Archive for November, 2007|Monthly archive page

More on Site Meter, Technorati, and FeedBurner

Site Meter:

Site Meter lets you see how many people have visited your blog, how long they have been on your page, which ISP, browser and Operating System they use, and what their screen resolution, IP, and location is. You can set it up in a way that it ignores visits from your computer and browser, so that the stats will be more realistic, and do not include your numerous refreshing of your own blog. You can also make it private, so that nobody except you would be able to see it (like my Site Meter!)

Now, how can you do all that with Site Meter? Sure I can tell you very quickly how it works if you don’t know it already, but I won’t! (I’ll explain at the end of this post why.)

Side Note: You can’t use one of the best features of Site Meter on your wordpress.com blog, which is seeing the referrals of your blog (the blogs and websites that have linked to you.) Site Meter referral tracking works with JavaScript, and wordpress.com does not allow JavaScript on its blogs. But you can still find out about the blogs or websites that have linked you through WordPress.com’s stats, technorati, or Google.

Technorati:

Technorati tells you what the ranking of your blog is among thousands of blogs registered there, lets you browse blogs by tags or categories, and tells you which blogs have linked to you. It let’s users choose their favorite blogs – which everybody can see – and that give you the chance to create a social networking system. It does a lot of other things too. But I won’t tell you what they are!

FeedBurner:

You probably know what feed, RSS, and syndication are, since we are using it to see the title of the latest posts of our classmates’ blogs on our class main blog. You don’t need to get into technical details of how feeds work. It’s just enough to know that, by subscribing to the feed of the blogs and websites you are interested in, you will be able to automatically get notified about their new posts, without the need to visit them constantly. Most of the blogging services automatically provide you with a valid feed. If you want to subscribe to a blog, you just need to add the URL of that blog’s feed to a feed reader you use, such as Google Reader.

Now, you might be wondering why we need FeedBurner, since we already have the feed of our blogs set by wordpress.com. Well, the advantage of FeedBurner over the normal feed system our blogs offer is the statistics it provides. You can see how many people visit your blog through your Site Meter, but you can’t see how many people are reading your blog through a feed reader.

For example, the number of times I read your blogs will not be counted in your blog’s stats, because I always read your blogs in my Google Reader, and just come to the actual page of your blog when I want to leave a comment! FeedBurner has a system to track how many people have subscribed to the feed of your blog, through which feed readers, and a lot more! This feature of FeedBurner is included in its “pro” section, but this “pro” section, unlike what it might suggest, is free!

It’s all about reading the instructions

Now I mentioned some of the features of these widgets and tools that you might already know or not know. There are also a lot more to them that I didn’t mention. Why? Because they are all explained in details in the websites of each of these tools. It’s actually the same case for almost any other tools or widgets for the blogs (or many other things related to web developing.) When you see a new online tool or service which seems useful to you, don’t bother yourself to find somebody who is web savvy to ask for instructions. Read the instructions yourself. They are usually explained in a very simple and comprehensive way.

By following the instructions, you usually can add any widget in 10-15 minutes. So try to make yourself used to reading the instructions. If you get used to that, you’ll later see that a whole new world is opened to you; a big world of open source tutorials and HOW-TOs.

(My experience is that, sometimes, if a person explains to you how a widget works and how you should put it on your blogs, it will sound so confusing or complicated to you. But when you look at the instructions and follow them, you can have your own pace, and can even concentrate more on what your are doing.)

As Prof. McAdams has mentioned in our class blog:

A person who works on a Web site at a news organization needs to learn how to learn, how to find instructions, how to make things work.

My Second Soundslides

Wild Iris: A Bookstore of One’s Own” is my second Soundsldies. I’m much happier with this one comparing to my first one, specially because I’ve got a new digital SLR camera, which improved the quality of my photos instantly! (It’s a Nikon D40 with 18-135mm lens. These cameras make you a much better photographer, without even needing to learn anything! Of course there is so much to learn to become a good professional photographer, specially a photojournalist.)

I’m happy with the content of the audio. I edited it couple of times and it’s totally different from the version I submitted last week for my audio 2. I removed my stupid narrations and added comments from the customers of the store. (I might lose a grade for not using narrations, but I think this new version is much better than the old one and it is worth it!)

The quality of the audio is not very good though. I couldn’t get a hold of the lab’s audio recorders during the week that I was doing my interviews. It was surprising, because I know there are almost enough recorders in the lab, and some of the students are even using their own recorders. So, I have no idea where the rest of the recorders were! I had to use my MP3 player, which records good quality audio. However, I couldn’t plug in the microphone because of the stupid edge on my MP3 player’s microphone plug-in slot. So I had to use a cable which was narrow enough to get into the MP3 player, but I guess the long cable’s quality was not so good, so the audio is not good!

As for the content, I’m sure it could be much better. But here are the things I thought about while making this Soundslides (keeping Ira Glass recommendations about story telling in mind.)

1- I tried to show why this story matters, by including the customers’ positive comments about the place. (There weren’t any negative comments. People just loved this place!
2- I tried to have a sequence of action, by including the narration of one of the co-owners of the store about when the store was first built and how it has survived so far.
3- I tried to have a climax in the story, which is the opening of the coffee shop.
4- The moment of reflection can be either the fact that this place is the only feminist bookstore survived in Florida, or the survival itself, or the idea behind having a coffee shop. I’m not sure about this part though. I should ask Mindy what Ira Glass exactly means by a “moment of reflection.”

I would really appreciate to hear your feedback about any or all of the things I mentioned above!