The tools change but the metrics remain the same
I had a conversation with some one yesterday. One of the points I felt the person made was that my my dissertation was subject to dating because the tools will change. From my point of view? It isn’t an issue. My dissertation is not about the tools. Rather, it is about the methodologies and the basic measurements. The internet has not seen a particular revolution in the metrics that we’ve used since we first got on the Internet. What are these metrics?
- Page views/total downloads.
- Time spent on a site.
- Where visits originated/click throughs.
- Interactions analysis.
FanFiction.Net hasn’t fundamentally changed its statistics that it has provided for writers since the site began. Yeah, there are ways of making these more advanced but a lot of this is just the same. People back in the 1980s on mailing lists, people on Usenet in the 1990s complained about the ratio of comments to the ratio of readers. People looked at membership to usenet, to services like Geni, to mailing lists, to bulletin boards… and people continue to look at membership and allegiance patterns on things like Yahoo!Groups, bebo, LiveJournal, Twitter, Facebook. The more things change, the more things stay the same.
There is no revolutionary metric that doesn’t have real roots in earlier metrics. The visibility and accessibility of this data changes over time but that doesn’t change what’s at the heart.