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This blog gives me news tips

February 6, 2012

When I started writing the post, I’d check my blog statistics every ten minutes- how many page views did I have? Which posts generated the most interest? It was mostly a practice in vanity. On the radio, I have no idea who’s listening to me. On the blog, I could count every single reader.

But then something interesting happened. As I wrote more and more posts, I noticed some old stories suddenly rising in popularity. Why was a piece about Gary Alexander from months ago suddenly getting multiple hits? I did a little searching and sure enough, Gary Alexander was in the news again in Pennsylvania.

Last week, my top post was something I wrote about in 2011– a birth control recall. That made me look around and what do you know-on February 1st, Pfizer announced a recall of 1 million birth control packets.

It’s a whole new research tool- you as readers tell me what’s going on based on the stories that are suddenly relevant again.

It that way, it’s similar to the way Google uses search terms to indicate  flu activity. If everyone in a certain geographic area is searching for “stuffy nose” and “congestion” it’s a fair guess folks are getting sick.

One woman in Washington, D.C. is especially skilled at turning statistics on her blog into actual news stories. Laura Amico runs the website- Homicide Watch D.C. where she writes a story about every murder in the District of Columbia.  A few months ago, she told Brooke Gladstone of “On the Media” about how certain search terms lead her to homicides even before the police have reported them.

Basically what happens is someone goes to a search engine and types in what they want information about. We often see people searching  victim’s names and suspect’s names, addresses where they know a crime has occurred. When people come into homicide watch by searching those terms, I see that search term that they initially used to find me. A lot of times those give me clues as to what’s actually happening out there in the streets.

Amazing. Who knew website analytics could point towards the facts of a murder?  I can’t claim my blog has ever done that, but it is starting to help me sniff out stories I didn’t know about already. Here are the most popular search terms that brought people to my website today. Do they tell you anything?

ortho tri cyclen recall 2011 2
kent hospital emergency room 1
rhode island public radio board of directors 1
proceed in the same way 1
danko 1
rhode island bill sale of multiple hospitals 1
change blindness examples grocer 1
how much medical mariuanna per month rhode island 1
lewin report rhode island 1
hospital waiting room




2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2012 12:21 pm

    That’a good analysis. Even though I have never bothered about getting a lot of hits right after I write something on my blog, I never really appreciated the fact that most hits come when there are certain circumstances surrounding people. Shall keep that in mind. Thanks for sharing.

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