Accidental Communities – New Connections

December 7, 2003

in Social Networks

There is more to Accidental Communities than you might first think. Make the simple installation on your blog and then “feel” how it changes your perspective on “presence” (someone is at the door) and “connects” you with real-time interest. It might just make me a better blogger. A couple of concerns and questions noted in the closing.

Discovered via Dina — a Kuro5hin article on Accidental Communities. I became immediately intrigued. I’ve felt for a long time that I don’t spend enough time looking at who is visiting my blog or why they might be visiting. Crawling back over logs is something I never find time for. Instant Gratification is just that. A real time personal communications dashboard component providing IM pings via AIM. I’m running them on my second communicator screen so it is real easy to see what’s happening.

What is really different.? The persistence and desktop visibility makes this valuable. Not because I am concentrating on a stream of hits, rather I’m seeing my Page Titles that are being hit and obtaining the referral or search info. However in just a short period I noticed some of my blogging buddies visited. None that I had immediate IM for which may have freaked them out with a “Just Looking” are we. Similarly I’m getting a much better idea on what and who is referring me. Sure I can’t watch this all day. However that is not the point. I’m obtaining real-info on what Google search (Skype Review), Ask Jeeves (What sort of world will your children live in?, etc are finding and listing me.

Dan Grigsby’s instructions are easy to follow. He would also like some linking visibility for his new company. Comments are located here.

Webloggers and diarists are using Instant Message visitor alerts to build accidental online communities.

So I created Instant Gratification about four months ago. Instant Gratification is a free, totally non-commercial service that sends website owners an IM whenever someone visits their page. In the four months since then it’s become sorta popular, with about a million messages sent so far.

On a whim I added a feature to allow the people visiting your site to optionally identify themselves with their name, email, AIM username or blog address. This has had a neat and unexpected result:

Whenever someone visiting my site provides their Blog address I tend to visit it in real-time while they’re visiting my site. The act of them surfing actually causes people to read their site, which they see in the form of an IM traffic alert. It’s an odd, almost Pavlovian stimulus-response kinda thing. Very often I’ll IM the person too. There must be 20 blogs that I regularly read because their authors happened upon my site. || Accidental Online Communities

Help me think a little more about how the data can be used. One element that concerned me and perhaps with advice from everyone I will understand better. Is this not providing my weblog stats to a third party? Many bloggers do the same with Sitemeter, however perhaps they have policies. None are clear here. Separately, could this data provide an interesting sub-layer like “Touchgraph” links blogs or Google searches?

There is also a parallel program for those views that don’t use RSS or would just like an IM notice of a blog update. See the blog change bot. I’m may try this out and think about it later. The application used in a similar way for updates on a wiki might be interesting.

Anyone else tried these programs? Final for example: I just had a hit on “Plaxo Security” realting to this post on “Sharing Personal Data”“. Sort of cool. Makes some of the “stuff” blogged more meaningful in someway. There’s more to learn here.

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