How to Be Happy (Again!) by Bill Storie
Note: This article first appeared in April 2016 well before the onslaught of “fake news” proving once again that “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.
You might think that is the title of my column this week. You’d be wrong.
OK, so you’ve clicked me off now, fair enough.
But there’s a point I’m trying to make. In today’s online world we scurry at the speed of light if not faster, from one click to another to another to another. We can’t slow down it seems. We are only interested in eye-catching words, phrases or titles – and nothing else. If the word doesn’t register in our Gigabyte brains within 2 nanoseconds then we dash off. So, bye now.
Therefore, the trick is to come up with a whizz-bang title that holds people’s attention for at least 3, if not 4, nanoseconds. Not easy though. Lightning speed has been banished to the back of the class, we don’t recognize it anymore. It’s the speed of light or nothing these days. What happened to “stop and smell the flowers?”
So I decided to do some research on speed limits. Especially on the Information Highway. I wondered if the subject matter of say an article on a website actually had an impact on people’s decision to window shop so to speak. Or was it just the title?
I discovered that people only read the title and unless it says something like “Get free money” or “You will never be sick again,” or “How to be happy”, then the traffic signals are always on green. We can do away with the red stop light on the Highway. We just drive past it at uber-lightning speed regardless of anyone else on the road.
In other words if the most brilliant scientists in the world discover a cure for some baffling disease then if they fail to give the article’s title some sex appeal, the world will never learn about the discovery. Shame really. With any luck, our medical practitioner hopefully has a slower click finger than the rest of us.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a thousand pictures, which pretty much banishes this article to the depths of some ancient archive. There’s simply no need to check if I need a comma here, or there, or anywhere for that matter, because you have not got down this far in the article anyway, so what’s the point? (or the comma as the case may be).
I did find out that You Tube registers a “view” if the video is viewed for at least 30 seconds, whereas Facebook registers a view at a mere 3 seconds, yes three seconds. My eyes don’t blink that fast. So if you upload a video to Facebook which lasts let’s say 20 minutes, and get 500 Views the chances are that 499 people watched it for 3 seconds each and one person (probably your mum) watched it all the way through.
Many companies haven’t found this out yet. They still think that a Facebook View means that everyone watched their prize-winning video beginning to end. Social Media gurus don’t rush to tell you this either – not good for their business to let you know that. The fact that it would actually be good for you to know it escapes them for some reason.
So, if you can produce a 3-seconds video that captures the imagination of the 1.5 Billion Facebook users you will be a hero. You will be the first to ever do it. You will also probably be the last as well.
I think we should initiate the World Click Championship – to see what a new world record might look like for bona fide clicks in say ten minutes. Of course, if I was to organize the event I would insist that the contestants must recall every site they visited and be able to write the name down before being crowned champion. That would separate the thumbs from the pinkies..!
Next week I’ll share some more thoughts on how to be happy (I won’t, but it sounds good, and will maybe ensure that you’ll visit with me again for another breath-taking three seconds).
Click, Click, Click, Bye.
by Bill Storie