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The Page View Conundrum and The Traffic Whores

It's time to choose sides. You can either be 'the bringer of content'. Forget about being a media company, and turn your business into an aggregator. Or you can be the creator, the influencer, the 'source' - the original that we are inspired by.

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Written by on April 5, 2012

One of the biggest dilemmas we have in the new media world, is that the more we optimize the worse it gets. The most visual example of this is to look at page views. The tactics that generate the most amount of page views are also the tactics that produce the least amount of value and relevance.

The conundrum is that we think people want value (and they do), but in reality, people are so overworked that they decompress by going to the type of content that requires the least amount of energy. Like cat videos, people doing weird things, and funny internet memes.

This is not something new invented by the internet. Back in the 1970s, if you felt a little worn out you would not watch an inspiring movie about an important topic, you would watch 'Smokey and the Bandit'. It is one of the crappiest movies ever made, but it is wonderful to watch on a Sunday afternoon, if you just want to decompress.

What's happening today, is that this very natural behavior of seeking low-brain content when we are feeling the need to unwind, is being magnified in our ultra-connected, ever stressed out world. The more overworked we get, the more no-brain content we seek to get away from it.

This is the reason why sites like StumbleUpon, and lately Pinterest, have become such massive sites. They are entirely based on giving people lots of random content that people can relax with without the mental effort involved in doing so.

In the country I live in, a study found that 40% of all office workers had called in sick one or more times because of stress. 40 percent! That's insane.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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