Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Aggregator and my readership - The News Aggregator for Medical Topics

I am a compulsive communicator. In the mid-90s I began a hobby web site, which grew over the years. About half the work that goes into that site would have been spent on notes stored on my local hard drive, so I've been able to rationalize my vice. I admit things got a bit out of hand with the international credit card scandal, but they settled down in the 2000s. Mostly the site served my needs, and it if was helpful to others that was good karma.

Then, in 2002, my brother was lost. I needed a way to let friends and family know what was going on during our fruitless search in the mountains; Blogger was a new and handy communication tool. (This was before Google bought them.) Alas, Blogger then turned from a tool into a enabler. My vice had a new dimension - blogging.

In the years that followed I began several blogs, nowadays three are active. One focuses on politics and opinion, one keeps my notes on various hardware/computer topics and one focuses on special education notes and issues. The first serves my compulsion to warn and to bloviate, the second was a handy way to store and index my personal notes for future reference, and the last was also primarily a way to keep notes -- but it might additionally become a way toserve our local special education community.

All along, I assumed no-one really read my posts. My wife likes to read the political blog (she's odder than people think) and I get thank you notes from people who've found the tech posts via Google. I figured that was the extent of my readership.

Then my colleague Jacob Reider, a family physician and academic, started medlogs with the help of David Ross. I've met Jacob only a few times over the years, but anyone who's met him knows he has an extraordinary mind -- and that he's a serious geek as well as being a most likeable person. Jacob, inexplicably, included my opinion blog in the initial feeds his software collected and published. Later I added my special education blog to the Reider/Ross aggregator; I figured that blog might actually be helpful to someone.

The Medlogs aggregator is special, and I mean that in a good way. It's fascinating reading, and the software does a great job of collecting and presenting a range of vaguely medically related postings into several themed streams. It's becoming a cross between a publishing house and a journal, and it has a seriously high Google/MSNSearch ranking.

Recently Jabob/David added a hit count to the articles they aggregate. So I can actually see who clicked on their article header to read my article. Imagine my shock when I saw 8 people had read something I wrote this morning. That's seven more people than my wife.

So I have a sort of readership. Hello! You have my condolences ...

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