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How Much of an Article do you Read Before you Share? Question of the Week

By Hannah Clark | 2 months ago | No Comments

Image by Justin R. via flickr

We’re all busy. I’m busy, you’re busy. There’s always something interesting to read, watch or play. When it comes to life online, these statements couldn’t be more true.

Recently, I read a Slate article that explained that only a very small number of readers actually finish an article before they share it to social media. The author got together with a data scientist and analyst from Chartbeat, a real time web analytics site. After running some numbers they realized that readers just cannot stay focused online. When people get into an article, they rarely make it to the bottom of the page. Interestingly, the data suggested that people are actually sharing a story on their social media accounts that they haven’t read through.

So are we to just assume that if someone is recommending a story online they probably haven’t read it? To find out if this was true, we decided to ask our followers: How much of an article do you read before you hit the share button?

Your answers were all across the board: many of you claimed to read an entire article every time, some honestly explained that its only the first couple of paragraphs. Let’s take a look at the answers, and see how far many of you get through an article.

These followers answered honestly and stated that they usually don’t read an entire article before sharing it with their friends and followers. For many people, just reading the first paragraph and headline are enough for them to form an opinion and want to get others involved.

We recently wrote about the reasons why people share content over social media. We found that 61% of people share information simply because they find it interesting. Other than that, people loved to share content that they felt was important or funny. Sometimes, when it comes to sharing these types of content, you don’t have to read the article start to finish to find it interesting or funny.

Many of our readers saw the risk in sharing something that hasn’t been read through entirely.  These people are aware that the type of content they share reflects on who they are. Sharing without reading thoroughly means risking your own reputation. What if an article has a really great headline, but has content that you disagree with completely? What if you read through half of the article, but the ending point is something we don’t want reflecting on ourselves? It happens, but if you don’t want it happening, our advice is to read the whole thing.

Usually by this point, most of you have already left. I wonder how many people have stuck it out to the very end. This is usually the point where I come up with a clever way to close out the article, something witty and funny. This time, however, I’ll say this: If you are still here, you are awesome.

10 comments
Jenny
Jenny

I read the entire thing, to make sure the grammar is correct, because if someone's article has poor grammar or poor word choices, it reflects on me. 

Great article, read the whole thing... and found a grammar error here in this paragraph: 

You’re answers were all across the board: many of you claimed to read an entire article every time, some honestly explained that its only the first couple of paragraphs. Let’s take a look at the answers, and see how far many of you get through an article.

Anyone catch the issue here?

Buscat
Buscat

I think that the printed newspapers of old used to work on the statistic that only 5% of their readership got to the end of any given article, so I'm not sure if our lack of attention has anything to do with whether we're online or off. I guess we're inattentive creatures, and that hasn't changed.  (And as one of the regular 5%, thanks for saying I"m awesome :)


jddow03
jddow03

Depending on distractions and the environment I'm in while beginning the article, I will almost always ready completely before sharing. Although I am guilty of sharing some articles without completely reading, a quick scan through I can get the point and share along!

SWrightBoucher
SWrightBoucher

I'm a reader. I have to know that what I'm recommending is worth my followers' time. Also, I make sure I'm linking to the original material and not driving traffic to a one-line intro that requires another click to arrive at the article. Thanks for saying I'm awesome.

HrrcnIslndhrt
HrrcnIslndhrt

Of course I'm awesome. I wouldn't have it any other way. :D

RobBell
RobBell

I couldn't share something I'd not read entirely - what if it ended horribly?

Rosemary West / forbetterorwhat.com
Rosemary West / forbetterorwhat.com

I agree with those who want to read the whole thing first. I don't want to put myself in the position of sharing something that isn't really what I think it is.

makiomilano
makiomilano

Maybe 3 paragraphs!, depend on the engaging.

evanlepage
evanlepage moderator

@Jenny Thanks for letting us know! Fixed