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Developing ideas in a weblog: show vs. tell

Last week I’ve got a comment on the draft chapter that got me stuck. In the study I describe my uses of weblog to develop dissertation ideas using meta-blogging posts from my weblog. As a result the section tells how this happens and from the comment it became clear that I also have to show it. Which is pretty tricky.

How do you show how ideas grow? I think as a reader of a weblog you just see them unfolding and connecting over time and, if you see a product that comes out as a result, you can often pinpoint traces of those early ideas and emerging connections. But how do you show it to someone who doesn’t have that experience, ideally in a condensed, easy to digest way?

Given what I know about visualising blog (and other) data I can think of nice visualisations of terms, tags and links over time, but I also know how much effort creating those visualisations requires.

I tried an easy route – looking at WordPress plugins that could show anything over time based on my weblog archives. Interestingly, while there are many of them to track external statistics (visits, referrals, most popular posts, etc.), there are hardly any to do it for the weblog itself. GeneralStats, that “counts the number of users, categories, posts, comments, pages, links, tags, link-categories, words in posts, words in comments and words in pages”, is one exception I found, but even it does not show, for example, numbers of weblog posts per category per month.

All of this is a bit sad. Not that much because it gives me a headache thinking about editing the chapter, but mainly as lack of tools to see patterns in one’s own weblog shows lack of demand for it…

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • A.T. July 23, 2008, 19:22

    they say if nobody did it before you and you totally need it, you have to do it yourself 😉 come on, it is all about little coding – take e.g. categories and use some Google Chart API http://code.google.com/apis/chart/ 😉

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