Using an Interactive Map to Plot Your Blog or Forum User Locations
One of the main reasons why blog or forums have grown so popular over the years is the high level of interactivity that members can simply enjoy -- whether they interact with the webmaster, administrator, moderator and other members. Men are such social beings that even if they don't want to get their bodies moving out of seclusion from their rooms or house and interact personally with other people, they would still find ways to get their "avatars" mingling with other people through forum discussions, comments on blogs or social network status.
But with the millions of blogs and forums out there, webmasters vie for attention from web visitors in a bid to get these people registering for a blog or signing up as a forum member. One such strategy that wise webmasters take is to add even higher levels of interactivity with various tools available for members that goes beyond the basic ability to post comments or start discussion threads. One such tool is an interactive flash map that can plot the location of blog subscribers and forum users, providing both webmaster and site visitors a new visual experience never experienced before in standard electronic bulletin boards.
Benefits to Blog or Forum Members
One would ask -- now why would forum members or blog subscribers benefit from such interactive maps? Aside from being a really nice eye-candy addition to the website, blog or forum members would find it quite interesting to know from what part of the country, or even the world, people he or she is interacting with are coming from. This would give members some insight on why their forum-mates react to certain issues or discussion topics in a particular manner, or why some people are clueless about a certain discussion thread as if they don't know a thing -- because in their part of the world they really don't.
Aside from that, members knowing that they are part of such a diverse and global membership base would be more inclined to take part in the discussions more frequently or would give their insights or thoughts in their blog comments more readily. This would increase interaction among members resulting to a more vibrant and dynamic online community -- right inside your own web space!
Benefits to the Blog or Forum Owner
With an increased interactivity and participation of members in the discussion and comment threads, traffic to the website will definitely increase and would prove beneficial for the webmaster or owner. Contents from comments or discussion threads can also appear on search results, further increasing the popularity of the blog or forum and thus attract even more visitors and potential members to the site.
Using the interactive map where user locations are plotted can give webmasters an insight as to what part of the country or the world website members are coming from. This information can be helpful in planning content for the blogs or discussion topics in the forum -- either in catering to what existing members are familiar with based on their geographical location, or adding new content related to a geographical area in a bid to attract more visitors from that particular location.
In a business or commercial point of view, webmasters can put up specialized ads or affiliate links to products which members with the highest geographical concentration would be more inclined to purchase or participate in. In this regard, you can set mashups with your interactive maps plotting your users' locations with any available data like viewership concentration of a particular movie, TV series or any other information about a product, service or trend. The possibilities can be endless and the only limit will be your imagination.