As I sit here at the keyboard trying to produce some life-altering, viral story to entertain or educate you, I find myself at a grand loss. It’s not that I have nothing to say. It’s not that you don’t really care what I have to say. You just won’t take the time to even read this past the next paragraph. That’s why sites like Pinterest, Facebook, and The Chive do so well, and we stay small and in a very tight niche.
See, you probably have between one and three kids. You’re slightly more likely to be a woman than a man. There’s a good chance you have an advanced college education—or at least some college. You are probably between the ages of 24 and 44. You are likely viewing this from this comfort of your home. You are in a perfect demographic for 75% of businesses in the United States.
But despite the fact that you are quite possibly the “perfect” audience, you just stopped reading this. You might feel like I’m about to sell you something. If you blog, you might be scared that you will give me an extra 30 seconds time-on-site causing my site to do better than yours. (After all, if you pay attention to me, Kitchenaid won’t pay attention to you and you lost out on a free mixer review opportunity. Hell, The Pioneer Woman did it, why can’t you?) In fact, I’m so confident that you aren’t reading this, I could go “Not Safe For Work” (NSFW) and start talking about why the porn industry will never crash and burn because of videos like this one.
If you are still reading, though, I will explain why I say websites like Pinterest, Facebook, and The Chive do so well and we have to fight tooth and nail for your attention. All of these sites get right to the point. They throw a 5-30 second blip of mind-numbing dribble in front of you, force an even shorter, very limited set of actions on you to repin, share, digitally hoard, or like whatever it is, then move on to the next mindless piece of dribble. They got their 10 second quickie, you giggled, got pissed off, nodded your head, or said “how cute is this!” and shared it with all of your friends. And by the way, you just contributed to some marketing “guru” making $150,000 a year figuring out exactly how short our attention spans have become and what kind of MEME the lemmings are into this week.
We, on the other hand, want you to actually read for 30 seconds to a minute, comment (GASP!), and then share with people who might be facing the same issue or this is relevant to. We might even want you to think! That’s a lot of work! And how dare we take up that much of your time? How dare we expect so much from you? Especially with such a dry headline and no pictures of a kitten or bunny or Epic Fail!
Now here is where I tell you to let me have it in the comments below because you are not some assembly line drone and are in control of your attention span. Before you do, let me make some things clear: I occasionally use Pinterest for ideas and to see pretty pictures of far away landscapes. I use Facebook to see what kinds of dumb or funny stuff people are sharing (and Candy Crush—damn game). I have also wasted around two hours on The Chive looking at slideshows of epic fails. I guess that makes me a hypocrite. Since I admitted that, don’t worry about commenting—here’s a picture of a cute puppy instead. The sharing buttons are above and below the post.