Sometimes a client will want to publish a really, REALLY wordy post on social and our advice to them is always, emphatically, “No, no one is going to read that.” How do we know this to be true? Because we see it everyday.
It goes back to the that old adage of KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.
As parents, we talk about how the digital age has ruined this generation, how kids can’t communicate with humans, how we’re all addicted to our screens. Whatever your opinion on the matter, here’s what I do know as fact because I experienced it just yesterday on my personal page: no one is reading your lengthy posts. People are skimming so quickly and flipping by your content that people just aren’t reading it.
Have you ever watched a teenager scrolling through her Instagram feed? They doubleclick so quickly that they aren’t actually looking to see who posted, what they posted or what the caption said. It would be impossible to read that fast, come on now.
Now I’m going to get personal for a moment with my example.
Yesterday, I published the following post:
Did you read it? So what’s the takeaway of this post?
At the moment, there are 15 comments on this post by friends near and far, those who know my son and those who don’t. And of those 15 comments, about half of them wished him a happy birthday.
Read that post again.
Yesterday was not his birthday. In fact, a month ago (on his actual birthday) I published this post:
The reason for this post was even bigger than his birthday. At age 19 days, my son became gravely ill and spent 12 days in the hospital (6 of those on a ventilator). So August ninth is kind of a big deal in our family. It’s the day we brought him home from the hospital, hopeful that the doctors were right and it was just a virus and that he’ll be fine (fortunately, he is). So every “happy birthday” comment stung a little. It says that a person didn’t actually read it, they saw a photo of my son as a baby and a long post, assumed it was his birthday. Not that we aren’t grateful for the “happy birthdays” messages, we are. The fact that he came home from the hospital on August 9, 2010 means he continues to have those birthdays so believe me, we are appreciative. This was simply a study in technological sociology, or some other term I could make up.
My point is this, and it’s based on educational conversations I’ve been having with clients for years:
- No one is reading your long post. No one.
- No one is remembering the post you put up a month ago. No one.
Will I continue to write lengthy posts on my personal page? Sure. Probably. August ninth is a day that makes us grateful and makes us stop and give thanks to the doctors and nurses at our children’s hospital who saved his life and to me, sharing my thoughts with my community of friends will continue to be important. BUT… with clients, we will continue to keep it succinct.
Those are my thoughts today. Now I’m going to throw a ball with my son.