Sunday, February 5, 2012

What the people want - comments on social media

After returning from the IHI National Forum in December, I wondered about what readers are looking for in a blog.  The advice I heard from Paul Levy was to post shorter pieces (300 words) frequently (3 times per week).  I've heard the same advice from other social media gurus.

But, that sounds like one-size-fits-all advice.  I was interested to find out what this blog's readers thought.  Here are the responses to the question "Do you prefer infrequent (every 2 weeks), longer posts, or frequent, shorter ones ("300 words, 3 times a week)":

Longer, infrequent posts - 11%
Shorter, frequent posts    - 26%
Mix it up - bit of both     - 61%
(42 responses)
The 3 comments were very instructive:

"As one who infrequently visits blogs in general, I prefer the longer-more-thorough blogs. I am particularly interested in the content if I can use it as a reference in the future. Timeliness applies to rapidly changing events but every knows the health system is not a rapidly chaninging (sic) system!
Even with Paul Levy's blog, I do not have the time to check it on a regular basis, but the posts that are particularly relevant to me work there way through the Social world and I end up reading them at my leisure - which is precisely when I am more likely to consider implementing change."




"Kishore you are my QI hero and I look forward to reading your blogs but I also read many other posts/articles/white papers/blogs etc. so shorter more frequent would put me into even more serious multi-tasking mode which is apparently bad for the brain and for productivity in the workplace. I don't care what you're doing every day, but I really care about what you are learning - straight up Q2weeks is good for me!"



"I like the longer blogs too. You take the time to tell the story, why, what you did and how it's going. That's what provides value for me. I don't think in 300 word blocks..."

The rationale offered for frequent, short posts is that readers want to find new content every time they visit a blog.  If they are disappointed too often, they will stop visiting.  That presumes that readers rely on surfing the web to find out when there's a new post.  I suspect that many of this blog's readers rely on the HQC blogroll, RSS feed or (recently) Twitter to let them know it's time to visit.

Shorter, frequent posts tend to be superficial treatments of a topic.  Sometimes, that does to trick, especially if supported by links to other related resources.  This blog's readers seem to be interested in a mix of posts, but as the comments indicated, there is value in telling a longer story.

3 comments:

  1. Kishore: I tend to like long pieces that take the time to introduce the topic, provide examples, explain the rationale for a decision, and possibly include feedback from others. Quick hits are handy, too, but there is real value in mini case studies like many of your pieces.

    Because your blog includes a link to your Twitter feed, and shows the most recent tweets, you’ve taken care of some of the appetite for shorter, more frequent updates.

    If you felt comfortable occasionally taking one of your tweets and adding an extra paragraph about the topic in a blog post, that would be even better, but not if it felt like a chore to you.

    My experience with blogging is that every writer has a rhythm that they’re comfortable with. A more methodical writer can spice things up with shorter items if it feels natural to them, but if it’s forced, it doesn’t work.

    Readers appreciate longer, less frequent posts if that suits the writer’s intentions best. Thought leaders are given a lot more leeway by readers than people who are trying to blog as a way of attracting attention to their business.

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  2. I am wondering how much of length is fuled by generational experiences. For younger people, who are familiar with frequent, short, and focused on-line experiences, the 300 word max may be more than enough.

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  3. You know, just because you do a poll on what people want, doesn't mean you should just quite writing for a month when the majority say shake it up, with a bit of both.:o)
    Looking forward to another post!

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