Users, not readers

1 minute read

Recently Jay Rosen tweeted (via Storify):

8. Instead of the readers, the viewers, the listeners or the audience, call them "the users." This helps correct the imagination. #media140

This gave me an idea, and I went to my server logs to confirm it. I now have more people using my bibliography and following the bibliography feed than are reading all but my most popular posts. Most of the bibliography users are regular return visitors. The pattern contrasts with the highly-read posts (like the gay caveman post, for example) which are widely linked and found by many first-time visitors to the blog.

It is very interesting how a deep site can accrue many different layers of users. I have many long-time readers who follow feeds to particular topics, others who hit the main page twice a day to see if anything’s new. Consistently, the “Neandertal DNA” topic runs near the top of my access list, but it is rarely linked or found by new visitors, nor is the feed followed by that many regular readers. Instead, I suspect that much of the interest in this topic comes from college and high school students who find my site and use the topic entry as a way to research reports.

Multiple layers of users. My content goes back 7 years here, and every day people find posts from the first days of the site right up to now. This could be easier, and maximizing the utility of the site for the users is a huge ongoing challenge.