That's it. I get it. There is a certain "way" of writing blog articles to get "most number of reads and shares". Look at the all-time most-viewed blog posts at LinkedIn:
- 11 Simple Concepts...
- 6 Toxic Behaviors...
- No. 1 Career Mistake...
- Three things I learned...
- 10 Things to do...
There are even "infographics" to show the "secret formula" to go viral with your social content. It suggests to use titles with numbers and interesting adjectives such as: "18 unbelievable ways you can...".
Why do you think these articles, blogs or posts are getting the most attention?
Here is why I think this happens, why this is not a good thing for the reader, and why it really bothers me every time I read through social media news-feeds:
We are lazy AND we don't have time
Here, I said it. We are all lazy creatures. We don't want to keep reading 10-page long NY Times articles or stories. We simply don't have time for it. We need to learn a lot, and we need to do it fast. It would be best for us, if somebody already did the research and thought about all the "key" take-aways, and synthesized it for us in a few bullets. BUT.. do you think the author really did the research, and really summarized the key findings? These questions leads to another big issue...
We believe in almost everything we read
If an article starts with "10 things", "6 behaviors", "3 ways"..and so on, we already assume that the source is trustworthy, and whatever the article says is true. Because, it gives a definitive data, fact, number of things to do, to watch out for, to learn... Sometimes these lists are so exaggerated such as "50 reasons why [blah, blah, blah]", I cannot stop myself to read through to find out another funny example of ideas randomly put together, just to make the reader to "click". Especially, if the reader is asked to click "NEXT" for each of these reasons, the author or the publishing company achieves its most important goal: "# of clicks".
QUALITY is degrading fast, QUANTITY matters more! But should it?
More and more I read about these types of articles, I feel like there are a lot of repetitions within and across them. Quality is suffering! I find that I am getting more confused, rather than clarified. I sometimes just read the sub-titles to see if the article is of any value. What is most frustrating of all is that very few articles have a "source" or "citation" to prove that the list is really the result of a good research.
Here are my personal suggestions and requests for those authors out there:
- PLEASE don't use random numbers to title your article, if you can avoid it
- PLEASE give credible sources or simple citations even if the article is based solely on your own opinion
- IF your article is suggesting anything more than 5 "ways" or "steps", PLEASE structure your list of thoughts into meaningful groups, rather than leave it as a long laundry list, to make it less painful on the reader
As for the readers, I believe I have already summarized my opinions here: We need to demand higher quality posts and articles. It was my humble effort to make the "news-feeds" little more value-adding and little less irritating. I offer this feedback to everyone who is using social media for self-development and learning... and I truly hope that it makes a difference on how we (as the internet community of professionals) communicate with one another, instead of seeing each other as a source of click or internet traffic!
Please let me know your thoughts:
- Are you also bothered by "click-hunter" articles and posts? Why?
- Or do you get some value out of them? How?
How can we improve our ways of sharing and acquiring insightful pieces of knowledge and experience?
Picture source: LinkedIn snapshot of "Top Posts" as of July 4, 2014.
About the author: Evren Ozkaya, Ph.D. is the Founder and CEO of Supply Chain Wizard, LLC, a management and technology consulting firm focusing on designing strategies to improve operational performance of companies with complex supply chains. Dr. Ozkaya writes about various topics such as Productivity, Consulting, Communication & Presentation Skills, Technology & Data Analytics, Supply Chain Security and Supply Chain Transformations.