60% of People Will Share this Article without Reading It

Scan, Scan, Like, Scroll, Scan, Like, Share

I posted an article from this webpage on Facebook earlier this week. I don’t always do that, the last thing I want is to have my friends “unfollow” me for posting too much about my work. People want kittens and cool articles, right?

Anyhow, the point of the article was that I completely misunderstood something in my life. As a 30-something, I acknowledge I have a lot to learn about a lot of things. So I’ll admit it when I learn – and share it as it arrives.

Here’s what’s intriguing:

There’s a distinct difference between the article I posted and what I wrote on Facebook. One leads into the other, of course, it was intended to be a little breadcrumb to the slice of bread, to the whole loaf, which is the podcast.


The intro paragraph I wrote describes my level of physical flexibility and lack of connection to internet yogis today

The article was about the fact that yoga is not AT ALL what I thought. Yoga was started as a way to meditate and in fact I have been somewhat wrong all along – the end.

100% of the comments to my post were related to the physical practice of yoga and how to improve my flexibility. Neither of which I intended to discuss – nor did I discuss in my article. This leads me to something I’ve noticed happening online lately, and I have to admit I’m guilty of doing as well.

Please let me make a quick aside – to those of you friends who commented – this is not at all a blast on you. Rather, you’re the brilliant catalysts that finally pushed me to look into this phenomenon in more depth.  

 This Headline isn’t an Article

It’s tricky. Admittedly, I had to do a fair amount of Google searching to find this article because guess what? After scanning the headline, never actually opened the article, I clicked the little thumbs up.  Although I didn’t share it, my brain has been swimming around this concept for weeks. (I did a bit more digging and found the source).

The title is intriguing: Most People Only Read the Headline Before Sharing.

Catchy. As a copywriter, I’ve also been guilty of creating this type of “sharebait” or “clickbait” that is in part to blame for the drone-like sharing of media without even reading it beforehand. Somehow, as a writer, I just assumed most people read articles. According to Colombia University and the French National Institute, we now have confirmation that less than 60% of shared articles on social media have actually been read, or even clicked.

Did you see this oneStudy: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting.

The article, by Science Post, was full of Lorem Ipsum text. That’s it! Sadly, it had the anticipated reactions.  According to The Washington Post, it garnered 46,000 shares.

Longer Attention Span than We Thought

So previously, people attributed online behavior to a short attention span. Consumers scroll quickly and move on within seconds of landing on a page. Even on this website, I analyze my bounce rate to see whether people are spending time on my pages, or just popping on and off my site.

However, this study proves that actually, when readers take the time to click and read through a website, it has a considerably longer shelf life.

share article



This graph shows the more people clicked on the article, the more shares the article obtains. 

So we know that when people read something, it lasts longer on the internet. We also know that 60% of shared articles are not read articles.


Should We Change?

I’ll raise my hand and say “yes.” However, it’s not a condemnation by any means. It’s an intriguing part in our human development. Many times, when new technology arrives, we respond with a distinct lack of grace or sophistication. It takes time to figure out that appropriate behaviors and preferred manners for new behaviors.

What an interesting place for all of us to be. We all have access to multitudes of information. Readers out there are busy, so we skim information. Writers like me want you to share information so we develop intriguing titles.

Let this be a new lesson for us in how we take in our information and how we view viral news.  Let’s see where this little tidbit takes us. Now, what are you going to do with this article now that you’ve read it?

You’re the BEST

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to know more about me, my writing, or where I’ve traveled, please keep browsing my site. I’m always happy to hear from you, too, so feel free to write a note below or send me a message here.



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