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Shocker: People Do Not Read What They Share on Social Media

Posted By Shawn Hessinger On February 17, 2014 @ 5:30 pm In Social Media | 17 Comments

people don't read what they share

It all started with a live Twitter debate [1] between movers and shakers in the online content field. Participants included people like Joseph Weisenthal, Executive Editor of Business Insider; Matt Yglesias, who covers economics for Slate and Felix Salmon, finance blogger at Reuters.

The topic was Upworthy [2], the sites content has become wildly popular and viral on Facebook. Then, in the middle of the debate, Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat [3] tweeted this:

As a result, Haile’s remark went a little viral in its own right.

Haile’s company measures real-time traffic on sites like Upworthy, so his announcement did carry considerable weight.

If you run a blog or other site featuring regularly updated content, you probably assume social sharing is one of the best ways to get more people to read that content.

So it’s a bit shocking to find that might not be the case. But that’s not where the story ends.

Sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed have found that, yes, some people share without fully reading the article. But if someone actually does read to the end of a piece, they’re more likely to share on social media, The Verge reports [9].

So that effectively means there are two kinds of social sharers. There are those who share without finishing the article. And there are those who share because they really read and consumed the entire article.

Here at Small Business Trends, we find yet another wrinkle. We find there is often not a correlation between sharing and reading the article. That’s simply because those who consume an article may not be that active on social media.

That is especially true with “serious” business topics. Some of the most popular articles here on Small Business Trends have surprisingly few social shares. Yet, some of the most highly shared articles haven’t been read nearly as much.

Lesson: You can’t always tell from the number of shares.

Shocked [10] Photo via Shutterstock


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URL to article: http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/02/people-dont-read-what-they-share-social-media.html

URLs in this post:

[1] live Twitter debate: https://twitter.com/felixsalmon/status/429732451741872128

[2] Upworthy: http://www.upworthy.com/

[3] Chartbeat: https://chartbeat.com/

[4] @jeffjarvis: https://twitter.com/jeffjarvis

[5] @shafqatislam: https://twitter.com/shafqatislam

[6] @zseward: https://twitter.com/zseward

[7] @felixsalmon: https://twitter.com/felixsalmon

[8] February 2, 2014: https://twitter.com/arctictony/statuses/430008055263408128

[9] The Verge reports: http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/14/5411934/youre-not-going-to-read-this

[10] Shocked: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-133024946/stock-photo-shocked-young-woman.html