Blog Upgrade

Just a quick note to let you know that I am in the process of upgrading WordPress, things might will break so please bear with me.

Update 1: Ok things are back but I need to upgrade many of my plugins so things will still look a bit strange for a while.

Update 2: Most plugins are back a couple have been removed due to not supporting WordPress 2.1.1. If you use the mobile version of my blog there is no need to goto a specific URL, the site now automatically support mobile browsers. I am also looking at some other plugins for a bit of fun.

Workplace saftey

For the HR folks out there, or anyone with health and safety responsibilities this is something you don’t want! Moulten Molten steel kills 32 workers. (Updated spelling serves me right for posting quickly.)

In one of the worst accidents seen in China’s perilous steel industry, 32 workers were killed when molten metal poured into their meeting room.

A huge ladle sheered off a rail and spilled its 1,500 degree contents, engulfing the workers.

Although the cynical might say it is one way to shorten meetings 😉
If you are in the health and safety business you should be on the first plane to China.

Workplace accidents in China’s steel industry have increased by nearly 50 per cent in the last year, as the expanding metal sector struggles to meet the demands of a booming economy.

Crazy Egg heats up my blog

Over the last couple of weeks I have been running a little usability experiment on my blog. Using Crazy Egg to measure what visitors have been doing, where they have been going and hopefully let me know how to make the blog a better place. Read/Write Web has a great run down on what you can do with the service, however let me give you my views on using the services.

Signing up and getting the service going is dead simple for anyone who has modified their blog theme. I signed up for the free plan tracking 4 pages, and 5,000 visits in a month, not bad, rates go up to US$99/month for 100 pages and 250,000 visits enough for most midrange blogs.

The reports are really easy to understand and gives you a good idea as to what is going on. I like the heat map but more gimmicky than anything else. I do question the click counts as they differ from out metrics tools I am running, but I am not going to let that stop me.

In the first 11 days what did I learn?

  • Most of the visitors are checking out who I am, so I am going to set up a new test to see where reader go once they land on my about page.
  • The search field is also popular, I wonder where they go after searching might look at that as well.
  • People also go back to my earlier posts, which indicates to me that they like what the see on the front page.
  • Some posts are definitely more attractive than others, might be the title, might be the Google rank not sure.

If I add in my latest Google Analytics results for the same period I start to see a picture.

  • 83% of visitors are new, meaning I am not getting a large number of return customers.
  • Almost 60% of my traffic comes from Google Search, 15% direct, the remaining 25% from other search engines.
  • Top post for the last 11 days has been the Did You Know Video follow up, with about 5% of traffic.
  • Second most popular post, my 2 year old Work Life Balance essay.
  • Unfortunately a lot of new traffic leave the site without staying around, need to fix this.

What Next?

  • Upgrade my about page
  • Review popular search terms and write more posts covering these terms
  • Review popular post categories and write more posts about them
  • Write a follow up on work life balance

I will keep the tests going for another few weeks and see what happens.

How many people are online?

During the recent discussion on “Do You Need a Resume?” we were reminded that not everyone is online or knows how to find you online. Many people are still scared of technology, don’t understand it or are just plain ignorant of what can be achieved. (This is not just in the workplace many of our schools are like this as well, but that is a whole other discussion.)

Tim Bray, a geek from Sun and major contributor to XML, provided a perspective on how small this hip, cool and connected community really is, when he asked just how big is this club, in a recent post.

We who read (and write) blogs and play with the latest Internet Trinkets (and build them) have been called an echo chamber, a hall of mirrors, a teeny geeky minority whose audience is itself.

In March, I gave a keynote at Web Design World in San Francisco. Frankly, it did not go that well; in particular, the crowd didn’t laugh at my jokes. Here’s one of them, more or less: “Being a Web Guy at Sun is a little intimidating. At high level strategy meetings the Chip Guys talk about what they’ll be shipping in 2009, and both the OS Guys and Java Guys talk about things a year or two out. As for us Web Guys, well… three weeks ago, I didn’t know that Twitter would become the Hot New Thing.”

It became apparent that most of them hadn’t heard of Twitter. The same joke (I’m a slow learner) fell flat at a meeting of University IT and Computer Science people a week later in Calgary. So let’s take this as evidence of the insularity and smallness—and, perhaps, unimportance—of the Internet In-crowd.

Do this means without a resume or forcing people to find you online means you might be missing out on the greatest job in the world? Maybe.

But many readers would say that they don’t want to work for such an organisation. I think you should. Why? Working for a unenlightened organisation might just be the challenge you need. Because the benefit to the community is huge.

Let me explain.

For us who are online all know about the power of social networks and hence why they are becoming the biggest thing on the internet. Geeks in the audience would know that this power is caused by Metcalfe’s law “which states that the value of a (telecommunications) network is proportional to the square of the number of users of the system (n2).”

Therefore the more people that come online the more power for us all. So go work for a company that does not know how to find your blog, wants a hard copy resume and show them to power.

We really need to do this we need to work at closing the digital divide, John Udell explains why.

What’s more, I believe this tribe is, over time, growing farther away from the rest of the world. That’s happening for an interesting and important reason, which is that the tools we are building and using are accelerating our ability to build and use more of these tools. It’s a virtuous cycle in that sense, and it’s the prototype for methods of Net-enabled collaboration that can apply to everyone.

However to communicate to the “others” we need to be careful we don’t alienate them in the process. John provides, for me, a small insight on how to do this, tell stories.

How do you talk to everyone about the transformative benefits of the technologies we’re so excited about, in ways that don’t make people flip the bozo switch and tune you out? How do you tell stories that make the benefits of the technology come alive for people, in ways they can understand, without overwhelming them with technical detail, but at the same time without dumbing down your explanation of the technology?

Don’t know how to tell a story? Listen to Anna Farmery’s latest podcast on just that topic.

Can your blog be your resume??

For me this is a question that has been floating around for a number of years, for others it is just coming to the fore front. Take today, Techmeme, it is a topic on the front page, based on a post from Adam Darowski.

The simple answer to this question is no your blog is not your resume. Let me explain.

The resume provides a framework for you to summarise your skills and experience in a short easy to digest document. Your blog does not. This does not mean your blog is not a valuable tool in finding a new job or finding new employees. Adam puts in nicely:-

Blogging is the perfect way for a candidate to give an employer a more detailed sales pitch—to show they can “talk the talk” (as opposed to just fill a resume with buzzwords).

Basically your blog becomes part of your professional reputation and is a marketing tool to help recruiters and prospective employers find you. Bokardo gives us some great tips and points to remember about your blog and how to use it to enhance your professional reputation.

Having said all of that some people, a very limited number, might be able to land a job without a resume. For the rest of us it is just part of the recruitment equation.

Remember only a smaller percentage of the population blogs and an even smaller percentage of recruiter know about blogs (I know they should). Therefore most of the time you will still have to play ball by the same rules if you want to land a dream job.

Remember your blog is about participating in the community, this will expand your professional network, which helps you land a job. I wrote about this a long time ago after Jeremy Zawodny called blogs “professional lubricant”.

Finally remember what happens online it fairly permanent and can be found in most search engines by a half way decent recruiter or employer.  Who can forget last year’s Miss Universe publicity.
There is lots more discussion on this topic.

Best places to live

A while back Guy Kawasaki published a post about the 20 happiest countries in the world. The list was based on a study by Adrian G. White, a psychologist at the University of Leicester.

The meta-analysis is based on the findings of over 100 different studies around the world, which questioned 80,000 people worldwide. For this study data has also been analysed in relation to health, wealth and access to education.

The research found that capitalism is not necessarily “making” people unhappy, a belief that is often stated. In fact what the study confirmed that in countries where the basic needs as defined by Maslow were met people were happy.

people in countries with good healthcare, a higher GDP per captia, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy

So the twenty happiest countries are:

  1. Denmark
  2. Switzerland
  3. Austria
  4. Iceland
  5. The Bahamas
  6. Finland
  7. Sweden
  8. Bhutan
  9. Brunei
  10. Canada
  11. Ireland
  12. Luxembourg
  13. Costa Rica
  14. Malta
  15. The Netherlands
  16. Antigua and Barbuda
  17. Malaysia
  18. New Zealand
  19. Norway
  20. The Seychelles

Other interesting results USA (23), Germany (35), UK (41), France (62), China (82), Japan (90), India (125) and Russia (167). The three least happy countries were Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Burundi. I don’t see Australia listed but we can’t be too far below New Zealand!

There is a nice map of happiness for the visual learners, like me.

UPDATE: As an interesting side note the top Twitter users don’t seem to be in the top 20 happiest countries

Top Australian blogs

Over the last week or so there has been some renewed interest in the top blogs in Australia, first was Craig Harper’s Ultimate Australian Blogroll. Then Meg from dLook pulled together a really good view of the Australian blogosphere taking Technorati and Alexa rankings to come up with the Top 100 Australian Blogs, she has also provided some details on the index. Today The Age continues the theme with a small article about the list.

There are some really good blogs on the list, the problem is I now have more feeds to read!

I am distressed that I am not in the list, maybe next time, however I might need to spend some more time on my blog :-).

RIP jobs.com.au??

It seems a fancy advertising campaign will not save you is the cut throat business that is online job boards in Australia, just deep pockets!

Jobs.com.au seem to have gone they way of the dodo. The Fin Review was reporting yesterday that receivers have been appointed (Hat Tip Trevor Cook & Mark Fletcher), today their web site does not seem to be in operation.

I have said before the only way someone is going to take control of the online job market in Australia is with lots of money and lots of reasons for both job seekers and employers to use your service. To quote Mark:-

Jobs’ mistake was that they did not offer a point of difference, they brought online an expensive offline model.

It seems they did not have enough money to support their model, nor did they really add enough value to make people switch.