Read more than the headline

Richard Charpentier Notes from Rich Leave a Comment

Over the course of learning too much about social media last year I kept coming across a lot of information about how much people actually read on the Internet.  For instance, in my first sentence I already lost more than 10% of my readers.  They read the headline and first sentence and moved on.  I have to say, you need to read more than the headline to find out what a story is about.

From a short interaction like that, did they learn anything at all from my article?  No, most likely they did not.  And at this point in my posting I’ve lost even more people.  Honestly I’ve gone well beyond the number of characters allowed in a Tweet on Twitter, so the super attention deficit folks have already moved on to another headline and first sentence somewhere else.  Fortunately I’m not one of those people, I’m part of the rare group that will read an entire article!

A Tea Party Example

teaparty-12Several years ago I did a fun photo shoot for a friend.  The shoot was a fantasy tea party, and if you’re a long time reader you might remember the post.  For those who aren’t familiar with it, you can check out the post here.

It was a fun photo shoot, and some cute images came out of if.  But then something weird happened a few months later.  Something about the “Tea Party” political movement was going on, and there was a lot of anti-Tea Party stuff in the media.  And while that was going on something happened at this site.

I started getting tons of Anti-Tea Party comments on my website.  Specifically on the post with the cute and fanciful pictures….which had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with fun.  As it turned out, automated “bots” were spamming my website because I had used the words “Tea Party” as part of my title.  The bots read the headline and that was good enough for them, somehow my site was involved!

Don’t be a bot

Now I can understand that the comment bots loaded up my inbox with some nasty messages, and my website with nasty messages too.  The bots aren’t smart.  They were searching for a specific combination of words (my headline) and they knew everything they could know about my post.  Dumb bots totally messed up on that one.  But folks with short attention spans might have made the same mistake as well.

As I do my own work on my websites and others I often come across comments or e-mails regarding particular posts, and I’m always surprised by the fact that people didn’t read the whole thing.  Their comments indicate clearly they didn’t read the whole post.  And that’s a shame.  Then again, maybe it’s my own fault for being overly verbose on topics, and I really need to work on limiting myself to only the headline!

Hopefully most readers here actually go through entire articles.  I have confidence in my readership!  Of course, just passing the 500 word mark, I’ve probably lost 75% of the folks who started this article……..

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