Magazine article Information Today

True Confessions: Why I Blog

Magazine article Information Today

True Confessions: Why I Blog

Article excerpt

Early in October, the folks behind Google Reader ( released a new feature that caused an uproar in the blogging community. You could actually figure out (with numerous mathematical steps) how many users subscribed to the feed for your blog (

This suddenly made it easy to look at your own readership and others' as well. Within seconds, I looked up my blog, saw my numbers, and began talking to myself. That number isn't right, no way. It couldn't be that high. So, I compared it with other library blogs. I have more subscribers than that librarian? I can't believe she has more than me. I composed a few emails to family and friends asking them to take a look.

Why I Blog

OK, I am the first to admit that one of the reasons I blog is to get noticed. In the beginning, I started my Library Stuff blog to force myself to keep up with library news. I continued because it was doing wonders for my career. Then, I continued because I was in the position to use it to market companies for which I worked. Now, I blog for three equal reasons: to keep current, to market, and to seek attention.

I have always thought that the pure nature of blogs as public Web presences implies the author's need to be noticed. Think about it for a moment. We play with our sites so that we can get in the top 10 results in the major search engines for certain keywords, and we don't sell anything material in nature. In fact, we are selling our knowledge, and we want others to see it. Why would we make it public if there wasn't a small part of our beings that didn't wish for more readers? It's human nature.

Checking Out the Numbers

I'm not a statistics addict, but I do check a few sites to see how good ol' Library Stuff is faring. I look at my internal stats (powered by Google's Urchin, each morning during my commute to work, but I also check a few other resources that measure popularity, some of which let you pit your statistics against others. Statistics can be fun, and they can be a valid measure of a person's reach as a writer and blogger.

One tool that I look at is Alexaholic (, which is put out by Alexa, one of the oldest measurement tools on the Web. Alexa's statistics count hits from a Web site over a certain period of time, but it obtains its data only from users who have installed the Alexa toolbar on their browsers. Right away, you can see the problem. …

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