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The hyperactive nature of the social web

The amount of information aimed at everyone on the web is often compared to a firehose. It’s waay too much to be anything more than a distraction and as a result we see the vast majority of it as a digital white noise and pay little attention. Our hyperactivity sees us flitting between different sources and notifications like humming birds after the nectar. Do we actually read anything online?

For organisations who’ve bought into the dream of social media, this is upsetting. The notion that everyone of your 1,500 Twitter followers is sitting there waiting to be “pushed” promotional messaging and calls to action is entirely false. Facebook admit that about 1 in 6 or 7 of your followers will actually see your content and, whilst this does vary (it is an average), it’s pretty sobering if you’re putting a huge effort into social media. You’d be needing 100k+ followers to make the effort worthwhile.

The story doesn’t end there. Not only is your message not getting across to as many folks as you want but the life of the message is now incredible short. It’s estimated that the half life of published matter is 30 minutes on Facebook. That is, half it’s total audience reach will be achieved in less than half an hour. The fact that folks don’t read content or maintain any level of interest is not – as we scan the information that touches us we’re very effective at tuning-out what we don’t want.

What seems to be on the rise is short articles, under 300 words, like this one. Or striking pictures, like the image below showing the number of tweets per minute.

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 13.15.05

By Steve Schlange