Wednesday, October 18, 2006

About desert pea blog

It's a bit over a year since I started this blog. Given that the inspiration for its conception was to understand what it was like to blog I think it's a good time to write my 'about this blog' page to link to from the sidebar and reflect on what I've discovered over the year. Thongs, Grange, South Australia

The blogging adventure
In the beginning the main aim of my blog was to test out the blogging experience. I'm constantly interested in how people adopt and push the limits of new technologies and technological approaches – and how the very potential or actual presence and widespread use of ICTs creates a feedback loop which in turn affects people.

Now I can't let the blog go!

Topics and themes
This blog isn't a journal. It's not very personal. A blog is a very public way of communicating so I choose to delve only into issues of public interest, although those issues tend to be quite Australia-centric.

The themes covered on this blog have started to emerge. I thought that I would mainly blog on topcis related to my professional interest, community informatics (or "technology in society" for want of more accessible term), but I've ended up blogging on Australian politics much more. Blogging on politics seems to be unavoidable for me and I think it is because the policy and regulation of ICTs and media, especially the Internet and its associated infrastructure is intimately connected with the reality of technology in Australian and Asia-Pacific society.

I also occasionally comment on current events and ideas. I think everyone has good ideas. Some people even come up with good, forward-thinking and sustainable plans to implement good ideas. Some people even go ahead and execute them. Bloggers generally just write what they think about them!

Over to the geek side
The challenge of this blog is to push the limits of Blogger to achieve the best (as in most feature rich and community-usable) blog I possibly can. In fact I write this post/page so I can keep using this free tool rather than migrating to a privately-controlled Wordpress or Joomla blog.

I have in fact found some advantages of sticking to the Blogger paradigm. For example, because I use a del.icio.us account for my post categories (see sidebar just below the Sturt's Desert Pea picture), feeds are offered per category on my blog via the del.icio.us engine, unlike on a Wordpress blog.

Readership
According to the free webstats I use, I have a reasonably consistent hit rate of 20-40 page loads per 24 hours if I haven't posted for over a week and 50-90 at other times. At least half of these are hits from googlers searching for images. I get more google hits from images than keywords I think! The rest appear to be hits from keywords, other blogs and visitors who've bookmarked the blog or its feed.

The percentage of hits from Australian visitors fluctuates from 15% to 70% depending on how often I blog. Obviously I tend to get more local visitors when I'm regularly posting. When I've posted less than 7 days ago, the breakdown is around 50%-70 Australian visitors, 15-30% USA visitors, 5-10% British visitors, with other Western-oriented countries making up most of the remainder. Probably not a surprise given that my blog is in English and tends to espouse Western values – whether I try to or not.

I see some hits from Asia, especially Singapore and Japan. I rarely see visitors from any middle eastern country except Israel. I see a few hits from South America occasionally. I see fewer from Africa and almost none from the rest of the Asia Pacific (except New Zealand). I've never seen a single hit from China. I think the great firewall of China must have blocked blogspot.com completely.

Comments and feedback
There is typically no logical place for general or off-topic comments on a Blogger blog. That doesn't mean they're not allowed. Feel welcome to use the comments facility on this post for your 'guestbook-style' comments and questions.

On the topic of comments, I've never had to delete or moderate a comment – except in the case of administrative stuffups (and spam). That is much appreciated. Keep up the comments!

Updates
I'll be updating this post whenever I need to add information about this blog. I'll date each update so it's obvious when I've changed information.

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12 Comments:

Blogger tahpot said...

Keep up the great blogging :)

PS: I really like your simple and clean layout too...

October 19, 2006 9:26 am  
Blogger Chai said...

I just read yahoo wants to monetise del.icio.us. Wonder how that will happen.

October 20, 2006 6:47 am  
Blogger Lisa said...

You'd imagine they would, considering they paid a lot for it. At first I thought ads, but then that might raise too much of a risk that the user gets driven over to Digg or some other equivalent. But then there are value-added services yahoo could build on to del.icio.us that people would pay for I think. Or perhaps they'll allow users to choose to have ads for the promise of a small amount of money (as with the blogger-adsense model).

I wonder along with you...

October 20, 2006 9:59 am  
Blogger Sarah said...

Very interesting, I'm glad you decided to keep at it :)

October 20, 2006 8:01 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

What an excellent hit rate. Congratulations. It's a high-quality blog.

October 21, 2006 8:11 pm  
Blogger geoff said...

The percentage of hits from Australian visitors fluctuates from 15% to 70% depending on how often I blog. Obviously I tend to get more local visitors when I'm regularly posting. When I've posted less than 7 days ago, the breakdown is around 50%-70 Australian visitors, 15-30% USA visitors, 5-10% British visitors, with other Western-oriented countries making up most of the remainder. Probably not a surprise given that my blog is in English and tends to espouse Western values – whether I try to or not.

Wow, your a statish.. statstis.. 'facts & figures' person! You know what they say, lies, damn lies and statistics. Never mind, whatever the stats are saying, like others here I think desert-pea is fantastic and (big credit) definitely QUALITY. Both in presentation and content. It's relaxing as well as stimulating to come here and read.

And you know, you can probably increase those stats by espousing not just Western values but especially 'Aussie values'. Now, I know somebody called Kate who might be happy to advise you... :)

October 25, 2006 8:40 am  
Anonymous mick said...

Keep it up lisa!

BTW I've always like the way your blog looks. It's got a lotta style.

Are you going to keep the del.icio.us tags after switching to blogger beta?

Speaking of which, do you think you'll make the switch? I can't because I'm on a group blog, they aren't offering the choice to anyone on a group blog because the software isn't sorted for multiple authors yet. It sounds much better than the current blogger format.

October 25, 2006 7:00 pm  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you for all comments.

Geoff, note that the statistics aren't really that -- they are very approximate estimates based on infrequent visits to StatCounter to see information on page hits to the blog. They would not pass muster in a peer review :)

And thanks for your suggestion I should study Kate Fischer to learn better Aussie values. I'll store that in the same place of my heart where Howard no doubt stores Abu Bakar Bashir's advice he better hurry up and convert to Islam.

Mick, I haven't been given the option to convert to Blogger Beta yet but I understand it will be forced upon us all within the next few months or years.

As to the look and feel, my idea graphic design isn't very revolutionary – just that it shouldn't be annoying. Something good about having done some study of web design at uni means that even if you can't design something that looks really cool it's easier to avoid designing something that looks really bad :)

October 26, 2006 4:01 pm  
Blogger Dima said...

Wow... nice idea of looking back and think...

As to the numbers, i wonder what does they tell about (1) diffusion of internet and (2) demographics and culture of the blogger community... Just had a person from google research team guest lecturing in the class i am TAing... i wish i had at least some access to their data...

November 01, 2006 4:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the look and feel, along with the topics you cover are very pleasing. I think that I post too often, but I do it more for therapy and as a way to be around the kids and still do something stimulating. There are a lot of quality bloggers in Adelaide. You are certainly one of them.

November 07, 2006 12:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, thanks for mentioning the firewall of China, it maybe true. I might be the first hit from China:)
P.S.: Love your blog, love the topics.

November 27, 2006 1:45 am  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you, Anon. I'm so stoked to see there is now a hit from China in my stats! I think I have to accept the great firewall of China is not at fault here for the lack of Chinese visitors, but the content :)

November 27, 2006 11:15 am  

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