It ain’t the absolute height of the spike…

Boing Boing: Infographic of blogosphere traffic spikes. Xeni points out a curious feature of the Technorati infographic, where a point labeled “Kryptonite lock controversy” is as high as “Indian Ocean tsunami.” I say: it’s not the absolute size of the spike, it’s how it relates to its surroundings. (Uh, bow chicka chicka bow bow.)

Based on my experience interpreting online traffic, the metric of merit when comparing two events isn’t absolute amount of traffic (posts, page views, unique users) but the delta they cause from the normal volume of activity. Look at the time period around “Kryptonite lock controversy”—the spike, while high, is part of a consistently high series of spikes that appears to run from July through shortly after the election. In other words, not dramatic, considering the overall blogosphere activity at that time.

The tsunami, on the other hand, reached the same peak of activity in the middle of a seasonal down period in blog posts—in fact, as I recall, a seasonal down period for Internet activity as a whole. In other words, it’s a hell of a lot more impressive that a bunch of bloggers got off their haunches after the holidays to post about the tsunami—when they weren’t inclined to blog—than that they posted in a period of otherwise high post activity.

(This is the second in a series of occasional posts where I offer my meager expertise to interpret a BoingBoing post about online traffic trends. Maybe I should make this a series. Maybe even a sidebar.)