Saturday, May 26, 2007

ClustrMaps... (be careful)

Do you archive your ClustrMap(s) monthly, yearly, or even daily?

Alot of blogs you read these days have that wonderful little map in the sidebar that provides an interesting count of the visitors to your site. Its called a ClustrMap, and it's a great way to promote interest in a site.

We use a ClustrMap at Mullumwriters. When the children are published they go home and email a link to a relative or friend somewhere in the world, and then watch the ClustrMap update a day or two later. Its fun, interactive, engaging, and might even be "educational" (But I'd never tell them that.)

There are some things you'll need to watch though. Here at 21st Century Skills, I decided to set the map to archive every month. I had hoped to gather a monthly snapshot of the map and then turn it into a gif animation (or flash, or widget of choice), and watch the map slowly turn red.

Great idea huh? Well, yes and no!

Yes the map did archive, you can see the last month in the top right of this post. What I wasn't aware of though, was that once archived, the counter resets, and your map goes back to a blank slate (so to say). Here on the right is an image of my new map after 1 night.

What a suprise! I lost my running totals. My map is back to square one. Of course, I can always click through the map and look at the archive at anytime to reassure myself that "once upon a time" people read my blog, but it's kinda nice to see the map slowly turning red.

So here is the question.

Do I keep archiving each month and generate a nice morphing animation over the next few months, or do I wait until the forced reset that ClustrMaps impose each year?

Love to hear your thoughts.


Stu said...

I thought to archive each month too, but I really like the look of my ClustrMap:

It'd be a shame to see it all disappear. I think just having a map that shows a lot of readers is more impressive for new readers than an empty map they ecnounter each month...

Mark said...

Thats a mighty impressive map Stu.

I discovered a simple solution though.

Leave the ClustrMap to turn red if you so desire, but each month/week/day right click the current live map, and save as jpeg. (date it) Then when you have the required ammount of images, build them into the animation (gif/flash, whatever).

Have started this with my new map.

Kazzm said...

Sounds like a great solution, Mark. I think it is important for the students to see the map continue to show more red dots so they appreciate the impact of their writing.

Mark said...

Good point Kazzm. I agree.

Looking at the clustrmap website though, it does state that the map gets reset every year anyway.

Could be dissappointing to some of the little ones, but worse things can happen I guess.