on here is one that a lot of people can relate to, but have a reluctance to admit to! I did a similar post last year .
    However I think that the point made on an Artichoke post in 2008 about what those red dots on your map actually mean is important to consider to inject some reality into the excitement. Did that person actually read my post or did they just surf through as they clicked the 'next Blog' button at the top of Blogger?
    Whatever the 'statistics' represent, I know from my work and research that they can have a powerful effect on students' motivation to share their work online.

  4. PS. Did you know that all the traffic from schools using schoolzone shows as coming from Otaki? Quite disconcerting for the students!

  5. Thanks Dorothy, really appreciate the support. Glad to know I'm not the only one obsessing!! I agree, it would be nice if each dot was a subscriber, but alas, when I check "recent visitor activity" on StatCounter, some of the visit lengths are 0 seconds!

    I read a great post by Steve Dembo at about what constitutes success as a blogger anyway. Personally I get a lot of fulfilment out of the process despite my relatively small audience. Have to start somewhere!

    BTW, how do you hyperlink in comments? Been puzzling over this for a while...