Thursday, February 11, 2010

A curious one

Like many persistent bloggers, I used to monitor the traffic stats on my various blogs with the intensity once displayed by a Roman priest studying the entrails. I gave this up because, while of great interest, I was suddenly short of time. So I have only just realised that I am coming up to 70,000 visits on this blog, not far below 30,000 on the New England Australia blog. In both cases I am using the Bravenet counter because the other includes my visits.

The 30,000 on the New England blog is actually quite remarkable for this was a low traffic blog for a very long time. After all, it is a purely regional blog.

While I no longer monitor the stats with the same degree of intensity, I do check who comes, from where and the referral source because this gives me a feel for the interests of my readers. Checking today, I found that I had had a visits to today's main post,Thursday Jottings, from Media Monitor's Media portal. This was, to my knowledge, a first and gave me a slightly odd feeling.

For the benefit of international readers, Media Monitors is a leading Australian media monitoring service. I have used them in the past and they are pretty good, especially on the print/TV side. But why the odd feeling?

Well, the blogs are on the public record and, like all of us, I do want to be read. I am also actually quite careful in what I say because, given the way that I have defined my blogging role, I do have a duty of care to my readers. This may sound a bit pretentious, and perhaps it is, but I think that all serious bloggers think about this.

I also know from the ISP addresses of visitors that I do get visits from official IP addresses in Sydney and Canberra in particular.

All this said, the fact that the media monitoring services have not been especially good at picking up the diverse and fragmented blogging community gave me a certain illusory feeling of privacy. When I made a passing reference to a topic in my Armidale Express column, Media Monitors picked it up within days. I know, because a friend rang me to say that it had been included in her Department's press clipping service. Yet none of my posts on that topic were, to my knowledge, included at any time.

I am not vain enough to think that this is anymore than a one-off. However, it is a reminder to those of us who blog for a combination of professional as well as personal that what we say stands in the public domain.

I have written on this one before, focused especially on the need to manage our electronic footprints. Mine just grew like topsy turvey, with thousands of references now on-line. You can't hide.

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