Lately I find myself interested in those tools and sites that track popularity or buzz. There are plenty of them for search engines, news, and places like that, but I have yet to see many for multimedia outside of YouTube and a few other video sites. Recently however I came across one for tracking the popularity of Flickr groups. Group Trackr is available at http://dev.nitens.org/flickr/group_trackr.php .
There are currently over 225 groups being tracked, and you can add your own. Go to Flickr and browse for the group in which you’re interested. (You can start at http://flickr.com/search/groups/ . ) Once you’ve found one, enter the group URL or ID at the Trackr page. I decided to track the Athwiites group at http://flickr.com/groups/athwiites/ (Is this Nintendo exercise thing a fad or not? Hopefully Flickr photo upload stats will give me another data point.)
Once you’ve entered the URL you’ll get a page of information about the group but you will not get any stats. The group needs to be in Trackr for 24 hours before it starts generating stats. You’ll also get code for putting the graph on your own site, and links to RSS feeds for tracking these statistics. You can even export full lists of statistics (how nice!)
So let’s look at a group that’s already been generating stats for a while — a photo group dedicated to wiring. The Trackr address for this group is http://dev.nitens.org/flickr/group_trackr.php?group=79466774@N00 . If you’ll look at this page you’ll see that you have additional information including the number of new photos since the group has been put in Trackr (and the percentage growth that reflects), new members (ditto) and a graph that shows the evolution of the group in members and numbers of photos over time.
Eight days isn’t much of a span to track, but I want to keep this tool in mind for tracking things like Vista and Wii groups, like groups dedicated to political campaigns and signage if there are any, and to certain technologies and their screen shots if any. Watching self-selected groups to see how much content they generate over time (and how many people want to participate) is a very different set of data from how many people are searching for a word or watching a video.