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Digg: web history, broken up for parts

Alexia, writing for TechCrunch:

Digg was an extremely influential site for anyone who worked in the early era of online publishing, so it being scrapped for parts is sort of weird, especially for those of us who used to beg friends to vote up Digg stories.

It’s easy to forget how important Digg was to traffic in the mid-2000s, and how Reddit was dismissed as a second-rate failure. As early as 2008, the community manager of Computer Weekly was telling me that she was seeing more results from Reddit than Digg. Sometimes the decline is well underway before we notice it. Two lessons there:

  1. Even the most powerful social site can be rendered irrelevant
  2. The early winner isn’t always the long-term victor

Bear that in mind as you fire up Facebook and Twitter this morning.

Riots = Hyperlocal Traffic

Brockley Central traffic graph

The London riots sent traffic through the roof, with 35,000 visitors on the Monday, when riots in Lewisham took place and 45,000 visitors on the Tuesday, when Brockley Kate provided coverage of the aftermath and we provided a live report, during which mostly nothing happened. On a good day, the site normally gets 2,000 visitors.
I’m not surprised – as someone who was monitoring the situation in Lewisham very closely, Brockley Central was the only reliable source of information when the national media was largely ignoring what was happening in Lewisham. 

The power of a single blog

Interesting graph from Andrew Sullivan as part of a post on journalism 2.0:

The Daily Dish Moves
The sudden divergence of traffic at the end marks the point Sullivan’s blog, The Dish moved from The Atlantic to The Daily Beast
Sullivan:
But it’s worth noting that, according to Quantcast, the Beast’s traffic in terms of page views is now 39 million a month, compared with the Atlantic’s 15 million. The month before the Dish moved, it was 27 million pageviews for the Beast vs 21 million for the Atlantic. The gap in pageviews between the two sites has gone in one month from 6 million to 24 million. Since ads are sold on pageviews, that has got to mean something long-term. Quite what I don’t really know.

I’m sure you can come up with one or two suggestions…

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My Top 10 Posts of 2010

2010 is staggering towards the finishing line, all but spent in the convulsions of iPad lust, paywall panic and Wikileak wailing. It’s been quite a year for journalism, but one that’s been more marked by wishful thinking and panic than actual progress, to my mind, anyway.

Let’s see if the facts bear that our shall we? Here are the top 10 posts published on this blog in 2010 by traffic:

  1. Internet Stat Porn 2010 – It’s just a video. This is testament to the power of the words “internet” and “porn” in a headline…
  2. On Those Times Paywall Numbers – Golly gosh. A post on The Times and paywalls topping the (non-porn) charts? Who’da thunk it? A link from Greenslade helped with that…
  3. A Reader’s Safari – a surprise to me, this one. A post about the new Reader feature in Safari, which strips all extraneous page clutters to present a clean reading view. Perhaps people are more interested in clean web design than I thought…
  4. Who Cares About The Front Page? – A small rant, this time about people who equate journalism with national newspapers. Frankly, the thoughtless abuse of the word “journalism” has been one of my bugbears this year.
  5. Science Online: Cultures Clash Over Infographics – data journalism poster boy David McCandless gets a roasting from scientists over his axes and other points of weakness. The highest viewed conference liveblog post – and it’s not from the “big” events like Like Minds or Le Web. Niches are the future…
  6. iPad Magazines – Not Beating The Web – Ah, the iPad. Probably the second biggest driver of traffic to my  blog this year other than paywall discussion (and stat porn). It’s depressing how little has changed in the six months since this was written. iPad magazine apps are still, in the main, rubbish.
  7. What Does Facebook Like Do For Blog Traffic? – Traffic was largely driven to this post by Facebook Likes. Of course.
  8. Factchecking, Wikipedia and Basic Journalistic Credibility – Yes, so journalists’ brains turn to mush when confronted with the internet, and they do stupid things like copying information from Wikipedia without fact-checking. Lots of tweets and comments for this post – something of a hot button issue, clearly.
  9. The Paywalled Times – An Online Private Members Club. Oh, look. The Times. And paywalls…
  10. news:rewired: Crowdsourcing – the second liveblog of the top 10, this time from the first and best of the news:rewired conferences. (Of which there were three this year – at least one too many, I think.) Good old verbal punch-up between the new media hacks and the old school types. Simmering resentment boiling over; that sort of thing. All good fun.

Disappointingly few surprises in there. The obvious targets are all hit: paywalls, iPads and the desperate hope that a magic bullet will turn up and allow us to save journalism with one shot. Somehow this list feels, well, predictable to me. It feels like it needs shaking up a little more; it needs an injection of ideas from outwith our bubble. And that pretty much confirms what I suspected was my mistake with OM&HB in 2010 – but that’s fodder for another post.