Over at Nieman Journalism Lab, Zachary Seward explains Tracer, a utility with two functions, one terrible and the other cool:
- Terrible: It inserts extra stuff into your copied-and-pasted text. So for instance, if Snarkmarket was running Tracer, and you copied this line, when you pasted it, it would also say: “Come check out the original post at Snarkmarket!” along with a link. T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E.
- Cool: Forget the copy-paste hijacking and focus on the analytics you could get from this thing. Seward writes: “But I’m much more impressed by Tracer’s backend, which allows publishers to see which pages—and, even better, which parts of those pages—are most frequently copied.”
Don’t miss the graphics on the Nieman Journalism Lab post.
This connects back to some of the ideas in my post about tethered books—and has some of the same creepy/cool combo, too. But, on balance, I think more granular information about how people read and use text is really exciting—simply because it could help you make your text so much better.