NASA: Marijuana is an “alien plant” with DNA from outside of our solar system

Anyone interested in reading the article with this headline has, without knowing it, taking part in a social experiment. Just the fact that people will take the time out to read the story instead of only sharing it, thanks to its catchy headline, says a great deal.

People Are Motivated To Share Articles Based Only On Title

Recently The New York Times Customer Insight Group conducted a study with the aim of getting people to understand the psychology that motivates people to share content on social media. When people were questioned under one half of those taking part in the study said that they shared information through social media solely for the purpose of getting information across to people to enrich those around them 68% of people said that they would share the information to project along with reinforcing an image of themselves.

One person who took part in the study said that they would try to share information that would reinforce an image that they would like to present, which was reasoned, kind, thoughtful, interested and passionate about something.

People Shared An Article That Did Not Even Have Content

Just last April an article was shared on Facebook with the title of “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore.” The website sharing it wanted to see how the audience would react when reading the title. They then focused on how the audience would react to the title and whether they would share it or even share what they thought about the article just based on the headline. If the follower did click on the article to read it, they would not have been able to read it as there was no actual article.

Forbes became interested in the phenomenon, and they put up an article with the clever title of “59 Percent of You Will Share This Article without Even Reading It”. The title said it all of course, but even so many followers responded by not opening up the article and instead just sharing it.

Phenomenon Shows People Pay More Attention To The Title Than Anything Else

Jayson DeMers, the author of the article, went on to talk about how it impacted the importance of the headline of the article. He said that it does not matter if people or amused or enraged at the phenomenon, it does exist on social media. He followed by saying that people are going to have to take action to adapt to it and while the content of the article is still very important, it is the headline that is the true king. Without having a headline that is solid there will be no chance of gaining social media shares that are meaningful.

Scientists at the French National Institute and Columbia University were interested in whether it carried to other social media platforms and they took a look at the data of more than 2.8 million news articles online that were shared through social media channel Twitter. The results suggested that as many as 59% of links shared on Twitter have not been clicked on.

People Spend More Time Sharing Content More Than Actually Reading It

Arnaud Legout, the co-author of the study, said that people do seem to share more articles than spending time reading them. He went on to say that this is typical of the modern information consumption. People form an opinion that is based only on a summary of information and do not look deeper into it.

So, if you are among the very few people who were motivated enough to read what this article was about to the end despite it not being anything to do with the title, congratulations. It does show that there is a shift that is important in online habits. But will you share the article now you have read it?