The Soul-Sucking Slideshow


Alexis Madrigal takes aim

You can get a page view spike that's actually a negative for your brand. And the more the slideshow spreads because of a clever headline or just because the topic is hot, the farther that brand damage spreads. Congratulations! You juiced the stats with an invisible poison! 

I'm sympathetic to the business concerns of the media industry. I really am. But this myth that slideshows are the path to salvation has got to be put into a rocket and sent hurtling into the sun. People know when your product is cheap; there is no "trick" of the web. The sad truth is that to win on the Internet you have to do good reporting and analysis, write great headlines, empower individual staffers to embed themselves in communities that can serve up scoops and distribute finished stories, and understand the social ecosystems that bring visitors to your site. 

The Atlantic's slide-show on "animals in the news" starting with the cutest ever polar bear is here. There are 41 separate photos in the slideshow.

(Screenshot from the Daily Caller