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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Followers?

Followers In blogging terms, I feel I did a pretty good job with my 2009 New Year resolution. One way I was able to add value to my output was by stopping doing some things - podcasting being a notable example (no-one seems to have missed it). Another was to publish my content using as wide a variety of channels as possible. But at times last year, it did feel that if not dead, then RSS was at least moribund.

Each month I crunch the access stats for my blogs, and for the last three months, remote followers have outnumbered direct visitors at all my sites by some margin. RSS subscriptions are up on the year by approximately 130%. The only reasonable explanation is that RSS is starting to penetrate the mainstream. But it's not just RSS. The increase in Twitter-driven visits is even greater, and Facebook-driven reads are going through the roof. That's why our first year students are getting a link to the Facebook page rather than an RSS widget in the VLE.

Of course, all this isn't unique to me. The future is adjacent spaces. The contrast in these spaces is slight. I provide full RSS feeds, so the content is available in full to my Google Readers, and via headline extracts directly in the Facebook space. Twitter is different, since direct followers and retweets drive visits to the original sites rather than the satellites. And clearly there are differences in the communities which assemble around the same content in different spaces.

So we come to the interesting part. What is my objective when I publish online? Is it the same for all spaces? Do I/should I write the same way for all these spaces? It's not just Who am I writing for? any more, it's Where am I writing?


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