'Tis the season — of being busy

Dec 04, 2012

There are many signs that we are in the midst of one of the busiest times of the year.

Stores are filled with custimers - -— ones who sometimes lack the common courtesies that are a hallmark of the South.

Folks you encounter seem to have a rushed sense about them as they list all the things they have yet to do before Christmas.

Others exude a refreshing joy as they softly hum Christmas carols or just can’t keep a smile off their face as they think of the special surprises they have in store for the people who have meant so much to them throughout the year.

Here at The Mountaineer, there’s another way we can tell what’s important in the lives of our readers.

In past years, we would gauge reader interest in stories and news items from the comments we heard from them and others.

Now, we can track exactly what topics online Mountaineer readers find most intriguing by looking at the number of page views for each story, column or ad.

Those who post dinner specials or sales seem to be getting more page views, and some news stories seem to be getting less.

It is obviously a seasonal thing since news posts on similar topics have garnered five and six times more views in the past. It’s not logical that people would suddenly lose interest in a subject, but it does make sense that when there’s more pressing priorities, reading about the latest good news on the local economy, for instance, might not make the cut.

Another thing that’s clear from website stats — and this is the case all year long — is that readers want to know more about the bad news than the good news.

As much as people like to criticize the press for the negative headlines, stories on crime, accidents or disasters are, by far, the most popular.

When we tell readers our analysis shows more than 95 percent of the stories in our paper are on the good news in our community, they seem surprised, but it’s true. It’s just that the bad news seems to be what they remember.

There’s good news for online readers. If you miss a few stories in December, there’s always the dreary days in January to go back and read what you missed.

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