In many ways, I suppose we learned a lot from yesterday’s “Morongate” scandal on the World Series Dreaming community boards. Flat out starting the headline with “Joe Maddon is a Moron” was probably not the nicest thing to do, but I set out to perform a bit of a social media experiment and pretty much got the result I expected given the hypothesis. Basically, if we post a blog, most people will react based solely on the headline without actually reading the blog, which is what we’ve observed consistently throughout the existence of our community. The response was interesting, and frankly, quite enjoyable…
There were a few replies that were to the tune of, “Ha ha, okay, I did read it and you got me after I got past the headline.” Many more called me an idiot and a troll, and I admit to the latter although I’m fairly confident I’m not the former. And even after some prodding from us after the fact to read the actual blog instead of responding to the headline, people still wouldn’t because they had already made up their minds based solely on the headline, and/or just didn’t feel like it because they were lazy or whatever.
That’s actually fine with me. I concede that the headline was sort of a cheap thing to do, was designed solely to incite reactions, and definitely clickbait-y, which…well, the blog got like 4000 hits since it was shared, so draw your own conclusions. This is way more than what Andy got for his very well-written blog about Cubs pitcher trade options, and to be perfectly honest, that is extremely annoying to me. I also note that some initial responses to Andy’s blog were based solely on the fact that he chose Jeff Samardzija as the featured image, although if you think about it and actually read the blog, Samardzija is not an unreasonable trade target for the Cubs.
This isn’t to say that this is all the readers’ (or lack thereof, as the case appears) fault. We do this purely as a hobby and we incur personal expenses by choice to run this site and our Dreamcast. We enjoy talking baseball with Cubs fans and fans of other teams alike. And we provide the community to all of you for free. In return (and I don’t think this is too much to ask), we expect at least some level of sharing and word-of-mouth, because we believe that we produce good content that supplements everything you might get from FanGraphs or Baseball Prospectus or what not. It’s not that hard, in our view, for folks like you to spend more than 30 seconds reading past the headline, and clicking “share” or “retweet” on your social media platform of choice.
Unfortunately, we can’t react to every small Cubs story like certain dedicated sites because we have our own lives and livelihoods to contend with. For me, for instance, I have to continue a job search and clean up cat puke from my sporadically bulimic feline friend. But when we put in the effort to construct a thoughtful post and then see multiple responses from people who obviously did not read the post and are just reacting to a headline, that is disappointing. I do not think that is an unreasonable reaction from my part.
I appreciate that we have almost 30000 follows on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog subscribers who aren’t porn-bots. And I know that many of these follows are newer, so they don’t get our unique sense of humor (I have a horrible sense of humor, just ask my wife). We also get that our humor isn’t for everyone, whether they just joined up or have been with us since the beginning. Take this post, for example…it got generally positive reactions, but some people got super-pissed at us because they didn’t check the date and didn’t get the joke right away. But sometimes, that’s just part of the gag, and I make no apologies for that. Because at the end of the day, you are all capable and intelligent people, and you know how to read past a headline.
We at World Series Dreaming probably could use some lessons in headline and search engine optimization, but just like most online content these days, you can’t blame us for taking advantage of reading tendencies to drop a clickbait-y article here and there. What you can do, however, is continue providing us thoughtful feedback after you have actually read past the headline. This isn’t arrogance or conceit, but confidence on our part, when we say that we provide a fun entertainment product that you don’t actually have to pay for. We feel like what we provide deserves more than a goldfish’s attention span. And we are confident that you all can do that for us, if you so choose.
Thanks as always for being a part of World Series Dreaming, and for supporting and sharing what we do to your friends. I promise not to throw too much more clickbait at you from now on.