Lessons from a "Blog Post gone wild…"

June 23, 2007 at 4:52 pm 2 comments

Well, I’ve blown the relevance of the web metrics on my blog for the foreseeable future.   I thought I’d share a few observations from this weeks T-mobile blog post gone wild.

In no particular order:

  • Page views vs comments:  Less than .05% of all readers (I should say pageviews) commented on the blog post.  This seems pretty typical for blog posts (communities) in general, but it was interesting to see it applied to a post that had over 20K pageviews. 
  • The Digg Effect: About 1 in 20 viewers, “Dugg” it – this became a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It became clear very quickly that users who use Digg, Digg.  It’s difficult from the metrics I have to peel this back further, but my rough estimate would be that Digg readers Digg with 4-5 times the promiscuity of other readers.  This makes sense, but is an odd sort of swarming.
  • Digg’s impact on traffic:  Digg is largely a non-issue in terms of views until you’ve crossed 50 or so Diggs, from there it curved quickly.  This post took about 14 hrs to get to that point….14 hrs after that, it was at 1000 Diggs.
  • Good news vs Bad news:  Like regular news, everyone cares about bad news, no one cares about the follow-up (follow up post closing the loop is tracking to about 1/50 the Pageviews of the original).
  • Digg is a social network.  I never really thought of Digg as a social network, but it seems clear to me that there are prolific Diggers/commenter’s who have loose tie connections.  If you follow the comments, many commenter’s “know” each other and frequently swarm together.  I’m not sure what this says about Digg as a news source, but this changed how I think about Digg.  If I was a PR agency, I’d crawl Digg on behalf of my clients and look for opportunities for response (for good or bad stories). 
  • Thick/Thin community contributors:  I once blogged here about thick vs thin community contributors.  Digg proved their example from the previous post.  Prolific “Diggers” are the kind of “thin” contributors I wrote about.  It takes little effort to Digg, but the effort can drive dramatic influence on the visibility of a topic.
  • Tone & manner.  This might be the most important lesson.  Most blogs start with readers who actually know you on some level and blog traffic grows gradually, not exponentially.  Those who know you (follow you), know your writing style and generally know something about your personality.  With gradual growth to your blog, this stays normalized.  When you suddenly introduce large volumes of new users who don’t know you or your writing style, the reactions can be very different.  The example in this case were a handful of commenter’s (and maybe other readers) who thought, based on my post, that I was “yelling” at the CS agent at T-Mobile.  Re-reading my post with this in mind, I guess I can understand the misconception, but those who know me probably can’t remember me raising my voice about anything (except maybe trying to get my Dog not to run in our creek).  It simply isn’t in my character to yell at anyone about anything.
  • Comments moderation:  I have never turned on comment moderation on my blog.  At about comment 125 on the thread I did as I started getting some comments that were truly inappropriate.  In general, I don’t think moderation is good, but you’ve got to have your own standard for this.  I approved all comments except those with really outrageous profanity. 

Overall, the influence and reach of the citizen blogger was amazing, even disturbing.  I’ve read stories and followed other events, but this one was closer to home.  It certainly has me thinking through the importance of using brand management tools/services for trending community conversations on the web as a part of a customer listening system.  The problem isn’t that customers will complain about you (that’s ok and likely they have good reasons), the issue is how quickly you see it and how effective you are at engaging in and responding to the complaint.  I hope I can influence this in my own company.


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Closing the loop on the T-Mobile Support issue…problem solved. Did Charles Darwin launch Web 2.0…

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sue Waters  |  June 23, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    As a result of this post (and my blog is still down) I decided to re-visit your original post. I had read the comments when you had 24; this time I went through and check out all the comments. Boy I have a headache from reading them.

    This current post is an important read for everyone that contributes to the online community to consider. I am amazed at some of the really negative comments. We all lead really busy life, we are entitled to good customer service and you had spent considerable time trying to resolve the problem.

    As you said an important lesson in terms of how people interpreted what/how you were saying things based on whether they were existing or new readers.

  • 2. Mike Brevoort  |  June 27, 2007 at 5:46 am

    Very good insights and in hindsight a good experiment. The typical hate vs. love disproportion. If your post was about how great your experience with T-Mobile was, the results would have been far different…

    Thanks for the recap!


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