Wednesday, February 25, 2009
When I was a kid, there was an ad campaign for financial services of some sort that do not interest a child, but I remember it to this day. The tagline was "When E. F. Hutton Talks, People Listen." I think there might be a new E. F. Hutton for this century. If I had a website, I'd really be wishing President Obama would mention it.
In addition to leading the country, that man drives traffic to a site like gangbusters. As I saw a headline about Obama creating a new internet sensation, I thought, "Again? Wow. He's good." The article turned out to be about recent, frequent traffic to Recovery.gov, the president's new website with a searchable database of how and where tax dollars are spent as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It's true: lots of traffic in a short period of time. People really do, apparently, want to know how this is all going to work.
I began to wonder how this "internet sensation" compares to the others in recent months around President Obama. Well, after his election in November, a whole lot more people scurried to the web to see what was in store for America and the world. The newly minted Change.gov website shot up like a rocket, practically overnight. Was that the biggest splash Obama made in the pool of web traffic? Nope:
When the historic event of America's first ever bi-racial president's inauguration happened, way more people went to Whitehouse.gov to commemorate the event. The man's residence sets mice a-clicking. And it's really no wonder. Barack Obama used the web, from YouTube to grassroots organizing, to un-precedented advantage. The internet is now home to the twenty-first century version of Fireside Chats. He knows it's a powerful medium, and he's taking full advantage. So, was inauguration day's traffic to the First Website the most impressive surge? No again. Election day and his mere name hold that honor:
Posted by Kelly Dragoo at 5:30 PM
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I read an article this morning called "How Facebook is Taking Over Our Lives." It's packed with amazing factoids about the "social utility" brainchild of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. One such nugget is that if it were a country, it would have a population roughly approximating that of Brazil. And it's growing like some of those microorganisms I learned about in biology that split every few seconds--signing up new users, sometimes as many as five million per week.
This doesn't surprise me in the least, having recently become a fan myself. I got an account years ago when you had to have a university address to see it. I thought, "Meh, just another one of those things where I can broadcast to the world how little I'm up to." Years passed. It overtook MySpace in traffic months ago, as we reported on this blog in May.
After a while, I started hearing people in my circles, outside of work, talking about it. I'm, to put it gingerly, certainly in the post-college demographic. (When I started working at Alexa nine years ago, I thought of someone my current age as old.) Then, a few months back, my best friend sent me a friend request--she's way less inclined to jump on a bandwagon than I, so I caved. Dozens of friend invitations later, I'm reunited with high school friends. Full circle: last week I got friended by a favorite relative in my mom's age group, and this morning I had another friend recommend the article on which I'm now blogging!
The site is certainly sticky. I have a few ways to get and post updates without actually going to the website because I don't dare venture there regularly and try to hold a job. And I've noticed an increase recently in the number of times I accept a friend request from the guy who took my lunch money every day in the sixth grade only to see, "Joe is new to Facebook. Recommend people Joe may know."
And the traffic data certainly supports the trends I've observed, and those reported in the article. While this graph only represents the traffic to the Facebook website itself, not all those widgets we use to get our fix without getting swept away, their Reach has practically tripled in a year. I'm curious to watch how this plays out.
Are you on Facebook? Is your mom? What's your favorite way to read and share updates? Which are your favorite features?
If you're not, did you try it and not like it, or are you resisting for other reasons? Please tell us in the comments.
Posted by Kelly Dragoo at 5:19 PM
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
This year, the Grammy Awards drew a near-record viewing audience; three million more viewers than last year's show tuned in. That's roughly twenty million viewers. I know this because I read a delightfully snarky article about the show in the Washington Post.
Did the web reflect a greater interest this year than last, mirroring the television data? Not really. A graph of the traffic to the Grammy website seems to indicate no real boost.
Once I started looking at the Grammy data, it occurred to me that I'm generally more interested in the Oscars than the Grammy awards. I don't know why--I mean, I listen to far more music than I watch movies. For some reason, though, I'm more interested in the Oscars. Maybe I'm an oddball--my background in theatre and lack of musical talent might skew me. What does web traffic say about the relative popularity of the two galas?
According to the column I read in the Washington Post, the Oscars had 32 million viewers last year, while the Grammys had 17 million. This year the Grammys had three million more viewers than last year. Oddly, the traffic data for both websites year over year seems to accurately reflect the television data with regard to their relative popularity. So I guess I'm like everyone else after all--we like movie awards more than music awards.
Is that true of you? Which do you prefer? Between this year and last, which Grammycast was more important to you?
Posted by Kelly Dragoo at 4:51 PM