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A Creepy Widget I Absolutely Had to Add to My Blog

by Tom Johnson on Mar 30, 2008 •
categories: bloggingtechnical-writing

As I was upgrading to WordPress 2.5 today, I discovered a really creepy widget that I just had to add to my blog.

The Live Traffic Feed Widget from Feedjit allows you to see details about who's visiting your blog in real-time. If you look in the right sidebar of my blog (lower-right), you'll see everyone who is reading my blog at the current moment -- both what they're reading and where they're from.

This kind of information creeps me out a bit, knowing that a handful of strangers are silently looking in my mental windows. For example, as I'm writing this, people in Johor and Ankara (are those places on earth?) are reading posts I wrote months ago. And some guy from Jersey is reading a post on printable to-do lists that's more than a year old.

Who are these people? Is the content I wrote weeks/months/years ago still valid? Does it have a bunch of typos and outdated perspectives?

Despite my apprehension, I love knowing that people are reading my blog. It's a lot more fun than simply seeing a Google Analytics report about the number of daily hits.

I've also inserted a Most Popular Pages Today widget (also from Feedjit) directly into the single post view of all posts. So while the folks from Johor and Ankara are checking out what they're checking out, hopefully they'll also be enticed to view other popular pages on my site (the popularity of those pages being determined by the same viewers.)

This embedded Popular Pages Today widget from Feedjit is a little more alluring than the standard 10 Most Popular posts widget that everyone seems to have in their sidebar.

By the way, another interesting plugin I've added is CommentLuv. When people make a comment, their latest post title shows next to their name. Kind of neat, and not nearly as creepy. But also not as fun.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.

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