The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

Hey! I See You Copying That

Over at Nieman Journalism Lab, Zachary Seward explains Tracer, a utility with two functions, one terrible and the other cool:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

One comment

Jake says…

I shudder to imagine the entire web running that script – Project Gutenberg, the horror! Also, the back-link highlights the quoted text, which is odd, though I won’t say it breaks my web use like URL shorteners do. I imagine it could be put to good use by people who frequently link in the body text, like you. Also, I didn’t see anything about turning the link feature off and keeping the analytics, but why not? I say sign up for the beta and see what happens. Btw, it seems to be doing something when I just highlight text, before I even copy it. That’s annoying as I have a bad nervous-click tic, almost as annoying as the NYT’s dictionary thing. Though Neiman also has a neat report that almost lets me forgive the NYT. Almost.

PS – If this takes off, I bet somebody comes up with another script that messes with the analytics just for lulz, copying random sections or only certain words to spell out a message.

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