Headlines You Won’t Believe Till You Read Them. And Then You Will Cry

I made a comment on Facebook yesterday describing my disbelief about the current format of headline writing

Am I weird (don’t answer that yet) in that I find the current trend of internet headlines eg: “You won’t believe what happened….This will make you cry etc yada yada yada” completely counter productive.

My first thought is manipulation and spammy. In fact making a headline I am LESS likely to click on, not more as they would hope???

Am I alone in ignoring these manipulative headlines?

So I wondered about what supports these ideas.

Headline writing is marketing and marketing is psychology.

Upworthy is one of the stars of the headline writing business and it isn’t a fluke that they have become so successful. They spend plenty of time and effort testing and measuring their headlines and content for the best results. (See this post from KISSmetrics) Right now, it seems that this current style of headline works the best.

I am certain that over time, people will become less interested and more immune to this style of writing and sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy will need to change also.

This blog post over at The Moz Blog : 5 Data Insights into the Headlines Readers Click has some great research and information such as

  • Explosion in content competing for readers’ attention: A Day in the Internet  shows that 2 million blog posts, 294 billion emails, and 864 thousand hours of video are created daily. Each day also brings 400 million tweets .
  • 80% of readers never make it past the headline: According to some sources, on average, eight out of 10 people will read headline copy , but only two out of 10 will read the rest.
  • Traffic can vary by as much as 500% based on the headline: According to Koechley, tests show that traffic to content at Upworthy can vary by as much as 500%  simply because of the headline. “The headline is our one chance to reach people who have a million other things that they’re thinking about, and who didn’t wake up in the morning wanting to care about feminism or climate change, or the policy details of the election,” he said.

Each of these bits of information show why so many article sites, some directly copying the style of writing (and headlines) of Upworthy and co, are being launched. Attach some ads to these articles and if you can generate some virality around them, money can me made.

We see similar changes over time with other styles of advertising, whether it be on TV, Radio, Print or the Internet. These mediums and their advertisers need to compel those who see their ads to take action. Whether that is by using the emotions of shock, laughter, happiness and sadness or other methods such as visual/audio styles, questioning techniques and props/actors.

So for today, this style of headline is the way, but who knows what we will be presented with in a year or two. Whatever it is, you can be certain that is has been well researched and measured to make sure they get the best bang for their buck.

Twitter DM Spam / Virus / Phishing

Whoops, it’s a good thing this was not one of those dodgy sites!


Please, please please do not click on those “OMG see what someone is writing about you” kind of tweets. Or you will be hacked and your account will be used to send horrible stuff to all of your friends.


Yours sincerely,

The Twitterverse (The good ones anyway)


PS: If you got here by clicking on the link in a tweet, retweet it, so we can warn more people 🙂

Google+ Pages – More Social Real Estate

on Google+

Google has released Pages for Google +

Google+’s Pages are similar to Facebook Pages and allow Brands such as companies, organisations, local businesses, celebrities and other entities to create a presence on Google+

Previously there had been a lot of criticism of Google for not allowing these from the start of Google+. To the point that the “Real Names” policy caused the deletion of some profiles that are now essentially what Google+ Pages is meant for.

Similarly to Facebook Pages, you can add your brief business information and start using Google+ to share information.

There are some key things to note with these Pages

  • Google+ Pages can’t add others to their circles (or follow / friend) until those people have added the brand page to their circles (to try and stop spamming)
  • As a follow on from the first point, it is more difficult to promote your page without having a personal Google+ account to promote the Page, the more people in your personal account circles the better.
  • The profile information is limited, if you want to get more information out there, use links to your website or use the post facility to add them into your stream
  • Your personal Google+ profile is your administrator account, you can switch between the two and post as the respective accounts.
  • It is important to do the Google+ Direct Connect (this puts you in the running to have the ability to be found on Google Search by adding “+” at the start of your name like a keyword)

It would have been nice to have a connection between your Google Places listing and your Page, I hope this is integrated as this would be a sensible way to combine these common things (maps, business details etc)

It is also a new kid on the block. There are no Apps like in Facebook to add other functionality like E-Commerce, but I expect this will be added later.

Hangouts (where you can host a video chat session) can be a really novel way of interacting with people following your page. I can see this being really good for video training, Q+A sessions and other mass interactions that are currently done via forums, wiki etc.

Incubus’ Clever Use of the Internet

There are an increasing number of clever uses of the internet as a marketing tool for companies, products and brands.

Once that I think is really good is that of the band Incubus.

They are releasing a new album soon called If Not Now,When? and using (as far as I can tell) a novel method to promote the album, have been using a website called http://www.incubushqlive.com/ where they have been streaming live performances from the band plus interviews and clinics from band members.

But it also seems to be a great way to promote the band while practising for upcoming appearnaces and concert tour.

Each of the performances can be attended by emailing the site and getting an invite. The venue is small, only really big enough for a ring of people around the band as they play their set. The performances have been a mix of old songs and those off the new album.

The interaction of the band with the small audience is great too, they make mistakes, laugh about it and go again, till they get it right.

Most performances I have seen there have been over 4 thousand people watching the stream. Tweets with the bands hashtag get displayed live on the screen behind the band.

All in all a great use of social media and technology to promote an upcoming album.

Speaking of social media, how did I find out about this? Facebook. I’m a fan and so follow them on Facebook, where they have been advertising what has been happening at “HQ” leading up to the album release. This along with their website provide all of the information needed for fans to get prepared.

All we need now is for them to come to NZ   *hint, hint*

Google + , I’m in!

I am happy, I thought I was missing out.

But I got into Google + today. It’s a bit echoey, but looks like it might actually have some interesting features to it that will attract a few people.

They real question is what effect it will have on the social scene.

Will it be a threat to Facebook?

Will it become a social aggregator like Friendfeed was.

One thing is for sure, Facebook felt threatened. With their “awesome announcement” today that Facebook will be integrating Skype video chat into it’s site, Facebook has shown that the video feature of Google+, the hangouts, was enough for the to appear to rush this announcement and get product to market.

I can imagine the code cutting that went on since knowledge of the inner working of Google + became known to Facebook. Determined to release something before Google+ made it to general release.

In turn the Facebook announcement seems to have hurried up the public roll out of Google+. Originally the invitation beta was due to last a few more weeks, but there are now noises that Google+ is going public pretty much straight away.

Competition in this way is great, it speeds up innovation and we the user get the benefits.

As Google get closer to a social network and Facebook drive more search within it’s site it is inevitable that competition between these two juggernauts will escalate.

How have you found Google+


Empire Avenue – What is it Good for?

Empire Avenue is an interesting concept in this world of Social Media and Social Media Marketing.

We are told to network, to make connection in our industries and across others to broaden our horizons, to reach out to our customers. Engage, Engage, Engage!

With all of this engaging going on, who’s doing all the real work? (Only joking)

Many people still don’t see the benefits of Social Media, it took the advent of Tweetdeck for me to see the benefit of Twitter as a networking tool. But slowly as these things come more into the mainstream and more importantly, experiences are discussed about the benefits and pitfalls of this new form of marketing.

Empire Avenue takes all of this engagement and networking and turns it into a game.

I used to play AlexaDex, it was a share trading game based on the traffic that websites recorded according to Alexa.

Empire Avenue does something similar where it gathers information about your social connections via sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube and Flickr, plus what you do on the Empire Avenue site and give you a score, or a share price.

If people in the game think you are an upwards mover, they can buy shares in your profile to hopefully make a profit on your rise.

It seems to me that it is a really fun version of Klout, or similar social media analytics programs.

It is a great way to make measuring your connectedness and engagement fun.

To be honest, you may even engage more, to increase your share value.

A bit of a chicken and egg scenario then, not only does it report on your social engagement, but it encourages you to engage more.

I like it. I like the fact that it can make the measurement fun. It has encouraged me to be more vocal in social networking circles, which in itself is not a bad thing.

What is your experience? Do you like it? Do you think it is a big waste of time?

(I had to put this in…)


Twitter has New Follow Button

Under the Resources section on Twitter.com, you can find the new Follow Button.

Using the setup screen, it generates the code needed to put on your site to display the follow button. The good thing here, is that the button allows for the visitor to follow you on Twitter without leaving your site.

This is how it looks

Looks good and well implemented.


Integrating with Facebook

I am working on a project that has now required for integration with Facebook.

So I will be working to utilise Facebook logins and registrations on the external site.

I’ll post information that may be useful through the project as I expect over time, that this kind of interaction will become more common.

My early look at the Developer Documentation looks good, seems to be well documented, plus all source code is found at GitHub.

The basics seem easy enough, not even reuqiring an API key to use like buttons via iframes.


<iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/ 
scrolling="no" frameborder="0"
style="border:none; width:450px; height:80px">

But things are not that simple, so I am off to read up on OAuth and the like.

Illegal File Sharing Bill Shows All That is Bad with Politics

There are plenty of people who are a bit angry today.

Make that really angry.

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill is a contentious bill with history of internet protest. Maybe the knowledge that more highly visible protest would precede any passing of this bill caused the government to rush the Bill through parliament under urgency.

While the Bill has been changed to be more balanced than in it’s early incarnations, it’s termination clause was still a reason to protest.

But what this really highlighted, was not so much the content of the Bill itself, but the politics surrounding it.

Admissions from National politicians, that discussions with other countries over free trade talks were a consideration, gave a feeling that there were underhanded reasons for what was happening last night.

So what is urgency? Here is a link to the NZ Parliament site that explains:

The House of Representatives sometimes goes into “urgency” to make progress on business additional to what would be possible under the normal rules for sitting hours and progress of business.

Now this session of Urgency was called to deal with legislation related to the Christchurch Earthquake. However, completely unrelated business can be added.

Given that Copyright issues have absolutely nothing to do with the earthquake, one can make the following assumptions:

  • The Government had some other agenda (Maybe this was part of the free trade negotiations)
  • Pressure was being applied by supporters of the Bill (In this case the likely supporters are Record and Movie companies)
  • By passing under urgency, with no notice, anticipated protest could be held to a minimum

Regardless of your opinions on the pros and cons of the “Three Strikes” and final sanction of internet account holder suspension, the conduct of the MP’s who were in the debating chamber last night made for some interesting insights.

I was up watching Parliament TV streaming online here, so were many others, possibly giving Parliament TV it’s best ratings ever. Alongside my stream was my Twitter feed and especially the comments tagged with #blackout.

It was an amazing and compelling evening of watching most MP’s wallow in their abject understanding of the topic they were debating, while those interested spectators spouted vitriol towards them via Social Media.

Special mention must go to Gareth Hughes (@GarethMP), Jacinda Adren (@jacindaardern) and Clare Curran (@clarecurranmp) who seemed to at least have a working understanding of what was being discussed.

Brickbats go to Melissa Lee and Jonathan Young who seemed so unsure of the terminology and the concepts being discussed that they are now stars in their own parodies of themselves.

Quite how a piece of legislation can be debated by those who are completely unqualified and also when key players are away (The Minister of Commerce, Simon Power) is amazing, maybe there should be a quiz before entering the chamber to test the knowledge of those wanting to participate in the debate.

As of this morning, the Bill was passed, with both Labour and National voting for, with the Greens the majority of those opposed.

It won’t spell the end of the internet, but the political process has exposed to many as a farce.

It seems the Greens got a few more supporters last night. Will it make a difference come election day?

Search Trends for 2011

Here is an interetsing video from Matt Cutts of Google with Danny Sullivan from SearchEngineLand, talking about future trends for search in 2011.

They talk about the increased importance of social media in influencing ranking. While still small, it shows a shift towards social as a means of determining importance of content on the web.

Towards the end of the video, they talk about how Google is trying to avoid the poisoning of somones persona on the web by taking multiple sources of information, reviews etc to try to weed out any malicious or extraneous reviews or comments. Matt says that they take over 500 sources to try and determine this, I wonder what they are?

Another important note, is that even though these sites are classed as social networks, if Google can’t crawl them, (possibly because of high security settings) then that information remains hidden and cannot be used in building ranking.

So will SEO now become more about the persona of the individual or company, will the “quality” of the persona be just as important as the “quality” of the links or the “quality” of the content?

The next big industry….Persona Management 🙂