When first impressions take precedence over depth

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Question: how many of you read the social media posts you share?  Follow up question, how much time do you have to read all the online articles that cross your path throughout the day as you browse your social media networks?

I just finished my guest blog for Leaderswest where I took a look at an article and some stats regarding social media post consumption.  I will link when it’s posted, but in the meantime I wanted to carry over the conversation here, to look at it from a different angle.

A brief summary of the stats: Six out of 10 users don’t read the social media content they share.

Are you surprised?  I’m not, but not because I think users aren’t interested in reading.  I think they lack the time and they share those posts because either the source is one they trust or is a known brand that has gained trustworthiness (possibly even trending status) online or because they are emotionally attracted to the post at a first glance and it is something that resonated with them and created a reaction (the reaction to share). With that being said, the article also points out how this means viral news is viral in it getting shared, but not necessarily read.

As an online marketer, the notion of viral content has always made me laugh.  Not in a good or bad way, but laugh because of unknown brands wanting something to go viral and thinking they can somehow make it happen with the click of a button.  Viral happens by chance for unknown brands or people, and by good content crafting for known brands, plus the positive emotional bond followers have with that brand.  Actually, more than followers, they are loyal fans of those brands.

The fact that most people don’t read content, but share based on an exceptional title also leads me to say that even though first impressions shouldn’t make or break something or someone, they obviously play quite a big role in perception and value given to something or someone.  In the long run, first impressions only last so long.  Eventually, the deeper level behind a brand or person comes out and that’s where the continuation of what was perceived and the value given by that first impression will continue or end.

It is only normal that in a noisy and busy world people notice something or someone that stands out, but it is also natural to go deeper as time passes.  Experiences with a business or a person always reveal what’s behind the scenes, what’s below the surface (that first impression); it is inevitable.  Can it be frustrating to know that depth isn’t the primary source from where great brands or people are born?  Yes, but instead of being frustrated, knowing that true value will always come to the surface can help.  Also, taking a close look at our own habits can help to keep things in perspective.

Shiny objects attract everybody’s attention; the only difference is that some people dig deeper sooner, while others go with the flow until the next shiny object comes along.  It’s just a matter of what you choose to look at versus wanting everyone to look at things the way you do.

What are your thoughts on the subject?  Did you expect a majority of people to share online content without reading?


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