So you may or may not have read my post “You Have 60 Seconds To Read This Post” on Friday, it was an experiment in creating a piece of content that expires after a set period of time.
The time period was extended by 5 minutes for each social media share and I’ve decided to name the practice, “hyper-blogging”.
The post is now dead, gone forever. It was published at 9:20am on 12/09/2014 and deleted at around 1:05pm on the same day, it was alive for 3 hours and 45 minutes. The social shares managed to delay its demise by ~195 minutes with around 39 shares, it’s very likely I missed many of the shares too as the process was pretty manual. Most of these shares came via Twitter, a handful from Facebook and a couple from Google + (and 1 on reddit!).
I was really pleased to see so much positive feedback from bloggers around experimenting and attempting something new. I actually thought most bloggers would dismiss the idea as it is going against most of what you read about publishing online.
The point really wasn’t to say “hey this is the way to blog in the future”, it was actually to question the way that we’re still blogging and at least open a discussion around new possibilities. I knew that not everyone would be open to the possibility of turning things on their heads as it’s not an easy concept to think about when you’ve been told for years that this is the way it’s done.
— Colm Hanratty (@colmhanratty) September 12, 2014
It would have been insightful to have seen more discussion from traditional journalists around the subject too, not arguements, but constructive engagement.
Some people where less impressed!
— Alastair McKenzie (@alastairmck) September 12, 2014
In hindsight, posting content for 30 minutes was a ridiculously short period of time, but at the same time people picked up the idea and shared (thanks to all that shared). The post did extremely well to survive until it did, especially considering the content wasn’t a highly opinionated or inflammatory.
Adding time for social media shares adds an extra interesting dimension but I felt it was really skewing the posts real social media share count and it kind of feels a little like gaming the system.
I think what is really interesting is that it galvanises attention from an audience and makes them want to “tune in” the next time. I noticed someone trying to find the article in Google after it had been deleted (hands up, who was it?). It’s certainly something worth considering in terms of signing up subscribers that wouldn’t want to miss out on the next piece you publish.
From what I’ve seen from this brief experiment, it was a huge success and I’ve even been contemplating creating my own personal blog that consists of one page that’s updated daily based on this format. For me there was enough evidence to conclude there is something in this format, it might not be perfect right now but organically we might just find the perfect usage. In an age where wearables are slowly becoming a reality, perhaps there is room for shorter content formats that are boardcasted to users rather than simply published.
— Ruth Haffenden (@Ruth_Elizabeth) September 12, 2014
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is the way to go for all content, of course it won’t be appropriate all the time. Resource based and evergreen content is produced to be referenced, searched for and bookmarked, but on the other hand opinion or diary based entries have lost some of their immediacy, spontaneity and excitement. Perhaps this would free bloggers to write more freely in smaller paragraph sized posts? Rather than being hunkered down behind a laptop for hours in the laborious task of editing photos and formatting the perfect post. After all we used to hammer out blog post of our own thoughts without an edit in sight (at least I did). It’s also worth noting that many vloggers are also building their audiences via snapchat.
Next, I’ll be experimenting with the same concept over a series that will be based on a particular topic. I’ve decided to remove the added time with social media shares but to keep time limited posts. What I will be attempting to add is text to the left hand side of each social share with the amount of remaining with which to read the article.
It’d be great to hear your thoughts on creating content with a lifespan so do leave a comment.