The People Aren’t Bored Or Stupid, But…

With the rapid rise of photo sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest, and people's penchant for small bits of information, you could get the impression that people have become more stupid.

Yesterday I was on an excellent Facebook marketing webinar held by my friend Scott Scanlon. When Scott was talking about his Facebook content strategy he said something I found interesting. He showed us his All Out Massive Action page, and said how the little images he posts there get more action – likes, comments, shares – than links to his blog posts.

As an example, this post of a car picture garnered 16 likes and 13 shares. Granted, the car is cool, however, it has nothing to do with the topic – all out massive action.

AOMA Car Post

Scott's recommendation was this – post a variety of content to your page, including pictures like the one above, along with links to your more in-depth blog posts. Why? Because people don't take the time to read long content anymore. And he's not the only one to have said that.

I've heard many marketers talking about how people simply don't read as much as they used to, at least not online.

This caused me to wonder why this is. I'm going to give you my thoughts, and then please add yours in the comment section below.

Have People Gotten Stupid?

No, people are not stupid. In fact, people are now more informed than ever. Granted, just because information is readily available doesn't mean people take advantage of that fact. But regardless, people aren't stupid.

Are They Just Bored?

I thought that perhaps people are bored. After all, there's a lot of the same old crap coming out day after day. I don't have enough fingers and toes to see the amount of basic-level blog posts I see published on a daily basis on literally every marketing topic known to man.

This is why I continue to read books and magazines – they contain a ton of great information – and surround myself with people taking massive action. People like Scott.

Despite the glut of information, I've decided people aren't bored.

So What Is It?

Our National Sales Manager Hugh Miller put it best when he said that today, people decide what they want to be heavy. And by heavy, I mean stuff that really impacts your life. Why? Because we're being overwhelmed with heavy all the time.

I try not to watch the news because the amount of drama they add to everything is unbearable. If anything with a modicum of substance occurs then we hear about it for a week or two. First they have the “breaking news” that happens all day. Then they pull in the experts. Then they look at every angle possible and bring in experts on those.

It's no wonder people are walking around all freaked out about stuff. If I watched the news all the time I'd never leave the house.

Brain Overload!!!

Add on to this the rapid switching of scenes on both the news and every TV show, and people are overstimulated. This leads to them being tired, both physically and mentally.

Ask any software developer if context switching helps their productivity and they will tell you no. The brain needs time to understand what is going on so that it can fully engage. When you're flipped from one thing to the next over and over, your brain simply can't take hold.

So what's the issue? Why are people more apt to share images with a line of text than read a long, in-depth blog post? Because they are simply overwhelmed, and want to choose for themselves what is going to be heavy.

What You Can Do Now That You Know This

I really wish I could write multi-thousand word blog posts that give tons of information. However, the data shows people just don't read them. So, I can either accept this fact and help to entertain people in between more informative posts, or I can put up blinders and go about my merry way doing whatever the hell I want.

I've had enough experiences in life to know that acceptance is key.

And now that you know this, what can you do?

Test. Test and then test some more.

Try posting an in-depth post and share it on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. And then, try posting an image with a line of funny text. See what people respond to.

You never know, they might just surprise you.

Share Your Experience

If you're one of the people that don't ready long blog posts and prefer to see funny images, let us know! Is it that you're overwhelmed or some other reason?

If you're one of the people that prefer to read long content, let us know why.

Either way, please share your experience with us in the comments. I look forward to chatting with you about it.




  1. Love this post. It’s relevant. The topic of what kind of content to post is one we have to look at constantly. I suspect that what gets people reading has shifted tremendously since the web started to catch on. It will continue to do so.

    When I look at the content I subscribe to and read on a consistent basis, there’s a lot of variety. Some are epic 3,000-word posts, others are less than a hundred words. I prefer bloggers who mix things up. However, all of them are well-written, by people who’ve found their voices already. I could probably tell who wrote one of them before seeing who the author is. Many of them tell interesting stories as part of the post. There’s a lot of content out there, so I can get away with wanting to be entertained and educated at the same time.

  2. I’m discovering until now the mobile apps which are amazing for someone used to work from the laptop all the time. Now I can do both things, write short sentences to pics, share images, and keep reading books, which is what I mostly do.

  3. I think you’re exactly right, Robert. People are pressed for time. They want to skim and select what they want to read in more detail. The need to do that is just becoming greater with all the information and inundation. That’s why the big publishers design their pages to be full of headlines and maybe a blurb. And why apps like News360 are using a progressive disclosure approach to let people dig deeper in steps.

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