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Ever wonder what happens when you get Dugg?

I started up this blog in early February, the day after I got my MacBook. It was going to be cathartic for me - something to break up the time I was spending while building the foundation for my next company. 

Because I included a reference to my blog in my sigs at Mac-Forums I started getting a little traffic. With friends and the folks from that forum popping in I was averaging about 20 unique visitors a day. The nice folks at Digital Apple Juice asked if they could reprint my blog there. Sure, why not? That also generated some traffic.

I was running Google Analytics and, other than a mental lapse for a couple days in late February where I removed the tracking script, my traffic looked like this:

Up to this point in time I had 716 visits and 1,441 page views. It was simply bubbling along.

I noticed that the folks at Digital Apple Juice were getting digs on their articles so I figured I'd try that myself. I added the little Digg box in the top right of my templates and submitted my first post about a Windows developer getting a Mac. I did this on Thursday, March 13, in the morning.

I got a couple of Diggs that first day. Just a few though. Friday morning I checked on my stats and it looked like I was getting a spike in traffic. I went out to lunch with a friend and while away I was besieged with e-mails telling me that people had been commenting on my blog. Suddenly iChat was popping up windows from friends telling me that I was on the Digg front page!

There were nice comments, strongly opinionated comments and some flat out "hater" comments in there. I immediately took the anonymous commenting functionality off because there was a direct correlation between the "you suck..." and anonymous. They all wanted to cast stones while wearing masks. Mob mentality at its finest.

Fortunately I use Blogger to host this blog because this is what my traffic looked like by Saturday morning:

For Friday alone I had received over 1800 diggs, which translated into 63,694 visits and nearly 93,000 page views. Saturday dropped to 11,762 visits and nearly 18K page views. The 15 minutes of fame that being Dugg affords is now passing. It was a bit of a rush to get up into the Top 10 topics on Digg (#5 was the highest I saw).

So what made that particular post tip? Clearly it was because the Windows vs Mac argument continues to bring heated debate. I imagine if I put up a post about Linux vs Windows it would likely also bring lots of traffic, though there are many posts like that on Digg that never generate any traffic. Clearly something hit a nerve. Was it the fact that my picture - which got sucked in from the about me part of the page - made it a personal statement? Likely it was a combination of those.

If I was driving traffic to this blog to monetize it with ads (which I am not) it may be worthwhile to try creating controversy to drive traffic, though that doesn't really sound like a fun business to me.

As an entrepreneur that builds applications that use the Internet I continue to be fascinated by what makes a meme happen. My little flirtation with Digg popularity finally gives me some data points on it that I know are real. I hope by sharing this with you that you find something valuable in it as well.

14 comments:

Marco said...

Very interesting post. Just wanted to let you know that I found your blog from the digg front page, read all of your posts and really enjoyed them, and now your RSS feed is on my iGoogle home page. I enjoy reading about your daily adventures with your new Mac. Keep up the great blog!

Jeff Bellamy said...

I also came to your site from it being dugg. I read an RSS of http://doggdot.us/. which includes links from digg, slashdot & del.icio.us.

I just want to mention a little piece of software that I like having on my Mac. Its called Applejack http://applejack.sourceforge.net/.

Ryan said...

I can only speak for myself, but it wasn't the potentially controversial Windows vs. Mac title that attracted my attention, but the development angle. As a full-time Windows developer for the past 8 years, but who is interested in moving into Mac development, I was intrigued by your experience.

Albert said...

I'm another digger who saw the link for this blog on the front page and I also read all your posts. As a long time mac user, I've always been curious as to what draws long time pc users to this platform. However, as a long time mac user, I really do take a lot of things about the OS for granted, and your blog has showed me a bunch of little tricks that I hadn't thought to use before (i.e. using spotlight to find apps. I've always just had the ones I need on my desktop and later the dock and never really deviated from that).

Keep up the good work!

Sprocketeer said...

I, too found this blog via Digg.

I switched to Mac about March 2005, shortly after the Mac Mini was introduced. I had been hearing good things about OS X, and the low price of the Mini spoke to me that Apple was at least willing to meet potential switchers halfway. In the three years since then, I have also purchased two iPods, and Intel Mac Mini, and a MacBook Pro. I still have my Windows computer, but the only thing I use it for now is backing up my Windows PDA. I'm hoping that the SDK for the iPhone will make it possible for me to fully dispense with Windows. All I need to really do that are e-book, word processing and spreadsheet applications for the iPhone and I'm there!

Craig said...

Hey David, just wanted to say that I don't usually RSS blogs but I am hooked by this really interesting, Spent my Friday evening reading this. Looking forward to reading about you setting up your new company and of course your final decision on whether you buy your wife an MBP!

David Alison said...

Thanks for the comments all. It is good to know that people are getting value out of this. It's going to be a little odd switching between Mac issues and business startup items but hopefully everyone finds it at least interesting to read.

Krista said...

I also discovered your blog through Digg, but will definitely be sticking around. I'm heading off to school in the fall and have been thinking about a Mac as my new laptop, and your blog has been a great resource so far. Look forward to reading more of your tips and experiences with the switch.

Nix said...

Hi David!

I discovered your blog through Digg and whats ironic is that I took up the Mac at almost exactly the same time started using yours. I got my MacBook (Black version) delievered around last week of Jan. Ok a bit about myself: I just started pursuing Masters in Computer Science and the reason I shifted to the Mac was to avoid Vista. Why I wanted to avoid vista? Well the biggest reason is that I have spent 5 hours trying to get my roommates vista laptops connect to our WiFi router. Those are 4 different vista laptops who all want to connect to linksys and wont forget a wifi network they encountered earlier and...........

Ok anyways just wanted to tell you one important thing about development. When I had to do my assignments I didnt have to download GCC or LEX/YACC for creating compilers like other window friends out there. It was all built in!! Seriously, open up the terminal and you got bash! This is a full fledged unix machine inside that you can use to program! You will love developing software on mac. Also I use "Smultron" as my text editor. It is a pretty printer for almost all the languages you have out there.

Ok in the end all I wanna say is this: People convert to mac everyday and only a few document the experience from a developers view. And you're one of them. So thanks!

WLG_Jedimaster said...

I too discovered your blog through Digg... and what really interested me was the fact that you are a long time Windows Developer. I have been a Windows Developer for about 8 years now and I am really interested in getting a Mac, but I just don't know if I am ready to plunk down the cash to find out if I would like/use it.

Now, I would like to ask a question... you got a Macbook, but not a Macbook Pro... do you find the Macbook has enough power, or do you wish you had got the Macbook Pro. I have been looking at the Macbook Pro for a while now and I will probably go for that if/when I get one... unless your experience tells me otherwise.

Thanks, and keep up the great blog.

David Alison said...

@wlg_jedimaster: Excellent question. I really like the MacBook but there are times I wish I had a little more horsepower. I'll probably put a post up about this but here's my thoughts at the moment:

I love the portability of the MacBook. For a little 5lb laptop it packs a pretty significant amount of power. By far that's it's biggest strength for me over the MacBook Pro - though it wasn't that much of a difference really. I've been playing with VMWare fusion and it's a great way to get Windows XP running smoothly and still keep my Mac applications around.

The biggest advantage that the MacBook Pro has over the basic MacBook is the better display size and a separate graphics system. The MacBook uses shared system memory and CPU to drive graphics. Most of the development tools out there are not graphics heavy so I don't think that has too much of a hit on the MacBook. The display size is an issue though. You can get a Mini-DV adaptor and drive an external monitor, though that's not really how I use this machine.

I still haven't installed Microsoft Visual Studio into my VMWare Fusion based XP environment; I just haven't had time. My gut feeling is that it will be serviceable but I'll probably want more horsepower.

The Visual Studio environment is pretty demanding, especially when using the data set editor and class designer - there's a pretty heavy CPU hit when the code refactors. I could probably make do with the MacBook but I wouldn't want it as a primary machine for day to day development. I would probably get the MacBook Pro for that.

I'm actually planning on getting a Mac Pro (tower) system in the near future. My MacBook is going to be my complimentary machine at that point.

My advice to you would be that if you are going to be doing serious development work on the machine get a MacBook Pro.

Lots of random thoughts in here man - this is a blast of consciousness comment. I hope it helps.

Professr said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences! I've been a hardcore Windows user since Windows 3.0, but I switched to a 17" Macbook Pro a few months ago rather than upgrade (downgrade?) to Vista. I, also, found that there were just so many little "cool!" things about the way everything worked that I found myself being much more productive than before. Since I develop mainly in Java, though, I haven't had the same issues you've had with development environments. I know several other developers who have switched for the same reasons, and they tell me they'd never go back.

covertress said...

Just discovered you through THIS STORY posted on digg. Sometimes fans come from humbler articles (as I have.)

David Alison said...

@Covertress: Just the same, glad you stopped by. Hopefully you'll find some other stories of interest here.