Infographics are one of my favorite ways to see information used. It can take complicated ideas or statistics and boil it down to an easy to understand visual representation.
Unfortunately, it seems that too many people misuse information to confuse and scare people into doing things that won’t benefit them.
I wish artists were more widely used in every aspect of society to help everyone have a better understanding of the world they live in.
For a time, people measured site ‘traffic’ by the number of page views on that site. So, any time someone opened a page on that publication, it counted as one. Shortly thereafter, people started juicing the pageview stats by throwing up a bunch of pictures and asking people to click through them. It was a lot easier to generate 20 pageviews with 20 photos than it was to bring 20 people to the site by other means.
Of course, the fact that these pageviews are not all worth the same is obvious to everyone: readers, writers, editors, advertisers, advertising agencies, etc. So, many forward-looking media companies like Gawker went away from pageview metrics back in early 2010. The company’s head Nick Denton wanted to focus on unique visitors to his site. Many of us have followed suit.
And yet still, today, nearly halfway through 2012, we find this story on The Atlantic Wire. The president of the Washington Post, Steve Hills, told his team that “awards ‘don’t matter’ [and] urged more traffic-driving slideshows.”
Now, I’ve got nothing against slideshows. At their best, I see them as a kind of horizontal storytelling. They are a tool you can deploy to tell certain stories. In fact, as storytelling widgets, I think they’re actually underexploited. You can embed them as a sidebar to convey some complicated set of ideas without interrupting the main flow of a narrative. And I’ve got nothing against a well-curated set of images a la our own In Focus or BuzzFeed’s random weirdness.
But that’s not what the WaPo’s slideshows are all about. Instead, they are seen as a cheap and fast way to produce “traffic.” The problem is that they are not producing “traffic” — which in any other context would mean the number of people in a space — they are producing page views. This is not a simply academic distinction. The company’s president is calling on his workers to juke the stats, effectively. These companies want you to think that more pageviews equal a larger, more engaged audience, but that’s a quantitatively and qualitatively shaky proposition.
Our group is putting together a Social Media Guide for We Live New York - an organization to help promote Young Professionals and Young Professional Organizations in New York State.
Once we give We Live New York (WLNY) their Social Media Guide, we believe that they could face three main obstacles when trying to follow it. Our solution for these challenges can be avoided if they take the following steps:
1. Creating Interesting Content - Their audience needs to find value in the content they’re reading or else they would quickly lose their interest. By creating content that is relevant to the interests of WLNY’s target group, they will be more likely to return for more information.
2. Managing the Content - Once they begin creating valuable content, it needs to be maintained on a regular basis. New sources of information are constantly popping up all over the internet so if you don’t consistently update, you’ll lose their attention to another source.
3. Building up a Following - Creating interesting content and managing the content in a responsible way will help you retain your audience, but it will help build your following as you build your reputation as a reliable source of information.
In our presentation Friday, we will go over the tips and techniques that we found from our research about how to successfully follow these steps. Or you can explore the links below.
Why is linking so important when blogging? Aren’t you just sending your visitors elsewhere on the internet?
But that’s not a bad thing. A common thing you’ll find among professional bloggers is a willingness to link to each others blogs. It’s a courtesy that benefits both parties because it will increase traffic in the long-run.
When search engines “crawl” through the internet, they index all the sites. They also follow links and document how often they come across a website or certain keywords. The more often they find something, the higher it ranks in a search. This can get much more complex than what I just described, but by mutually adding links to others websites, it greatly helps your odds of being found online.
While I haven’t been very active in getting others to link to my blog, I’ve been linking to others quite often. It doesn’t mean that I can’t feel rewarded for doing this. In one of my first posts, Why Copywriting is so Important, I got a comment from the person I linked to. He thanked me for my kind words and emphasized the importance of writing.
It’s a great feeling to be appreciated for a post. Especially when you’re doing this to make yourself (and others) better at writing online.