This week, I happened on a very interesting article that confirms a Great Big Ugly Suspicion I have had for a very long time:
People are quick to share things they have not even read yet.
That may sound a little odd. But if you think about it, it really isn’t all that odd.
These are the days of Sharing. Where do we read something that does not encourage us to Share! Share! Share! In fact, everywhere we look, everything we read is asking us to share, and giving us option after option on how to share it.
From the article “Just because they’re sharing, it doesn’t mean they’re reading”:
In news that will embolden some, depress others and possibly surprise nobody, a new study by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute reveals that 59% of links shared on social media have never actually been clicked.
… and look at how easy it was for me to quote that piece of the article. And this is the complicated way! Most of the time it’s just someone quickly click “Share with Friends” on a Facebook (2 clicks!) or a retweet on Twitter (2 clicks!)
According to the study’s co-author, Arnaud Legout, “This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”
So it is coming down to summaries, or a summary of summaries.
This is dangerous in many ways. First, we are no longer sharing facts. We are sharing someone else’s opinion of the facts that they read. Or worse, that they have concluded after reading someone else’s opinion again – remember the kid’s game with 2 cans and a string? How often did the real message get through to the end?
Second, for marketers, your message appears to be getting out there, but is it really? A shared post is not a reader. It is far, far away from an engaged reader.
So what does that mean?
Once again, it all comes down to Great Content. And you can add something to that too – a great summary, or headline, that truly compels a user to take that extra step and read a few more lines… and then, make sure those few lines pop out to the person who may still become truly engaged.
Content matters. I don’t know that we can say that enough.