I got the link to this article from Antonio Lafuente’s Twitter feed and, yes, proceeded to read it. Let’s try something out: if you read the extract (or the full article), please say so in the comments. We will then compare that with the sharing button stats.

Caitlin Dewey writes:

On June 4, the satirical news site the Science Post published a block of “lorem ipsum” text under a frightening headline: “Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting.”

Nearly 46,000 people shared the post, some of them quite earnestly — an inadvertent example, perhaps, of life imitating comedy.

Now, as if it needed further proof, the satirical headline’s been validated once again: According to a new study by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute, 59 percent of links shared on social media have never actually been clicked: In other words, most people appear to retweet news without ever reading it.

Worse, the study finds that these sort of blind peer-to-peer shares are really important in determining what news gets circulated and what just fades off the public radar. So your thoughtless retweets, and those of your friends, are actually shaping our shared political and cultural agendas.

“People are more willing to share an article than read it,” study co-author Arnaud Legout said in a statement. “This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”

To verify that depressing piece of conventional Internet wisdom, Legout and his co-authors collected two data sets: the first, on all tweets containing Bit.ly-shortened links to five major news sources during a one-month period last summer; the second, on all of the clicks attached to that set of shortened links, as logged by Bit.ly, during the same period. After cleaning and collating that data, the researchers basically found themselves with a map to how news goes viral on Twitter.

And that map showed, pretty clearly, that “viral” news is widely shared — but not necessarily, you know, read. (I’m really only typing this sentence for 4 in 10 people in the audience.)

Read the full article here

Photo by mkhmarketing

6 Comments 6 in 10 of you will share this link without reading it, a new, depressing study says

  1. Diane Trout

    I read the article here the washington post version, I’ve only read the abstract from the “Social Clicks” article so far though

  2. Laurence Victor

    I read the article. I never refer an rticle unlexs I have read it and find it significant. Too, Too many articles being referred to me. I read all titles of P2P, skim a few, read even fewer, but bookmark all. Bookmarking may cease as I will never go back to read. Yet, the process forces me to feed my ignorance: knowledge OF what I don’t yet know or comprehend.

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