Webometric Thoughts

February 15, 2009

Twitter, Politics, and Looking for Meaningful Metrics

Filed under: Twitter,metrics,politics,twitometrics,webometrics — admin @ 11:57 am

As Twitter seems to be the latest shiny web site that has everyone interested, and with a general election on its way (well, June 2010 at the latest), I decided to see how the political parties have taken to Twitter.

The most simple comparison is between the raw numbers of the parties:
Obviously these numbers don’t look good for the Labour Party, not listening and not many followers. They don’t even have a single account, but rather two different streams with the same information.

Whilst such comparisons will be made with increasing regularity as the election approaches, for example:
…, we quickly realise we need to take into consideration a far wider variety of Twitter accounts and take into consideration other metrics.

@DowningStreet, the official Twitter channel for the office of the Prime Minister, provides a total different perspective on the Labour Party’s fortunes.
If @DowningStreet’s Twitter friends were an indication of support, Gordon could expect a landslide victory at the next general election. Unfortunately things are not that simple. As one comment to @DowningStreet shows, people follow for many different reasons:

any chance next week i can have a pic taken outside No.10? im visiting for a few days? i know its cheeky but i had to ask!

Obviously @DowningStree is not the only other UK political Twitterer, many individuals, groups and departments have accounts. All contributing to the complex picture of the UK political landscape.

Twitter potentially offers a lot of useful information about both the attitude of the parties to the electorate, and the electorate to the parties. Unfortunately, as with all webometric studies, for meaningful answers to be arrived at there needs to be distinct methodical steps rather than just a grabbing of raw data:
1) Select appropriate Twitter accounts to answer the research question.
2) Investigate Twitter interactions:
Not only ‘do they follow and have followers’, but are they ReTweeting comments and Responding to questions directed at them.
3) Investigate the nature of the interactions:
Unfortunately the simplest way of finding out the nature of many of the connection is to analyse the comments, a very long and tedious process.

As with so many things on the web, it would be interesting to investigate, if only one had the time.

September 13, 2007

Webometrics is addictive!

Filed under: alexa,blogpulse,metrics,technorati,webometrics — admin @ 4:24 pm

Despite knowing the meaninglessness of many the simple web metrics that can be calculated online and the inaccuracies that are inherent in the different tools available, for some reason I find that I am compelled to look at them.

The lack of inlinks or comments is not very surprising for a new blog. Many of the early posts are feeling one’s way, determining what sort of areas are going to be discussed; ‘finding one’s voice’ as the more pretenscious may say. Nonetheless there are already things of note for the addicted webometrician, albeit mostly about the tools themselves:
-Why does Blogpulse claim that I enthusiastically posted 16 posts on the 10th of September when looking at the blog I see I posted twice?
-Why has Technorati failed to index my post on Facebook metrics whilst seemingly indexing every other post?

And most importantly:
-Who is the lone Alexa user who visited three of my pages?

Although Alexa statistics are notoriously hit or miss, as relatively few web users have the software installed and once installed is often labelled spyware, it does allow comparisons between web sites. As an addicted webometrician the ability to compare my own blog with a fellow webometrician’s is too hard to turn down. Webometrics.fi:

Unfortunately I lose this time, but it is still early days….and surely this is the smallest margin possible?

September 10, 2007

Here come the Facebook metrics…

Filed under: SEO,facebook,metrics — admin @ 6:52 pm

Despite search engine optimisation being a topic that generally makes my flesh crawl, Search Engine Guide is one of those sites that I for some reason entered into my RSS aggregator and whilst there is rarely an article I bother to read fully, it has just enough going for it to stop me deleting it. Sometimes, however, there are articles that are so irritating that they make you reassess whether now is the time to finally delete the feed.

At the moment everyone is talking about Facebook, and it is not surprising that the SEOs are on the case with tips about how it can be used to promote an organisation and share news. I’m not sure which part of the article annoys me most, the lack of discussion about whether a Facebook group is necessarily appropriate for a particular organisation’s web presence, the pretty obvious tips, or the awful suggested metrics. It would probably have to be the metrics which focus primarily on quantity rather than quality.

Its time that I either take the RSS feed out of my aggregator, or accept that those involved in web analytics are just inhabiting a different world to those in the academic world of webometrics.

September 7, 2007

A webometrician’s woes: Ignorance is bliss

Filed under: metrics,technorati — admin @ 5:00 pm

According to Technorati my ‘Webometric Thoughts’ blog has hurtled up the blog rankings, in fact if it was on an old episode of Top of the Pops it would be this week’s fastest climber. Climbing rapidly from position 7,966,799 to position 2,572,229, it can surely only be a matter of moments before the whole of the web is talking about my profound insights into life, the universe and everything!…unfortunately this is not the case, web statistics are rarely that simple, or rather in Technorati’s case are even more simple.

Technorati’s authority is based on the number of blogs linking to a site in the last 180 days…and the one link that I currently have will soon disappear as is was automatically created due to my support of Blog Action Day, so at the moment of my greatest success I must mentally prepare for the day I become the highest faller in the charts…unless of course I get the currently required authority of 31,619 blogs to beat Engadget and become top of the blogs!

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