Web texts: Keep them relevant, not short!

These days a collegue told me that our social media texts were too long and that he knew that nobody actually reads such a bunch of written language. So texts have to be short and shortness is the number one touchstone of good web texts. Really?

It is true that reading a text on a smartphone screen is no fun. And even reading on a desktop computer might be challenging, because the temptation to click on a link next to or in the text or to start a video embedded into the website is huge. In general: Reading online comes with a much higher chance of distraction than reading a book or newspaper.

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However, let’s have a look at an example of a Facebook post from Jürgen Todenhöfer, a German publicist, written on 25th May 2018:

Liebe Freunde, im Sommer letzten Jahres war ich 9 Tage in Nordkorea. Mein persönlicher Eindruck: Das Land hat sich Atomwaffen zugelegt, weil es seit 60 Jahren panische Angst hat, von den USA angegriffen zu werden. Diese Angst wird von Jahr zu Jahr größer. Nicht ganz zu Unrecht. Kein Staatschef der Welt will das Schicksal Saddam Husseins, Muammar Gaddafis und anderer US-kritischer Staatschefs erleiden. Obwohl ich das Regime in Pjöngjang ablehne, kann ich seine Angst nachvollziehen. Alle Machthaber der Welt, die die Unterwerfungspolitik der USA unterschätzten, mussten einen hohen Preis zahlen.
Der Tiger Nordkorea faucht die USA nicht aus Angriffslust an, sondern aus Angst. So wie ein Igel mit seinen aufgestellten Stacheln nicht angreifen, sondern sich verteidigen will. Nordkorea plant nicht, seine Atomwaffen präventiv gegen andere einzusetzen. Es weiß, dass es anschließend sofort vernichtet würde. Es will vielmehr jedem Angreifer klarmachen, dass er einen Überfall mit Millionen Toten bezahlen müsste. Nordkorea will Krieg verhindern. Weil es ihn verlieren würde.
Wenige Stunden, bevor Trump das Treffen mit Kim Jong Un absagte, hatte Nordkorea als „vertrauensbildende Maßnahme“ sein Atomwaffen-Testgelände in … im Beisein der internationalen Presse zerstört. Wird Nordkorea, das als Zeichen der Verhandlungsbereitschaft auch seine Raketentests gestoppt hatte, noch einmal Friedenssignale senden? Jetzt wo es weiß, dass es dafür wieder politische und militärische Ohrfeigen geben könnte? Und weitere Drohungen?
Trump liebt Schlagzeilen. Über sich natürlich. Ein Tag ohne Trump-Schlagzeile ist für ihn ein verlorener Tag. Krieg liefert die größten Schlagzeilen. Trump wird die Kriegsshow immer wieder suchen. Wirtschaftlich, militärisch. Gegen möglichst viele. Handelskriege, blutige Kriege. Und wenn die Welt zusammen fällt. Trumps weltpolitisches „Herum-Getrumpel“ ist zur Zeit die größte Gefahr für den Frieden. Trump scheint das Spaß zu machen. Ich finde es unverantwortlich. Und jeden Tag gefährlicher. Euer JT

 

The text constists of 285 words and 2,025 characters – definitely no short copy! By the 13th June 2018 8,942 people reacted on Mr. Todenhöfers post. 2,174 people shared it and some hundred comments were added. Why is there so much traffic around this post, which is everything else than short? Let me explore that:
Jürgen Todenhöfer has more than 730,000 followers on Facebook and he is known for his expertise in world politics. He reports the observations he made last summer on his stay in North Korea and then writes about recent developments in the relations between North Korea and the US, about nuclear weapons, war and peace, and he comments President Trumps behavior. Furthermore, the text is written in an easy to understand language with almost no redundancy.
These are issues a lot of people estimate and are interested. In addition to that, they seem to value what Jürgen Todenhöfer shares with them on the topic and see him as an expert. As a consequence they read and interact with the text. It is relevant to them. Relevant, because they feel personally attached to the topic and to the author.
It turns out that shortness is just one and certainly not the most important property of a good web text. More important than shortness is relevance of the content, the author’s reputation and expertise in the eye of the beholder as well as the relation of relevant information to the amount of text.

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How to get rid of followers?!

Are you running an account on Facebook or Twitter for promoting your business and are you loosing followers?

By loosing followers I do not only mean that people dislike your site. I also mean that people start ignoring your activities, stop commenting and sharing you posts – even if they are still subscribed to your account or channel.

To be honest: Being ignored in social media feels even worse than being disliked or unsubscribed, doesn’t it? It tells you that people get so suck of your social media activities that they no longer care a straw.

I hope that you do better than I described it here. However, I want to share with you some ideas on mistakes you can and should avoid on social media.

Promotion over content

Yes, as an enterprise or freelancer you want to sell products, get more customers, make profit. And that’s okay. But nobody on Facebook or Twitter or Instagramm is interested in how much money you make. So people get annoyed about market crying rather sooner than later. Therefore: Give people something they like and they will like you. Share valuable content, useful information, tips and insights. For instance if you run a bakery, you could post receipts of your favorite sandwiches. Or you might come up with the newest food trends you got aware of on your holidays in Shanghai (or somewhere else :)) – content is king still holds!

Top-down communication

Be your followers best friend. Social media are by definition a level playing field. There is not a single player that is better or knows better than others. Of course there are differences and there is broad rage of people with different mindsets. But different does not mean better or worse or stronger or weaker. So respect everybody, don’t play the fault-finder. Be smart, be yourself!

Struggling with too many social media platforms

There a hundreds and thousands of social media platforms out there. So if you are creating a strategy to use them, you have to choose, which one fits best to you and your business. Maybe Facebook is enough to get in touch with your (potential) customers. And if so, you don’t need to add Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+. So stay focused on what is reasonable and manageable depending how much time and effort you can and want to invest in social media marketing.

Stopping or pausing – or reducing pace

Often, social media managers enthusiasticly start their online accounts, post twice or more a day, update, interact – I exaggerate. But the point is that starting with a high pace might lead to depression sooner or later. And falling behind oneself and the initial pace and quality of posting undermines your followers interest in your social media presence. Even if it sounds somewhat contradictory – because social media are fast moving – regularity and consistency are key to success!

Forgo Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, if …!

Facebook and other social media are great tools to promote a business. And many companies strengthened their brands by building huge communities on Facebook, acquiring a large number of followers on Twitter and Instagram. Examples are Samsung, McDonald’s, Netflix, Pizza Hut, Nike, Coca-Cola, Starbucks and many more.

However, does this mean that you should be present on social media in any case? Yes, if your customers are social-media-users, too. No, if they don’t use social media.

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The logic behind this answer is straightforward and takes just some basic knowledge in communication theory (and practice). Even the simplest communication model teaches you that communication happens and succeeds, when a receiver gets and understands a message from a sender in a certain code through a certain channel. Communication fails if one of these parameters leaks – no sender means no message means no communication; no receiver means nobody, who gets and understands the message; wrong code means confusion means communication breakdown. And: Wrong channel means communication failure.

A channel is adversely choosen, if it doesn’t connect the sender with the receiver. For instance you can’t hit me by e-mail, if I don’t check my mail box. In this case a phone call would be a better option, because I always have my cell phone on and with me.

The same is true for social media. If a social media platform, say Facebook, doesn’t connect your business with your (potential) customers, then don’t use it! For instance you are steel producer and you deliver tons of steel to large enterprises in the heavy industry. Do you believe that you get a single contract by using Facebook? For sure you won’t. The same is true, if you run an investment bank and you do wealth management for high end private banking clients. These clients won’t show up on social media and if they do, then most probably for leisure or hobby, only, but rather not for business purposes. So again, social media turns out to be a waist of time for you and your business.

So the bottom line of my note is this: Promote your business by using social media channels, if – and only if! – your (potential) customers use social media, too. But forgo Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, if your (potential) customers refuse to use it.

My first steps on STRAVA (include cycling)

Last December, I did it! No, no, I did not made any New Year’s resolutions. But I registered on Strava. This is a tracking system for running, cycling and other sports. It is quite sophisticated and I found myself struggling with all those options for planning, tracking and analysing my activities. You can set goals, track your runs and rides, studying profiles, speed, personal records for 400 meters, 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 2 mile, 5 and 10 kilometers as well as your performance on Strava segments.

Segments?

Yes. These are one of Strava’s most striking features. A segment is a route starting at one point in the landscape, running for some hundred meters or several kilometers and ending at a certain point. Everybody is free to run or ride segments either for fun or to compete for minimum times with all others, who finished a segment. There are overall rankings, year’s rankings, rankings for women only as well as rankings for the present day, week or month. The leader of the overall ranking is awarded – he/she can name himself/herself „King of Mountains“(KOM) or „Queen of mountains“ (QOM), respectively.

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Be prepared!

Now, do not think that becoming KOM/QOM is a no-brainer. It is very though as I exeperienced in these first few month of running and riding with Strava. I quickly understood that there are very though, strong and motivated guys at the top of each segment ranking. Today for instance, I get to know that Vincenzo Nibali, a pro cyclist, became KOM on two segments in the region of Lugano (Switzerland) – see featured image. Congrats, Vincenzo!

This summer is gonna be great

For me, Strava is a great opportunity to add a competitive touch to my training routine. Chasing personal records, trying to progress in the rankings – this is what keeps me motivated, so that I stick to my sportive activity even if I am „a bit tired“ or have other poor excuses not to get myself out of the sofa.

And it is even better! I think, Strava offers the opportunity to become rewarded with a personal record or a new record on one of the segments while comuting. So even on my daily way to work and back home I get the chance to achieve results. Are you ready to join and experience a great, racy summer with Strava? No excuses. Here is the link to your summer challenge in 2018: www.strava.com. Have fun 🙂

Of inches, feets and miles and their metric counterparts

I enjoy riding and running with Strava. But I am confused. Confused about the length of my favorite segments. For instance one of them is 0,15 miles long, starts at 1’418 ft and end at 1’424 ft. This makes an elevation of 6 ft. Simple maths. However, as I am used to measure distances in kilometers and meters, I always feel a bit fooled by the imperial system of measurement. And this makes me writing this short note, which should help me to cope with all these miles, feets and inches. The table below sets the stage.

Imperial system Metric system
1 inch 0,0254 m = 2,54 cm
1 foot = 12 inches 0,3048 m = 30,48 cm
1 yard = 3 feet = 36 inches 0,9144 m = 91,44 cm
1 mile = 1760 yard = 5280 feet = 63360 inches 1,60934 km = 1609,34 m = 160934 cm

So, done. Now, I think I have got it. You too? An example to check what we have learnd form this little note:

The Strava-Segment which measures 0,15 miles is approximately 0,2414 kilometers long. Why? Because 0,15 miles divided by 1 mile times 1,60934 kilometers is 0,2414 kilometers.

Warum heisst der Kaiserschnitt Kaiserschnitt?

Der Legende nach geht die Bezeichnung «Kaiserschnitt» auf den römischen Kaiser Julius Cäsar zurück. Dieser sei auf diese Weise zur Welt gekommen. Diese Legende wird aber kaum der Wahrheit entsprechen. Denn zur Zeit Cäsars war ein Eingriff wie der Kaiserschnitt für die Mutter tödlich. Die Mutter Julius Cäsars lebte jedoch nach der Geburt noch rund 50 Jahre weiter, wie wir aus der Geschichtsschreibung wissen. Deshalb wird sich der Name «Kaiserschnitt» aus mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit von anderswo herrühren, nämlich vom lateinischen Wort «caedere», das «schneiden» bedeutet. Mittels Kaiserschnitt geborene Kinder hiessen daher «caesones» – «Schnittlinge». Der medizinische Fachausdruck für diese Operation heisst heute noch «sectio caesaria», also «kaiserlicher Schnitt» oder eben «Kaiserschnitt».

Quelle: Coopzeitung, Nr. 11/2018.

Faktist

Ein Meteroit von der Grösse eines Personenwagens könnte einen 8 Kilometer hohen Tsunami auslösen, wenn er in einen irdischen Ozean einschlägt. Käme es zu einem solchen Ereignis, zeitigte dieses verherende Folgen für die Menschheit. Dies mitunter deshalb, weil ein Drittel der Weltbevölkerung höchstens 100 Kilometer von einer Küste entfernt lebt.

Quelle: WELT/N24Doku, Dokumentation «Geheimnisse der Tiefe: Riesenwellen» vom 23. Februar 2018

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