December 31, 2009

The Top 15 Stories on in 2009

Ever since I stopped doing my monthly summaries on blog statistics, as some had judged them as internal navel gazing and self-gratification, I haven't talked much about statistics and numbers, hits, page views or visitors. But in the interest of sharing, and wrapping up the year 2009, I thought I would expand on my yearly summary post from last week and show just what visitors were looking for that drove traffic. In aggregate, I should mention that total traffic in the year was not dramatically higher than 2008, which I take to mean more people read the content via RSS or in aggregators. In addition, there were fewer posts on the site in 2009 than in 2008, thanks to reduced guest posts.

The Top 15 stories authored in 2009, in order of highest traffic to least:

1. Google Wave Hits Shore. Flash Flood Warning In Effect.
October 1, 2009

The summary of my initial reactions to Google Wave was surprisingly visible. Although I felt as if my thoughts were actually late to the game, the post ended up being far and away the highest trafficked article of the year. The spike was led by Robert Scoble posting how much he thought Wave was overhyped. Subsequently, someone posted our pair of posts to Slashdot, and Der Spiegel of Germany also highlighted the summary. Although I was not overly negative of Wave, I did say it was very busy, and my reaction often got lumped in with Robert's much more critical response.

2. 40 Key Elements to Getting Started In Social Media
January 5, 2009

At the beginning of the year, Mike Fruchter wrote an extremely detailed guide on the necessary tools required to be engaged in social media. His effort was rewarded through the post being among the most bookmarked on Delicious, and being highlighted by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. Mike is one of those talents that I hope to be working alongside someday, should I ever get the chance.

3. The Story of Google's Closure: Advanced JavaScript Tools
November 8, 2009

When Google released Closure tools to the Web, response to this was fairly neutral. Most folks tended to just repeat the news. But I thought it made more sense to ask Google developers how they had benefited from the tool while in house. Mihai Parparita of Google Reader gave a wonderful first person account of his use, and other geeks appreciated it. It was featured on Hacker News.

4. FTC Disclosures Made Simple For Bloggers With Conflicts
December 4, 2009

Among my most fun posts of the year was a collaboration with Jeannine Schaeffer earlier this month on some icons to help bloggers disclose relationships to the FTC. It was a fun idea, and Jeannine came through in a big way. Mashable and others highlighted the story, and I've enjoyed seeing the humorous icons make their way around the Web in the weeks since.

5. Facebook Drops the Walled Garden, Opens Up Possibility for Track
March 16, 2009

Jesse Stay, a preeminent expert on both Twitter and Facebook, highlighted Facebook's increased openness and the ability to let updates leak into Google and the wider Web at large. He is the author of multiple books on Facebook worth checking out if you ever want to write Facebook apps or just learn more about the largest social network in the world.

6. Twitter's Search Engine Is Very, Very, Broken
May 21, 2009

As Twitter has grown well beyond initial expectations, the service's fragility has shown in a number of ways. Among the most visible has been the disappointing index from the company's search engine. It's now widely known that the engine only goes back a few days, and it doesn't index some of the most visible accounts, making data discovery and retention difficult. It would be wonderful if this were to be solved in 2010.

7. Could A Real Apple Fan Completely "Go Google"?
October 29, 2009

At risk of having to throw away my Apple fanboy card, I became more entranced by Google in 2009, thanks to the company releasing solid product after solid product, many of which competed head to head for my attention with Apple's well-known suite of offerings, including iLife and the iPhone. The more I thought about it, the more realistic I thought about switching, and I am definitely watching this space closely.

8. What FriendFeed Needs to Do To Grow and Keep New Users
January 2, 2009

At the beginning of the year, seeing a lack of growth on FriendFeed's part that met my own aggressive expectations, I gave some unsolicited feedback as to how I thought the company could improve. They had other ideas, and launched many great tools, but didn't go the way I had thought. Months later, they were absorbed into Facebook.

9. The Newest Annoyance on Twitter: Follow and Refollow Spam
March 7, 2009

Twitter's problems weren't limited to their own back-end infrastructure. Users often got tired of being bombarded by different types of spam, either on the service itself, through direct messages, or through what I found as refollow spam. Some automated accounts were following my account every few hours to get in front of me and my connections. This annoyance was thwarted in time.

10. iPhone Call Recording: It Makes Too Much Sense Not to Do
August 9, 2009

While BlogTalkRadio's CinchCast product has largely filled this need, it seems to me that Apple could easily enable us to record phone call conversations for interviews and podcasts. So far, my understanding is that applications posted to the iTunes Store that accomplish this very thing have been slowed or stopped outright.

11. How To Cleanly Separate Personal and Work Social Media Personalities
March 22, 2009

Many people are looking for a way to act in social media on behalf of their company, while maintaining their own personality. Having accomplished this myself, I thought I would share how. It seems many others were curious and this post remained popular and shared through the second half of the year.

12. Blogger Quietly Turns Ten, Plans Slew of Feature Upgrades
August 23, 2009

As one Blogger holdout who hasn't moved to WordPress, I watch the platform closely, and Blogger turned ten years old this fall, without fanfare. Following my quick summary, this surprisingly hit the front page of Digg (only my second time ever), which was appreciated, but befuddling, as it was not a huge story, in my opinion.

13. Hi Facebook, It's Me, FriendFeed. This Relationship? It's Complicated.
August 10, 2009

The announcement that Facebook acquired FriendFeed struck the many people who like FriendFeed in a very personal way. I have talked to many top users of the site who felt as if the announcement had hit them emotionally, as no other simple merger or acquisition had before. Much of the concern lies in the fact that Facebook has a reputation that runs contrary to what some hoped FriendFeed would become. My amusing tongue in cheek response tried to explain just how we were feeling, rather than encapsulating the news like many other sites already had.

14. Feedly Explore Highlights Recommended Blogs, Reader Activity
September 26, 2009

Feedly, a 2008 debut here, has been among the most popular ways to get RSS updates. The service's Explore feature enhanced feed discovery. After posting this piece it was highlighted within Feedly and many users came to the blog to see what was new.

15. Twitter Caps Following Limits, Denting Auto-Follow Services
April 20, 2009

In a year I wrote many good things about Twitter, it's no surprise the more negative stories gained traction. Among them was a move that blocked some Twitter developers from using advanced auto-follow tools, reducing the option for some accounts to be automated.

In a year with more than 500 posts (the fourth straight above 500), these 15 top ones showed me that people are always eager to learn more about Google and Twitter, and how to best use these social media tools. While I don't let traffic define what I intend to cover, it's always worth making sure I keep on topic for what the readers want to see.