And what I do with that information.
If you will notice at the bottom of the right hand sidebar there is a small sitemeter icon. It tells me how many hits this blog gets, a general location and partial IP of where the hit is coming from, when it happened, how long the person was here and how many pages they looked at, if they were referred here from another site, and if they exited via a link. Some blogs leave this information available to everyone who stops in. I have it passworded so only I can see it. If you don’t want to leave these kinds of tracks, you will need to get an anonymizer of some kind. I use the free version of sitemeter which tracks the most recent 100 visitors. After that the information scrolls off the screen. So, generally, I only have a day’s statistics at a time.
Having this information allows me to tailor the content of the blog to what readers seem to want. About a third of my visitors come here via search engines, often having typed in the names of candidates, bills, and so on. This has encouraged me to continue doing candidate interviews, the weekly legislative updates, and other lengthy time consuming projects. People are using them and coming back to them months after they are posted. This makes me very happy. These items seldom generate a lot of comments and without usage statistics I would assume they weren’t attracting any interest and stop.
“Aha,” you may say, “but what else do you do with that information besides sit around and feel smug?” Good question. Let me answer it. These rules are general and I have broken each of them at least once. In my view if you can reach the bar easily it is set too low. So I set the standards a little higher and sometimes make exceptions depending on circumstances.
In general I keep usage information to myself. If I have posted an interview or lengthy posting on a candidate and am on good terms with someone at that campaign I sometimes tell them how many people have been looking at it. If there is a sudden rush of interest in a particular item and I am on good terms with someone at that campaign I might tell them there is a sudden rush of interest. For the most part I keep the specifics private, though there have been exceptions.
You are welcome to leave comments here, either attached to a blogger profile or anonymously. Some people adopt pseudonyms so they are anonymous but tagged as the same person who had stopped in to comment before. This is fine with me and it is actually nice to know some of the same people are stopping back in. I have no problem with people associated with a campaign leaving anonymous comments. Paid campaign staff are welcome to leave occasional comments, even anonymously, especially if they provide clarification or correct a misconception, but I’d rather they didn’t paper the blog with propaganda. Note that I do not use profanity or vulgar language (at least here). I would prefer that people not use that kind of language in comments. I’d like the blog to be available in public libraries and other places that might have filters installed. I would rather not have a lot of mean-spirited ad hominim attacks. If you like or dislike a candidate by all means express yourself but back up your opinions with something substantive. “Candidate X kicks puppies,” just doesn’t cut it. If someone makes a nuisance of themselves I will let them know nicely once, maybe twice, and then review my options. In general I don’t delete comments. Two exceptions have been (1) when people became involved in a series of personal attacks on each other with a lot of cursing and name calling, and (2) when one post had to be altered and the comments no longer made sense.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
And what I do with that information.