July 27, 2006

Site Meter, How I Love Thee

At the outset, I'll admit that I'm no computer expert. So when it comes to Site Meter, it's no surprise that I have no idea how the thing works technically. But I do know that I love you, Site Meter, your Rubik's Cube-looking logo and all.

Site Meter shows not only who has viewed your blog, but how they got to your blog, even re-creating their Google, Yahoo! or other searches. The first time I clicked on "Recent Visitors by Referrals" on my Site Meter page, and then clicked one of the listings and saw the exact Google search someone had typed in to find me, was a revelation. Ok, so their search was for "Iraqi sheep" (no joking) and my blog must have come up by some weird accident. The word "sheep" isn't even in my blog, honest. Ok, now it is. Twice. Dammit. But it was a revelation nevertheless. So you can imagine how good it felt when, on Site Meter, I first found someone's search for which my blog was actually on point. I was helping them! I was educating them! Such reward! Such responsibility!

For example, it was so satisfying that a quick promo I dashed off for the Western Interiors Design + Home Show (coming to San Francisco this September 8-10) while fighting for couch space with a lovable but long-limbed golden retriever in Santa Monica was the first hit that came up on some lucky person's HotBot search for "western home show san francisco september 2006." I still get that warm fuzzy feeling whenever my blog shows up first on someone's search.

More recently, I discovered that not only can I view who got to my blog and how, but the blog or page from which they got to my blog, and how they got to that previous blog or page. See, ordinarily I do not click back through Site Meter when I see that someone reached my blog from another blog, especially one on Blogger. Unlike search engine searchers, I figure those Blogspot.com folks are just surfing with their "next blog" button and have found me by accident. I have little desire to read their blogs, which are usually either in Spanish or wholly contain baby pictures. But tonight, I clicked the link on Site Meter from someone who landed here via The Home Improvement Ninja, a buddy whose blog is linked with mine. According to Site Meter, many people get to my blog via the Ninja, and hopefully vice versa. I clicked this link simply as a shortcut to view the Ninja's blog. But rather than taking me to his blog, it took me to the Ninja's own Site Meter page!

Is this spying? Is this legal? Should I call the NSA? Did I go through a black hole? All of a sudden, I'm seeing who has been reading the Ninja's blog, and how they arrived there. What is the point of having to sign in on Site Meter with a user name and password if people can view your page in this manner? But it gets even better. Just for fun, I clicked on the top listing on the Ninja's Site Meter page. It was the Google search used by the last person to get to the Ninja's blog. The search read: "How to Make a Ninja smoke balls."

This got me to thinking: Why would a Ninja smoke balls? And further, why should a Ninja be made to smoke balls? I wondered whether the Home Improvement Ninja's blog revealed any insights about forcing Ninjas to smoke balls, or whether it was no more helpful than was my blog for the person searching for Iraqi sheep.

This led me to think about happy accidents, and how each of us on this earth is connected to each other by a fragile, invisible silver thread that some call the soul, but, on the blogosphere, we are connected by more. So much more. On the blogosphere, sometimes the thread reveals itself, in the form of Iraqi sheep and Ninja balls.

Or maybe I'm just easily amused.


At 3:52 PM, Blogger Ghetufool said...

i was also one of the 'next blog' public. but i came again. so you cannot say next blog folks don't resurface :-)

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Thanks for stopping by! I am pleasantly surprised that you found the blog in this manner, rather than by doing a search, and that you have returned so often. Here in the USA, our attention spans are not long enough to do that.

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Chrystina said...

Hey Matt -- about the technical side: You did not enter the black hole of ninja secrets. It's just that your ninja friend doesn't lock everyone out of his sitemeter information. You can make yours public too if you want. I had mine private for quite a while and then decided that it was a blog and there to be an open representation of what was going on in my world, the world at large. So I changed it. There are several levels of privacy available, as I recall. Let me know if you need help with it :).

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous media concepts said...

Thanks Chrystina, the Ninja explained this to me after the fact. Too bad, I thought I had discovered a new planet or something. And now it looks like we need one, preferably one that begins with a "P".


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