How we read and share online


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Au contrair!

I peruse a huge number of webpages and articles daily and those that I share I do so for the benefit of my friends, based on their interests not necessarily my own. That’s why I consider it sharing.

Articles I enjoy and are the most engaging to me I am less likely to share, because - and I know I’m bucking the modern trend here - I don’t need peer group approval to validate my interests.


Graph is not remotely self-explanatory. Does “read time” mean how a reader spends on a page, or how long it takes to read the entire page? Does “social activity” refer to the reader or the article? What the fuck are the units? There’s not a single number on the worthless thing.

You have to actually read the article to find out what they’re really saying: people are more likely to share articles that they spent less time reading (note, not the same as “shorter articles”), and vice versa.

…Maybe, because right before they say (imply?) that, they say “We looked at 10,000 socially-shared articles and found that there is no relationship whatsoever between the amount a piece of content is shared and the amount of attention an average reader will give that content.” I dunno, because (drum roll) I didn’t read the rest of the article. (rimshot)


I actually did stop reading the quoted paragraph half way through because it was boring.

This is what I came here to say. “Self explanatory” is not a term I would use to define that graph. I went to the article to try to figure it out, and they don’t really explain it either. “Read time” appears to be the amount of time the reader spent on the page… But that could imply either “tl;dr” or just a small amount of content. That data could just as easily imply that people are only sharing short, easy to digest articles, as opposed to not reading what they’re sharing. There’s no mention of correcting the data for article length, at least not in the content surrounding that chart (I, too, didn’t bother reading the rest of the article, as it didn’t appear to be related to that chart in particular).

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The way I use social media for sharing links and articles tends to be dominantly aimed at being a little more the surface of a topic, sparking the interest, rather than being about delving into the topic in-depth. The in-depth stuff, the long reads, the stuff I think folks will want to really devote a lot of serious attention time to, (with very few exceptions) doesn’t just get posted to my general facebook wall.

Also, I think a lot of folks use social media article shares to spark the discussion or read them with an intent to respond. The article itself isn’t as much the focus of the interaction there as the conversation it serves a jumping off point for. Like if I post a decently long article about my state giving tax money to a steel company to get them to build here, even if the article is good, my intent is likely not at all about the article or reading the article, but about getting folks aware of, thinking about, and more importantly talking about, the plant, the role of gov’t in business, etc. The folks seeing my link, a few may be really fascinated by it, the handful that are really really interested in the economics of it, or the politics of it, or who live in the area where the plant is being built, and they’ll read the article intently, but a whole lot of them are going to skim for the just of the article enough to be able to use it in the framework of the discussion that’s going to be in the comments.

If I post something, I’ve read it thoroughly. But it doesn’t always mean that I expect the people seeing my post to do the same.

What I would like to see is a graph of “time spent reading the article being discussed” vs “number of comments left on the article”.


I know I’m bucking the modern trend here - I don’t need peer group approval to validate my interests.

I guess that explains your albino midget porn links you keep sending me.

Time mag says:

If you’re an average reader, I’ve got your attention for 15 seconds

It depends. Stuff like Time magazine and mainstream corporate media in general I’m going to speed read it because after decades of study and learning from sites like I’ve learned they tend to be full of shit with many half-truths and typically only telling part of the story that fits their corporate owner’s agendas. On the other hand, I tend to slow down and read alternative news sites very throughly.

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