Displaying Short Blog Posts, Hyperhumor, Benefit Culture & The Inverse #FF Relationship

by on July 12, 2010 | posted in Marketing

There’s Only One Way to Display Short Blog Posts

If you blog is packed full of short posts, you need to be displaying your posts in full on the homepage. Period.

This is because it is the reader’s instinctual reaction to bounce from your website after reading a short post. By already having a second post pre-loaded, you offer the reader an opportunity to effortlessly jump to the next post. If you make them make a decision of whether to continue on your site, there’s a strong chance they will bounce – and this often times has nothing to do with your content.

Short posts are at a loss because often times, they hit and then quit really quickly. You might be able to provide some goodness in a twenty second entry, but most times, the pure power of that snippet is not enough to make the reader think “I should read more from this person”. However, if you remove that decision making process, you can drag them to the next post, and hopefully, through the assimilation of two or three more of your snippets, they come to that conclusion and keep reading and reading and reading.

The failure of the snippet or other display mode for short blog post is that the most-used blog platforms have poor “read the next post” call to actions. This hasn’t really been done effectively on blogs, and who’s to say it ever will. “Related Posts” is the closest to a good call to action we have, and boring, blue text links aren’t exactly redeeming blog qualities. Similarly, if your “related posts” blurb is ½ the size of your blog post, there’s a strong chance you have some design problems on your website.

There is one possible exception to this rule, but you almost certainly don’t have the capabilities to implement it. Xkcd.com supplies an above the fold, clearly marked “next” call to action. Unless you’re a web developer, I find it unlikely that you can efficiently install this is a content-friendly, aesthetically pleasing fashion on your website.

xkcd example

The Benefit Culture

So if I meditate, it’ll improve my brain function. But what does meditating entail? Oh, I need to do it for two hours? How will those two hours of lost time impede on other areas of my life? Minimalism is great. It makes you agile, and reduces your carbon footprint. But what about the terrible inconvenience it costs you? Is it possible that the potential value I would have created with a “stuff” based mentality could have offered solutions that would far out-weigh my insignificant carbon footprint? Am I going to ruin my relationships by constantly asking for rides if I don’t have a car? Will this make me less happy, causing me to die early?

Online content has taken on a significantly one-sided view of life-changing properties. We so often are provided the benefits of our actions, but so rarely do we get the counter-action that the life change will cause. The “side effects”.

There’s a reason prescription drugs are forced to list their side effects in television commercials – we need to weigh both the pros and cons, not just the pros. Because not weighing the cons here is so dangerous, pharma is forced to do it. But beyond pharma, cons are rarely listed when in opposition of a pro-framed article. But really, it’s not any less required.

“You’ll win a million dollars!” might be the benefit pitch but the reality pitch of “You will lose a net of .85 cents every time you buy a $1 lottery ticket” twists the situation a little bit differently.

Next time someone tells you that running barefoot is great or you should ride a bike to work or that you should undergo the Paleo diet because it’s so awesome – ask yourself, besides the positive benefits, how will I suffer based on these decisions? If you do that, you might find yourself benefiting more when you DO decide to take a decisionary leap.

Hyperhumor

Hyperhumor refers to the synchronization of two things – hyperlinks and humor. Hyperhumor links are rarely funny, but often times, they have some “smirk” draws, or entertainment level of some kind. They occur when a writer puts out content and then refers to a person/place/thing indirectly in the blog, but links out to inform the reader more directly of what they’re talking about, in case they don’t know. These links rarely get clicked on, rather, the strength of their SEO (URL informing what the link is about), allows the person to hover over the link, know the intention, and move on.

So, then, the hyperhumor occurs without ever having to click the link, but if we had never hovered over it, we would have little clue what the blogger was talking about.

I’m probably better off giving you some examples:

Hollywood is full of many characters  – and among them are amazing actors, deadbeat actors, and drug addicts.

Life has been difficult recently. To be honest, for some people, things just aren’t going well.

The internet – it’s taking humor to a whole new level.

The Follow Friday Inverse Relationship

Follow Friday is this wildly popular event on Twitter that occurs every Friday, but somehow provides little of the actual following it claims to promote. The way the event occurs is  somewhat paradoxical, we are supposed to follow those people who others recommend, but often times, their influence is so little that few people ever actually take action on following the people that’ve been recommended.

FollowFriday

As particular person’s influence on Twitter increases, the actual likelihood they participate in Follow Friday decreases. I’m not insane enough to subscribe to the belief that correlation, here, signals causation, but there’s something to say for the mindset and likelihood of influence those people who participate in Follow Friday and those who don’t.

Are those who don’t participate in this in early stages of their Twitter a good predictor of future online influence? Also, how is Twitter limited by the true influencers lack of participation of this event? I often find new, cool people to follow not by seeing those who people I respect’s follow Friday’s, but instead manually scrolling through the folks they actually follow.  If someone I was influenced by shot out a tweet of recommendation, I would undoubtedly check that person out and likely follow them. But they don’t.

Instead, for these people whose influence actually creates few to no follows on a per/recommendation basis, the act of #FF instead acts as a small compliment to those people they recommend, and a small boost of that online relationship. In that sense, Follow Friday should be renamed Compliment Friday for the actual end product it creates.

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