This morning I wandered over the Tnooz to research the latest trends in travel tech when… Surprise of surprises, and notice I’ve been away from the JOHN RAY.. Kevin May’s edgy travel technology portal scrapes stories form none other than.. The Atlantic (not the watery thing). Discovering this for the first time, I did an “oh well” and followed a story about Twitter being beyond worthless. “Uh hum,” that was about the time The Atlantic crammed a full screen ad down my throat.. “Twitter worthless?”
Derek Thompson, the author of this twitter gibberish, he’s apparently the senior editor at The Atlantic. I say “gibberish” because this obviously intelligent writer goes all the way around the social metrics and analytics barn to find out Twitter is not a traffic channel for The Atlantic. My first thought on this sort of inquiry is; “How much does this company pay for this sort of hamster wheel analysis? Lots, I’ll bet. Anyhow, Thompson’s Holy Grail Twitter discovery, that all that goes on on Twitter stays mostly on Twitter… This was obvious before the social media bird got off the ground in series B funding in 2008. 140 characters were clearly meant for branding and subliminal messaging.
It’s no fun criticizing really good writers, heck Thompson types a lot better than me for sure, but I also hate wasted breath on really nice media. The Atlantic of late, has gone the way of the needy mo-money periodicals online, sacrificing extraordinary reporting and writing for playing out the party line. Just the Ukraine/Russia dialogue there tells of bills being paid for the west’s version of propaganda, but what’s more aggravating (and telling) is the outlet’s CONSTANT serving of full page ads that make one wait a lifetime to actually read. METRICS? Somebody please look at bounce rate will you (It’s up 15% since January!)?
The Atlantic is best advised to broadcast their messages via Twitter, quit wasting time analyzing what’s already over analyzed, and focus on key SEO and other strategies. A cursory look at the site reveals a long tail of traffic hemorrhages. Here’s some suggestions:
- Add more textual content, which can be indexed.
- Improve your title tag.
- Add alt attribute to all images.
- Reduce size of webpage by enabling gzip compression.
- Help translators and search engines with the language tag.
Now that took me all of 15 seconds and I got paid nothing by The Atlantic. Woo Hoo! Can we just Tweet some hashtags and be one with the Twitter community now guys? Heck, just tell your writers to use an Alt attribute on their images and you’ll get 10,000 more visits a month (or something).
In fairness to The Atlantic here, competitors like The Slate, for instance, are not much better off for having left off similar SEO and content advantages. Though newspapers like the UK’s Guardian and some others excel at these things, magazines online tend to leave off a lot of strategic details. I guess they are all busy regurgitating Twitter metrics that are a non-issue. As a final critique, since I am in bitchy mode (and since the grammar police hammer me incessantly) the editor of the Atlantic could refrain from egocentirsm a bit too. The paragraph below, with highlights, shows a tad bit of “me-me-me” entropy. Just saying.
“In January, I deleted Twitter from my phone. The app was a charming distraction, I decided, and 2015 would be a year of productivity upgrades. Three weeks later, I cheated by opening Twitter on my iPhone browser. Four weeks later, I was refreshing the same page every other hour. Five weeks later, my productivity experiment in tatters, I re-downloaded the app.”
(for fun I have used similar highlights in my article)