Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sites about sites

Don't get me wrong, the world wide web is a wonderful thing, but lately I've been feeling a little swamped by all the sites, directories, blog search engines, and community portals that are supposed to make your life on-line easier, but have lately been having the opposite effect on me.

These are coming at me from a couple of different directions. Firstly there are those sites that help you promote your blog(s), propogating content around the internet in RSS feeds, indexing content for blog search engines, and those that gather statistics about your readership. Sites I've found/use in this category are:-
  • ClustrMaps - See map on left. They capture info about the geographical location of people hitting your site, the upshot being that over time your little world map is peppered with red blobs showing you where your readers are. I am currently a ClustrMaps User of the Month, which is nice.
  • Feedburner - RSS aggregator that captures your content and sends it to various hubs where people who use RSS readers can pick up their subcribed content. Essentially RSS feeds let you gather all the blogs you read into one place and read the content there instead of having to go to each site individually, and some RSS readers even have an off-line mode, so you can read Bloody Marvellous! on the plane :-)
  • Technorati - is a blog about blogs. They have rankings and log every time somebody adds your blog to their (Technorati) favourites. You can also search every registered blog here.
  • Statcounter - this is the latest one I've been playing with and it's very cool. It's a free service that gathers stats about all my visitors: not just location but also what operating system and web browser they're using, their screen resolution, and something called the "referring page". With this I can see when people land on my blogs as the result of a Google search, complete with the search term they typed in. If you have a blog of your own I recommend this service.
Then there are those famous ones I haven't tried yet:
  • del.ici.ous - no idea what this site is about but I see references to it everywhere
  • Digg - ditto
The second area where I'm feeling like a victim of the web firehose is in those sites aimed at teen networking and on-line discussion. Sites like MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, MSN Spaces, and Tagged are all about teenagers creating their own spaces and linking to all their friends. My two kids are obsessed with these, which means I have to be too if I'm to monitor what they're doing on-line and keep them out of harm's way. So I have to accept when Abigail invites me to be a Facebook buddy or Elliot creates a new Bebo page so I can make sure their on-line behaviour is as exemplary as in the real world.

Of course the result of all this is, not only do I have about twenty userid's and passwords to remember, I spend at least half my time on-line checking stats, accepting invitations, reading teen comments tht r all wrtn lk ths kwl lol (gives me a headache) and scanning my blog stats logs.

It's a good job I've got nothing better to do!

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