Sunday, December 10, 2006

Any more Neil Gaiman fans?

I mentioned at this post on the ways my colleagues at High Browse Online tried to encourage more visitors/ readers to leave comments at the book blog. Well, once in a while we'd have posts like this one (thanks to 'L' for the submission) where the online discussion established its own momentum.

Some might say that 11 comments (at the last count) might not be much. We don't have a target for "number of comments per post". It's really about the quality of the discussion.

'L's' post led to more related posts. I decided to just trace the path out of curiosity:
  • Here's the post from 'L', on Neil Gaiman's "Stardust";
  • Which reminded me I've also read one of Neil Gaiman's book and I decided to submit this;
  • Then my colleague, Jillian, followed-up with this post.

Is this the "Long Tail" effect in action?

There's no 100% reliable way to track how many people have read the Neil Gaiman posts (I think there's a MT plug-in but apparently it's not 100% accurate), and certainly no way to determine if any Neil Gaiman books borrowed from the library resulted from people reading those posts. I wish there was a cheap and efficient way to track this.

An idea came to mind as I'm blogging this post:
  • Create a e-mail list for High Browse Online (use a free one like Googlegroups or Yahoogroups);
  • Purpose of the email list is to keep subscribers informed of selected posts (i.e. book recommendations), and also discussions in the book blog;
  • An email could be sent on a weekly basis (I'm thinking Fridays, so that timing-wise, members might be more inclined to visit the library on a Saturday or Sunday);
  • Volunteers could run and manage this e-mail list, rather than library staff;
  • Rather than dictate how the list is managed, library staff (e.g. members of the book blog editorial team) could serve in an advisory capacity. I think chances of the list being abused is minimal;
  • The library could allocate a few tens of dollars to help the volunteers publicise the list and/ or organise the occasional meet-up.

Just how feasible is this idea, I wonder? Any takers? :)


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