Traffic Musings

6 06 2008

Driving home today, I noticed a disturbing new trend. Maybe I missed the memo or something, but since when did people start breaking when the light turned green? Maybe I missed that page in the learner’s license book? I swear that at every robot that I got stuck behind people, the traffic only moves when the light has turned red.

I know that it is probably due to the accordion affect, you know, the time it takes for a person to realise that the traffic in front of them has started to move, put the car in gear, get clutch control, release the handbrake and step on the accelerator, but it seems so stupid that the traffic only moves on the red.

They say that there are so many cars in the country, pretty soon there will be more cars (in meters) than roads! Isn’t that scary! The thought that you may not even be able to move on the road, because there is so many cars all out driving at once. It scares me anyway.

In conclusion, traffic sucks and I hate it.

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Michael’s Theory on Blog Post Strength

22 05 2008

Well here we go with another theory that I came up with. Maybe I should start a new blog: betthisisoriginaltheories.wordpress.com? Hmmm, maybe when I get enough readers to warrant it. 😉

What makes a good blog post? Is it the amount of readers that you receive? The traffic? The people? No, I believe that a good post is measured entirely by the amount of comments you receive. Why do I say this? Read on…

Readers is not a reliable measure of a blog’s strengths, because most readers (at least if you judge by the search engine terms that led them to your blog), are not there to read every word that you have written.  No, most people who come to your blog by search engine are just looking for something that has nothing to do with your blog, or are just there to read the few words that you wrote which correspond to their search. A classic example of this is the movie review of John Tucker Must Die which I wrote (http://betthisisoriginalreviews.wordpress.com/john-tucker-must-die), which receives an enormous number of people searching for “teen thong” and getting results for that page simply because of the picture which I grabbed from Wikipedia or because I mention the word “thong” in the review. (Incidentally, this post will probably receive a lot of traffic as well, by sheer virtue of me having mentioned “teen thong”. Oh well).

Let’s be honest, these people are not looking for a review on a movie. They are looking for something else entirely, and therefore will not be staying longer than it takes the page to load to leave. In other words, a totally useless visit, and one which does nothing for the blog, except to artificially inflate the numbers.

Another way which is used to evaluate a blog’s strength (not an individual post however) is the method which Google uses, that of the number of links to the page. So if a lot of internet users are linking to your page, it will be ranked as more important by Google’s web spiders, which I suppose seems fair. When people see something which they like, they are more likely to link to it, quote it, tell other people about it in their own blogs etc. However, this does not really help with judging the strength of individual posts.

The best, most accurate way to judge a post’s strength is that of comments. It takes a really passionate post to reach out and touch people enough to actually write a comment on a post, so you either need to market your blog very carefully to just the right audience or write a post so general or useful that a lot of people feel the urge to post a comment. Incidentally, this approach is known as the “shotgun approach” – where you “fire” the same message out to a large audience of people and hope that you hit at least some of them.

Therefore, to judge the relative strength of a specific blog post, we can make the assumption that each unique visitor to post a comment will correlate to a measure of a post’s strength. Even if one has multiple regular visitors (IE friends, relatives, co-workers etc.) which one has persuaded to read one’s blog, chances are that not all of them will comment on every single post. Even with a captive audience such as these people, it still requires a good post to motivate them to comment. Unless of course, you are haranguing them to comment on each and every post, in which case, please stop because it is annoying.

For example, a post which receives no comments has failed, for one or other reason. A post with 2 people arguing with each other for 10 posts each counts as two direct responses to the post, and therefore it is mildly successful. And so it increases until it reaches critical mass, the point whereby any new comments are no longer referring to the original post, and merely to the comments on that post.

This phenomenon is usually observed in forums and blogs where fanboys hang out. A news item is posted, and the slavering pack of fanboys descend on it, commenting on the news. It reaches a point, however, where they no longer address the post itself, and instead resort to fighting one another’s beliefs, viewpoints, sexual orientation and religion. This level changes depending on the popularity of the blog, and is unique to each blog.

Therefore, the more unique comments that a specific post attracts, which are in a direct response to the post itself, the stronger a post can be said to be.