What stats from a 4-day-old blog say about you

This blog was revived five days ago, and I’m horrible obsessed with its stats, so here is what I’ve learned by looking at the first four days of data from Google Analytics, Twitter and Facebook.

You are loud.

Pioneer, Barkerville BC, megaphone by J Scott licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Pioneer, Barkerville BC, megaphone by J Scott licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

More than 2,000 people visited the blog, and 80% of you found yourself on this site after following a link shared on a social network. That means you  brought people to this site. You tweeted an Almighty Link blog post to your Twitter followers more than 350 times, shared a post with your Facebook friends 40 times, liked those Facebook entries more than 200 times, and left 88 related comments on Facebook. I posted only three Facebook status updates on my personal profile, and four tweets, again from my personal account.

You are mobile.

More than half of you used a phone or tablet to read an Almighty Link blog post, and three out of five you who used a mobile device, used an iPhone. Another one in five used an iPad. Most of the remaining 20% used an Android gadget, and a handful used Blackberry or Windows Mobile phones or tablets. Five of you even used an iPod.

You are global.

You came to this site from six of the Earth’s seven continents. One-thousand, seven-hundred fifty of you are from the United States of America. Eight-eight were in Canada when you read a post, and 54 were in the United Kingdom. Italy and South Africa round out the top five countries. I assume that the one visitor from Guam is one of my relatives. Visitors came from each of the blue countries in the map below.

Visitors came from countries that are colored blue.
Visitors came from countries that are colored blue.

You are talkative.

You left 32 comments since the blog started up again. Richard Horgan blogged from FishbowlNY about my reasons for leaving the Register. Vincenzo Marino linked from a roundup on the International Journalism Festival’s site to my blog post about leaving newspapers from his

You are automated.

Roughly 80 of the Twitter accounts that shared a link to this blog are part of The Breaking News Network, a “hyperlocal news network” that uses automated systems to share links from hundreds of Twitter accounts. Here is a sample of the tweets sent through that system.

Up next: building connections

Connecting People by Bowen Chin licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Connecting People by Bowen Chin licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It’s time for this computer geek turned journalist to move on.

I started my news career in a dark cubicle outside of a West Covina newsroom 12 years ago, shoveling articles onto what was referred to as the “information highway.” After stints creating and managing online ads and in web development for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, I found my way  into newsrooms and evangelized for social media before exiting the industry last month as a business columnist.

I’m happy with my career so far. I feel that I’ve helped people. I’ve helped local businesses learn about their partners and competitors through my column. I’ve helped colleagues use their tools more easily creating widgets that improved those tools. I’ve helped advertisers reach their customers by creating and delivering their ads. I’ve helped fellow journalists and members of the local community use social media effectively by sharing what I’ve learned and organizing events where they could learn more.

I realize that my passion comes from building connections, and I plan to do more of that. I haven’t “landed” yet, but my goal is clear. I want to help people and/or companies make connections to reach their goals. To do that I must keep my options open, because there are so many professions that fit that bill:

  • Journalists connect news consumers to helpful information.
  • Public relations professionals connect organizations to the public.
  • Marketers connect products or services to people who can use them.
  • Managers connect team members to work as one collaborative unit.
  • Analysts connect data to actionable insights.
  • Developers connect users to the tasks they need to complete.

Why I stopped working for a newspaper company

Jugendschutz im Internet by licensed under CC BY NC 2.0
Jugendschutz im Internet by Frank Zimper licensed under CC BY NC 2.0

When I admitted yesterday that I don’t read newspapers, I didn’t cite that as a reason for my departure from the Orange County Register. It’s no secret that the Register offered buyouts in June and Gustavo Arellano reported early on that I was on the list of journalists who would leave.

My decision wasn’t easy. When I joined the the Register in 2005, it was an exciting news and information organization trying to exceed online just as much as it had in print.

During my first eight years at the Register, I worked on advancing our digital efforts. I started as a slightly glorified web monkey, part of a team that got stories online and made sure the site’s many moving parts were updated throughout the day.

Freedom. It was a great time. There weren’t enough bosses to review everything that published online, and standards were still being set. I could experiment without fear of losing my job. I threw in some fancy CSS and JavaScript trickery. I did things like embed a tour of the Rose Parade (a Google Map that could be navigated with custom buttons) into an article. I made tables sortable. I never had to ask for permission.

Risk. The Register had forward-thinking people like Glenn Hall on staff. He headed up the business section, and had been watching my work. He asked if I would like to join the business team as editor of our technology coverage. He wanted to add my online skills to the leadership of the section. For that, I will always be grateful.

Strategy. Under Glenn’s leadership, I was challenged to develop a strategy for our online business coverage. The team executed that strategy, birthing many successful blogs, tweaking our content management system to its limits and asking journalists to use systems and write content that was not traditional newspaper fare.

Leadership. The web team lured me back to become leader of a four-person “Web Task Force” that worked on purely digital products. We helped editors beef up their online coverage, and we helped launch new online products.

Social. When I began experimenting with social media, before its worth could be proved, my bosses never asked me to stop. I created our first official Twitter account, @OCReggie, and led the team that manned that account. The Register supported me when I asked to throw the Social Media Day Orange County series of events. I led a small team that traveled to bureaus teaching journalists how to use Twitter and Facebook in their reporting. I developed a tentative social media strategy for our parent company, Freedom Communications, and that evolved into a formal project that sent me to our properties in Texas and North Carolina to help launch their social efforts.

Variety. Regardless of my official position, I always had my hand in a ridiculous amount of digital projects. I had input on our content management system, helped conduct live chats, coded part of our short-live iPad project and even helped with marketing and sales projects. There was no lack of digital work.

Shift. When our new owners took charge, they announced a strategy that would create quality products for paying subscribers. Many interpreted this as a print-centric approach. My friends asked if I would stay with the company, since I was a “digital” guy. I defended the new strategy. I wanted to boost the quality of our work, and I supported our focus on paying customers. It made good business sense. I shifted into a writing position that eventually turned into a 5-day-a-week column for the business section.

But … I didn’t see our digital efforts move forward. I was happy that we hired dozens of new journalists. I was excited about new weekly community papers. I couldn’t believe how thick our paper had gotten. But I didn’t see any real advancement for our online subscribers.

For the last year, I’ve written a column for a newspaper company, while not helping our digital readers. That’s why I left.

What’s next? Well, I’ve revived this old blog. Tomorrow, I’ll share my next move.

Update: My next move.

Why I left newspapers

Urban Tumbleweed by Vonderau Visuals, licensed  under CC BY NC 2.0
Urban Tumbleweed by Vonderau Visuals, licensed under CC BY NC 2.0

I don’t read newspapers. There. I said it.

It’s not that I don’t like newspapers. I love the way their carefully crafted words merge with pictures, illustrations and graphics to tell stories. I’m amazed that large groups of people can work together to essentially produce a short book. Every. Day.

It’s not you, newspapers, it’s me.

I’ve grown as a news consumer over the past couple of decades, and I need someone that understands my modern needs.

I need someone who’s there for me when I call. Your once-a-day visits just don’t cut it anymore. My new partner is always present, in my pocket, ready to for me to read whenever I’m  ready.

I need someone who listens to me. You should have learned to stop sending me  when I repeatedly skipped them on my way to the .

I need someone that tells me when important news breaks. Someone who understands that  fall into that category, while I don’t need to be alerted about . Your delivery trucks never made a special trip to bring me breaking news.

I need someone who brings me information from a deep and wide variety of news organizations and credible blogs. All you gave me were articles written by your staff and a handful of wire services.

I’ve found a platform that fulfills my news-reading needs. My Internet-powered has replaced you, and it’s time for us to go our separate ways. To be honest, newspaper, I’ve been using my new platform for years now, while I’ve tossed you into the recycle bin nearly every day.

I’m not saying that you’re a bad product, but I just don’t need you anymore. I wish you well, and I’m sure you’ll continue to make your habitual readers happy.