Michael Totten

Directing Traffic

I understand why so many people still don’t know what a blog is, and I understand why they wouldn’t care if they did. Most of my friends are only vaguely aware I even have a Web site in the first place, and they certainly don’t read it. (A few read it, but only a few.) And that’s fine with me. While it’s fun to talk shop, so to speak, it’s also nice to be able to chill out with my friends and not yammer on about politics and the media all the time. Not to mention the fact that if I write something dumb or off the wall they won’t even know about it, let alone care about it. Nor will they hold it against me personally if I don’t vote for the same presidential candidate they do.
It does surprise me, though, how many people in “old media” are still out to lunch on this subject. They’re opinionated news junkies just like the rest of us. Maybe they just feel threatened and would rather not think about it.
Here is Jeff Jarvis on his blog today:

Many of us have seen it: A mention of a blog in a paper or a magazine or even on TV doesn’t bring in nearly the traffic of a big blog link. I get much more traffic from a mention by Glenn Reynolds than from a mention in Time magazine or the New York Times.
I remember the business head of MSNBC.com telling me sometime ago that Glenn Reynolds’ column there gets more traffic from external blogs than from the internal promotional power of the meganewssite.
See Media Drop’s comments (and links to Terry Heaton and Bill Hobbs) on a panel discussion that brought gasps to the lungs of flacks when they heard this phenom: Blogs cause more links than big, old media.

Gasps to the lungs of flacks! I’ll bet.
The truth is that big old media hardly directs any Internet traffic at all.
Howard Kurtz linked to me in the Washington Post. There was a time when I would have thought such a link would be huge. But no. Not at all. I got a grand total of 25 hits from him.
Whenever I publish a piece in Tech Central Station, a link to my blog is posted at the end. I usually get about 100 hits from that.
A few days ago Roger L. Simon linked me and gave me 500 hits.
When Glenn Reynolds links me, I get 10,000.
It’s tempting for people in the blogosphere to pat themselves on the back and say ha! to old media. Sometimes it’s a bit much, but only sometimes. I wonder if the folks at the Washington Post know just how much more traffic a blog can direct than the online version of their newspaper can.