Friday, June 07, 2013

Someone else laments the perils of long posts

I have been accused of putting up posts here that try a reader's patience. Of course, sometimes, that's a content-based complaint. Even those kindly disposed towards me have mentioned, sometimes politely, that my posts occasionally tie up too much time for an Internet grazer to really enjoy.

I discover, however, that I am not alone. This morning on Facebook I saw a link to an article on by By Farhad Manjoo, "You Won’t Finish This Article."

The article works through some analytics requested by the author for posts on -- and finds that most people 'bounce' away without reading a thing or else read very little before moving on. Most people, he writes, don't even bother to completely read an article they link to or tweet.

That makes no earthly sense. How do you know whether the article you are promoting, which seems reasonable enough at the outset, doesn't morph into some profane or racist screed by the end? Do you really want such an article in any sense linked to you? And even if there is no abrupt switch in tone from reasonable to rant, a perfectly reasonable beginning to an article may lead to conclusions with which the reader thoroughly disagrees. Or would, if he or she would but finish the piece. Why link to that?

I pulled this excerpt from close to the end of the piece, far further down the page (according to the author) than most readers will read:
Sure, like every other writer on the Web, I want my articles to be widely read, which means I want you to Like and Tweet and email this piece to everyone you know. But if you had any inkling of doing that, you’d have done it already. You’d probably have done it just after reading the headline and seeing the picture at the top. Nothing I say at this point matters at all.

So, what the hey, here are a couple more graphs, after which I promise I’ll wrap things up for the handful of folks who are still left around here. (What losers you are! Don’t you have anything else to do?)
In fact, read all the way to the end, even looking up the meaning of "TK" in the linked Wikipedia article (I was unfamiliar with the term).

That's the good news, Mr. Manjoo. I read the piece. Honest.

But I don't understand the analytics hardly at all.


Jeni said...

You may think you write long-winded posts but actually, I don't feel they are that as they hold my interest quite well. (I am probably the queen of long-winded and disjointed posts if there is such a thing.) But anyway, I read most of that article -yes, I left before finishing it because I saw the upcoming graphs -which I tend not to care about much less really understand. I'm maybe a little dense about things like that at times. And, I rarely link to anything unless it is something I really like, appreciate, find great humor in or if it gives me perhaps an uplift of my spirit! Twitter though - a horse of a different color! I had a twitter account but didn't like it, didn't use it only a couple of times. Probably due to the 140 character limitations it has.

Anonymous said...

I never think your posts are to long. In fact, when you write family posts I think they end to soon. Love reading all your posts so don't even think about cutting the length of them. O.K.?