Thursday, December 24, 2009

Different media, different audiences?

I currently partake of three different web-based networking media--this blog, facebook, and twitter.  There are many differences amongst these, but today, I am thinking about one--audiences.

I cannot control who visits this blog, and I, because of self-recognized desire for attention, do not mind this lack of control. It does shape what I say somewhat, but not too much.  Filtering has never been a strength for me.   I track the volume out of curiosity, and find it interesting that (for at least the last month or so):
  • The posts that have thus far gotten the most visits are the ones that addressed the swim club controversy and the anxiety my students shared online about my final exam.
  • That my blog gets more hits from South Asia than from Latin American (and none from Africa), more from Bulgaria than any other non-North American country except the UK, and more hits from Princeton any other US locale.
  • Jacob Levy's blog is the fourth largest source of traffic after direct, google and blogger but before facebook.
  • That my TV appearances have caused much of the google traffic, as "ctv montreal saideman" has produced as many hits as "stephen saideman blog."
 I have a significant degree of control over facebook--that I can and do limit my status updates to friends rather than friends of friends or networks. 
  • Of course, my list of friends is now pretty long and includes people whom I see very infrequently, including former students.  So, the audience is a bit more limited, and the posts are not quite as permanent either.  
  • Yes, they are stored somewhere on FB but finding old stuff requires drilling and drilling through pages and pages of stuff.  Finding old blog entries, on the other hand, is a snap and greatly facilitates my blogging everyday.

Twitter spawned this line of thought because one can limit who follows.  Every time someone hits the follow button, I get an email and then I can decide to let them or not.  And that is the strange thing--despite my joy at my blog being read around the world, I have felt the impulse to restrict access to my tweets, even though I can only say so much in 140 characters rather than the extended paragraphs of this blog.  Of course, it may be the case that I am reacting to the automated following-bots.

  • These bots are not just those linked purveyors of inappropriate pictures but also other folks whose twitter accounts automatically follow when key words are used in my tweets, like poker.  And others I simply cannot figure out what attracts them to my account.  And so I block most, but not all, strangers.  
  • Anyway, I was trying to figure out whom to block today, and I realized that I am wildly inconsistent in my internet media behavior.  How about you?

1 comment:

Jacob T. Levy said...

I've noticed the following partial-irrationality on my part: I treat FB as at-least-kinda-sorta private and personal, and my blog as completely public-- even though I have many more FB friends than I have unique visitors to my blog in the normal course of events. (An occasional high-profile post changes that.)