Monday, November 26, 2007

Skitter Away

Site statistics are so funny. Over the summer, right before I started blogging, I happened to read a post by Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits about his daily schedule. He mentioned the addictiveness of checking his blog's statistics, and I remember thinking, "yeah right."

Yeah. Right.

Since stepping it up to daily posting this month, I've discovered that my site statistics have suddenly gotten a lot more interesting. For instance, there was the day when for some reason my post on photography became the number one hit on Google for the phrase "ways to win the lottery." Needless to say, a lot of people came to my site that day. And they were disappointed. Because I did not actually write about the lottery.

Lately, I've noticed that a lot of visitors come in search of advice on writing "short personal narratives." While I might know a bit more about short personal narratives than about the lottery, the post they invariably head to is not really about short personal narratives so much as it's about one of my favorite blogs, Awesome!. Maybe I will write about short personal narratives in the future?

This all reminds me of something that game designer Ralph Koster said at MIT's Futures of Entertainment conference a little over a week ago. The topic was fan labor and user-generated content, and Koster concluded that websites "invite the participation so they can measure it. The web is a database. [Users] add to the database. The content is there so we can watch people skittering across it."

Well. I'm a pretty big believer in content, so I certainly don't think its only purpose is to serve as an ice-skating rink for skittering people. But I have to admit: the skittering has its appeal.

That said, if there's something you would like to read here, there's a handy alternative to performing a disappointing Google search. Send me an email! [diana (dot) kimball (at) gmail (dot) com] Or, you to me in person! I love new ideas, and I'd love to hear yours.

Until then: skitter away.

(A big shout out to the Worlds in Motion blog for capturing Koster's quip verbatim. Right as I was about to clumsily paraphrase half-remembered words, I searched for "purpose content skittering," and was rewarded with the most un-disappointing Google search of my life. Thank you, Worlds in Motion!)

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