Yesterday’s liveblog of Dave Winer’s Microsoft Research Talk drew a lot of visitors. This has been true for my previous liveblogs as well. The difference is in where the visitors came from.
My first high traffic day ever—a Script-dotting, if you will—was when I pontificated after a MacWorld in 2001 about XML-RPC on Mac OS X. Dave Winer and Macintouch pointed to the article and I got something like 2000 visits. About a quarter of those were directly from Scripting News.
This time, the flow isn’t as high—probably around 700 visits—but the sources are a lot more diverse. I can account for about half of those, but instead of coming from one pool, they come from Scripting.com, the Scobleizer (yup, I been Scobleized!), weblogs.asp.net (the aggregated flow of Microsoft bloggers) and Anita Rowland. A handful come from people reading news feeds in Radio (with the telltale :5335 or /system/pages/news referrers).
The rest? Direct hits without referrers, meaning in all likelihood they read it in a client side RSS reader.
So what has changed?
- Scoble is sending tons of flow. It isn’t just Dave (and Macintouch).
- There are a ton of other bloggers who read Scoble; one of them posted on weblogs.asp.net.
- There are a larger ton of people reading these people in RSS feeds.
The last point is most interesting to me. Why? It stands all the reputation metrics of the blogosphere on their collective heads. The readers visiting from RSS are pretty much invisible to conventional metrics reporting. Call it the dark matter of blog referrals. These readers don’t leave traces that show up in Google, can’t be trackbacked, can’t be read in referral logs. All you can know is you’re being read.
And maybe it’s healthier that way.