Ignorance and Information

(some negatives of social media cont.)

"...As psychologists know, humans are comfortable with ignorance but they hate feeling deprived of information..."
Franklin Foer, 2017

This is being used on social media, ie
"...used this insight to pioneer a style of headline that explicitly teases readers, withholding just enough information to titillate them into reading further..."
Franklin Foer, 2017

This means editorial success could be engineered
"...the pursuit of audience is their central mission. They have allowed the endless feedback loop of the web to shape their editorial sensibility, to determine their editorial investments. Once a story grabs attention, the media write about the topic with repetitive fury, milking the subject for clicks until the public loses interest. A memorable, yet utterly forgettable, example: a story about a Minnesota hunter killing a lion named Cecil generated some 3.2 million stories..."
Franklin Foer, 2017

Getting the right headline is the key to grabbing the public's attention. For Cecil the lion story, some headlines were
"....Vox: 'eating chicken is morally worse than killing Cecil the lion'. BuzzFeed: 'psychic says she spoke with Cecil the lion after his death.' TheAtlantic.com: 'from Cecil the lion to climate change: a perfect storm of outrage one-upmanship'..."
Franklin Foer, 2017

Now journalists are now being informed that they are in the technology industry, not media industry. This means that every article they write is scrutinised around its performance on social media, ie
"...will the article earn enough traffic to justify the investment?..."
Franklin Foer, 2017

This also means others professions, like engineers and marketers, are playing a larger role in the editorial process which used to be exclusively the journalist's domain.

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