Monday, September 20, 2010

Social Networking's Most E-Mailed Articles

Hear ye! Hear ye!There're plenty of theories about who spreads gossip and news on social networks — now, research is measuring what kind of information travels fastest.
Researchers studied the NY Times list of most-e-mailed articles for six months, analysing thousands of stories and variables. Surprising results: I'd have thought, to make the Most E-Mailed List, the article would be about sex, celebs or something bizarre like: "How Your Vegan Pet’s Diet Threatens Your Lesbian Civil Union, and Why It’s The Peruvian Government's Fault." But it turns out that people prefer e-mailing articles with positive themes, and long articles on intellectually challenging topics. Within that grouping, there is a leaning towards scientific articles and, analysed further, people choose articles that are awe-inspiring!
An awe-inspiring story needs to be on a big scale, and it must challenge the reader to view the world differently. Researchers feel people who share this kind of article are seeking an emotional link ie: "If you read this article and feel the same as I did, it will bring us closer together." They also found readers shared other emotions like anxiety - which, based on the old journalistic adage of 'fear sells', might be expected to be the top influence on readers. But of all the variables studied, awe had the strongest influence on an article making the Most E-Mailed List.
So if you find something in my blog which stimulates your mind and you'd like to pass a link on to a friend, feel free to share! That would be...awesome!

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