whistlestop caboose

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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Martialling Internet numbers, artfully

Okay, this will not come as a surprise to anyone under 20, maybe not even under 30, but for the rest of us, I think it takes a personal awakening to realize just how big the Internet is, and how it really does connect people for the first time, in a way nothing else has.

A martial arts awakening

My awakening came today, when I learned that a boy can flip his way around the world and get thousands to watch, almost effortlessly (well, learning to flip is an effort and so is travelling, sometimes). I've written about him before. We're related.

This week I have been reading Naked Conversations by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble, a well-written, interesting look at how blogging is changing the business world. I will review it here once I finish it, but so far one of the things that has made an impact is the numbers they use. We're not just talking about the number of bloggers in the world, somewhere so far into the millions that the last number I saw (48 million?) three months or so ago must be well out of date. Would anyone like to contribute their educated guess at the current blogging population?

Numbers this size are hard to absorb. When Scoble and Israel talk about numbers, though, gently pushing home their point about Internet interconnectivity, the digits start to register. Three high school kids who created a little software so they could chat with 40 friends - within two months there were 65,000 downloads and 26 months later they had racked up 25 million downloads (read the book to find out how much money they made selling it to AOL). A little later Skype comes along and collects 25 million users in 19 months for its online phone service. Then Firefox, a new browser, reaches 25 million downloads in 99 days.

But these are the big guys, I think, even if they started little. The rest of us still think in smaller terms, I console myself, as I try to work out the potential readership for an online news stream called GenevaLunch that goes live soon. Newspapers and magazines count readers in thousands and hundreds of thousands - over the million mark in big cities like New York, for a major newspaper. TV networks in the U.S. do better.

When the New York Times can't compete

Traditional media, including the big guys, start to look really small - something I've been reading about for years in Ad Age and Publishers Weekly, two industry bibles, but I had managed to ignore the news. Scoble and Israel were beginning to convince me, I realized earlier today.

And then Liam checked his reports, for the first time, from Google video: 66,000 views. And more on YouTube.


I finally got the message.


Blogger Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Hi Ellen,

As somone over 30 and not even two years in to this business of blogging and forums, I am amazed on a regular basis at the power of this medium and the connections it can make. I learn as I go how to use that power to my advantage, yet I have no real goal or destination in mind. I have also noted a dark side.

For you GenevaLunch may be a different story. Good exposure and plenty of readers may be the desired result. What I have learned is a major key is links. The more sites that link to GenevaLunch and sites linked from there the better.

Check out Sitemeter.com. You can add it to your blog and it will tell you how much traffic you get even without anyone leaving a comment. It will tell you way more than that too.

Technorati.com is the encyclopedia of blogs.

An e-zine may be a slightly different animal but the same connection theories will probably apply. Content is of course important to keep readers coming back and to build over time. If you are one of the contributors and have others of your caliber for GenevaLunch it should be a great site to visit.

7:42 AM  
Blogger whistlestop caboose said...

Christopher http://tropicalembellishments.blogspot.com/,

Thanks for the useful tips and support for the new site, especially given that you're in Hawaii and not likely to be a regular visitor to Geneva, Switzerland!

I use Sitemeter for whistlestopcaboose, but you have to go to the end of the page to see it, so I don't suppose many people look. I don't think many people who visit my site are aware yet that there are comments and they can comment - this is a first-time blog visit place for many. I'll do a bit of posting on that soon.

When I get around (soon! of course!) to adding a blogroll of blogs I like to visit, and other useful bits of information, I will move the site meter higher. I myself use it and recommend it to anyone else with a blog because you suddenly start to get a very clear picture of who is visiting your blog and why. The longer you have a blog and the more you post, the more visitors who find their way to you through search engines.

And you're absolutely right that linking is a key part of all this. A site with really useful links is worth its weight in gold to me.

GenevaLunch will get off to a quiet start, much as most blogs do, rather than corporate web sites with big PR and marketing boosts. We'll be testing the power of the web and word of mouth. As the site grows and the links are built and the conversations get started we will give it a PR boost here and there, as well, for those in the region who are not yet bloggers are even regular web site visitors.

12:04 PM  

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