In an article from last summer, Mashable points out how political and partisan digital native publications such as The Blaze and Upworthy are taking keen advantage and thus benefiting tremendously from Facebook’s algorithm changes of over a year ago. Others that have had a substantial offline presence are capitalizing as well. A major component of that is that it these type of political publications push content that has a strong ideological or partisan appeal…just like Fox News and MSNBC do on cable. These newer media outlets are also finding success via Twitter as well.
Several things are going on here. First of all, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow for people to create their own newsfeeds via self-selected relationship building. This, tied into an intense desire of many to both share and be shared to, only serves to enhance the distribution of political and issue oriented news. That’s why these sites grow at a faster rate than traditional news media sites.
I’m a political guy, having worked on campaigns for U.S. Senate and for a presidential candidate. I’m also a rare passionate centrist type. So I quickly get sick of the left and right shrillness. But in the end, these type of publications can do a lot of good because they can at least bring forward issues that the mostly mainstream (corporate) media don’t touch.
I see several things behind all this:
1) Appeal to people’s ideological emotions. We aren’t necessarily the most intellectually driven people in the world. Deep analysis? Forget it. Give it to them in filled with emotion and passion.
2) Use (yes) misleading headlines. Make an awkward situation out to be a crisis. Tell of how the opposition is the devil.
3) Treat the reporting as something the traditional news media “doesn’t want you to know”. This way readers will think mainstream is biased against them.
4) Make it shareable!! Quick easy for widespread distribution.
5) Keep it short. Something that the average person can read in under 2 minutes.