Even though I don’t post blog entries every day, I do venture onto my blog once or twice a day to check the statistics. WordPress has awesome web tracking stats that can be broken down by day, week, month, year, etc. Not only does it tell me how many people visited my blog each day, it tells me which blog entries they read. What I have found very interesting is they also track what people typed into search engines that lead them to my blog. (NOTE: The most common search term that brings up my blog is when people are looking for information on Rent Certificates, which tells me I will need to do a new rent certificate post a little closer to tax time.)
If someone came to my blog because they were lead there from a different website, that is also listed. The most common reference here is when people go to the blog of my friend Tristan Petitt who is an attorney in Milwaukee(http://petriestocking.com/blog/). He sometimes mentions my blog, or I sometimes comment on his posts, and people get to my blog from his.
However, yesterday I noticed that someone got to my blog from the Wausau Daily Herald’s website. However, the exact location they got there was a very long website name. Out of curiosity, I clicked on it. Recently, the Daily Herald had a story about how the comment section of their articles was going start being done as Facebook posts. The person who came to my blog got there from the comment section of this post. At that time yesterday afternoon, there was well over 100 posts, the vast majority of which were not to pleased with this decision of the Daily Herald internet gods. I went through each and every comment, to see which one might have lead to my blog… but I was not mentioned once.. so I am perplexed.
Early today, I popped over to Citizen Wausau and noticed there was a comment there also about the whole Daily Herald-Facebook thing. So.. as a past “power user” over at the Herald, I thought I would throw in my two cents.
A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I was one of the contributing writers to a local blog called, of all things, WausauBlog. I spend a lot of time atWausauCity Hall, and at that time, the reporter who covered that “beat” was D J Slater. He told me to check out the Daily Heralds forum boards and I did. And from there it all started.
I became one of the more regular and recognized users of their site. Back in those days, all comments went to the forum area. Then they changed the format of the website and the comments stayed with the articles and the forums were all separate. Many (including myself) didn’t care for this, because articles basically were hard to find after a few days, so the long discussions that would happen would be gone within a week. But, I kept with it.
The Dr. Rent blog started out a long time ago as a Yahoo 360 page that basically gave radio show previews… but it was revised as a true blog covering all sorts of topics on the Daily Herald website, and they gave that blog some pretty top billing. I was listed on the website as a featured blog… and when the print version would do an article of the best of the blogs, my blog would be featured more than it wasn’t. My participation in their online community lead to an invitation to serve as a reader-member of their editorial board. Times were good.
However, my blog fell under attack there, and I started doing a duplicate blog over at Citizen Wausau. They then changed formats again and I was no longer able to post blog posts in the normal method I did… so the Dr. Rent blog came to an end at the Daily Herald’s website. Also, my computer is not new, it is a 7 year old system running Windows XP and some old version of IE, and the newest version of the Herald’s new website would constantly lock up my computer. Because of that, I now check for the daily news on the mobile version of their website on my Blackberry and spend very little time on the actual internet version of their site.
Also, when it crashes my system, it logs me out and it is a pain to look up my password in order to log back in only to be logged out again. For this reason, you have not seen Dr Rent commenting on articles or on forum board topics on that site in quite some time. However, had I not already brought my commenting to a close, this Facebook thing would have.
I set up a Facebook (and MySpace) account a long time ago because I attended a landlord-tenant seminar that said that these sites were good tools in tenant underwriting. You can learn a lot about a potential rental applicant by doing a facebook search. I did find some interesting things on a few applicants, but did not stick with it because I wasn’t sure how to use this as a screening tool and still comply with fair housing laws.
Then, some people who I served with in the military found me, and I started “friending” them. I also “friended” people who asked, who were “fans” of Dr. Rent, and that is where I went wrong. Long story short, some people who were not happy with some business decisions (i.e. evictions or collections) found ways to start harassing my friends on facebook, and that was drama I simply didn’t need, so I shut the whole thing down.
The Daily Herald is a private business, and as such, they have every right to modify their website in any way they want. Personally, I think the dialoge that people could add to articles added value, it made things interesting. It made the newspaper interactive. I understand from the comments made by WDHAdministrator in that comment thread, this is a business decision that probably makes pretty good financial sense if I have to be honest. However, I do think it will kill most of the article discussion, as I know I am not the only one who chooses not to be part of the Facebook phenomenon.
I wish the Daily Herald luck and I miss my online friends from that site. Who knows, once I go to a more up to date operating system, I may try to get back on the forum boards… however… if comments to articles are to be done by Facebook, they will NOT be done by Dr. Rent.