Webometric Thoughts

May 28, 2009

Many a slip twixt the phone and TwitPic?

Filed under: TwitPic,Twitter,beta,reliability — admin @ 9:50 am

Yesterday evening I was having a game of chess in the Posada pub in Wolverhampton. As it was the first game I had played in years, I couldn’t let the occasion pass without telling the world. I sent this photo to TwitPic using PockeTwit:

However I have just discovered that was not the picture that was published:

Ignoring for the moment my inability to spell, where did this car come from? It is not a picture I have taken or even seen before! Admittedly I was having a pint with the game of chess, but I’m sure I would remember nipping out to take a photo of a rally car. No such picture exists on my phone.

On this occasion it didn’t matter; no one even questioned the disparity between the photo and the text. However it could have been a less appropriate photo in a more professional context.

In attempting to keep up in the social media game many of us are relying on technologies that have not yet been robustly tested, and generally recommending these technologies to everyone else as well. Maybe we should make a bit more effort emphasising the fact these technologies should be treated as being in beta…even if they don’t say they are.

March 26, 2008

Beta Problems: The case of Google Analytics

Filed under: Google Analytics,beta,bugs — admin @ 3:22 pm

It is often stated that we are now in the age of the perpetual beta as web services continually evolve to gain competitive advantage, never reaching a final finished product. Whilst we may enjoy the new additions to a favourite web site it can establish bugs in previously stable software. The effect of these bugs can range from the annoying to the potentially disastrous. Google Analytics seems to be having a number of these problems at the moment, hot on the heels of its not displaying graphs properly earlier in the month, I now find that it is refusing to acknowledge “absolute unique visitors”.

When investigating a day’s traffic it is always the absolute unique visitors that I am interested in rather than the total visitors, after all I often visit my own site more than once (and occasionally so do others). However, at some point yesterday Google analytics stopped being able to distinguish an absolute unique visitor. The results say I had a mere 27 absolute unique visitors yesterday, despite visitors from 33 different cities, whilst it currently says that I have had 27 visits today, of which there is not one single absolute unique visitor!

The perpetual beta works when innovation is more important than consistency. For me, in the cases of site statistics and email, consistency is more important than any new innovations.

Powered by WordPress