Learn to respect your followers and readers

Now I don’t begrudge anyone from making a living. I paid my bills for more than 20 years as a journalist writing for small town newspapers. But in the newsroom you learn to respect your readers … or you learn to do something else.

I was reading a blog post tonight that gave advice on how to approach social media. The post was a listicle with seven rules we just have to know to survive in the big, bad world of Facebook, Twitter and all the rest.

Maybe you can hear the sarcasm in that last sentence.

I didn’t start reading with a bad attitude. That didn’t develop until I noticed the click-bait design of the post. I had to click next for each of the “seven rules,” which were fairly short and would have been much easier to read on a single page.

You’ve seen the same design on posts with titles like, “25 Celebrities Who Got Fat” or “The 30 Worst Outfits on the Red Carpet.”

These posts are put together so that you have to click through to a new page for each small piece of information. The page is designed to have a photo and small amount of text surrounded by a bunch of advertisements.

Every time you click next, it helps generate money for the publisher through those ads. It takes a lot of clicks to make money this way, which is why some publishers use this click-bait design.

They don’t really care about the reader, they just care about the clicks.

The post I started reading tonight had the same design on a page with nine ads covering the top, bottom, left and right.

Now I don’t begrudge anyone from making a living. I paid my bills for more than 20 years as a journalist writing for small town newspapers. But in the newsroom you learn to respect your readers … or you learn to do something else.

I think the same has to be true online with our posts on blogs and social media. We have to respect our followers and treat them well.

Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.”

In the end, we aren’t making our content for views or clicks or likes. We are doing it for people.

The more we respect them, the more they will respect us.

The alternative is that they will just click escape.

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