Manjoo is on to you:
Only a small number of you are reading all the way through articles on the Web. I’ve long suspected this, because so many smart-alecks jump in to the comments to make points that get mentioned later in the piece. But now I’ve got proof. I asked Josh Schwartz, a data scientist at the traffic analysis firm Chartbeat, to look at how people scroll through Slate articles. Schwartz also did a similar analysis for other sites that use Chartbeat and have allowed the firm to include their traffic in its aggregate analyses.
Schwartz’s data shows that readers can’t stay focused. The more I type, the more of you tune out.
And it’s not just me. It’s not just Slate. It’s everywhere online. When people land on a story, they very rarely make it all the way down the page. A lot of people don’t even make it halfway. Even more dispiriting is the relationship between scrolling and sharing. Schwartz’s data suggest that lots of people are tweeting out links to articles they haven’t fully read. If you see someone recommending a story online, you shouldn’t assume that he has read the thing he’s sharing.
OK, we’re a few hundred words into the story now. According to the data, for every 100 readers who didn’t bounce up at the top, there are …
Hey, that’s what the Dish is for! We edit the web for short-attention spans. Longer form pieces really do belong on the tablet instead. But you can always dig deeper if you want. That’s what hyper-links are for. If you’re still with me.