The Internet is good for many things, especially generating tera-quads of content. News, social media content, videos, etc. pop up every second and people simply do not have the time to read it. The Verge posted the tongue-in-cheek article, “You’re Not Going To Read This” and it talks about the skyrocketing amount of content. The CEO of Chartbeat Tony Haile dropped a bomb for companies that specialize in content, “We’ve found effectively no correlation between social shares and people actually reading [an article].”
What a smack in the face!
People wear tweet and shared numbers like Girl Scout badges. If this has no value, what is the point of having a social media specialist? It’s not that generating content is bad, but people do not have the time to read every article. They usually skim the headlines and tweet without reading what they send. It really is a data overload.
Upworthy, one of the data companies, found different results. They discovered that people who read 25% of an article are likely to tweet it. Companies are actually changing their approach to marketing content, rather than relying on page views they are focusing on how engaged users are. It is measured by the new metric “attention minutes” that measure how people actively pay attention to a Web site along with the amount that is actually paid. Confused yet? It makes sense after reading more of the article.
Do not worry that quality content will go away, though:
“Upworthy’s critics say it maximizes for social media shares, “sending a (false) message to Facebook that those headlines are the stories its users really want to read,” as Reuters columnist Felix Salmon put it. But the company’s new emphasis on the time spent on a story contradicts that claim, suggesting that Upworthy is playing a longer game. While the number of times a story is shared may not be a perfect signal of quality, it’s reassuring to know that stories that hold a reader’s attention all the way to the end are also rewarded by the Twitter sphere.”
Should we roll our eyes or start changing our social media approach? Is this a surprise or just the rise of content marketing and busy MBAs?
Phi Beta Iota: This is not as bad as it sounds. Doug Englebart (RIP) anticipated the importance of paragraphic citation (sharing is a form of citation). Eventually all data in all languages and all mediums will be connected at the paragraph and human level. Humans will be brought together by mutual interests in related paragraphs; multidisciplinary work will be brought together by a mixture of related paragraphs and related humans. Ideas will be build in the form of building blocks, with key sentence, key paragraph, key page, deeper works. The human brain will remain the arbiter of shareability.