Attention span of your audience

When I read through my blog post ‘Number Crunching’ I feel that I should complete the topic by having a look at who reads you blog – in other words your blog audience. With the enormous growth of social media and increasing numbers of blogs written I am getting curious about the attention span of the average online reader.

When researching human attention span I found that it is a mine field out there. That could mean that nobody really knows the answer and/ or that it depends on ‘context’. When you read about a subject that is relevant to something in your life you will very likely take it in better than a topic you can’t relate to. You will have all the time in the world for something interesting and but you may drift asleep after seconds when being exposed to boring stuff. Kind of logic, isn’t it?

Age may have something to do with it. Anyone who has children knows that the attention span of a toddler can’t possibly be more than 2 seconds and teenagers… well, who knows what makes them tick! Some figures show that the average attention span in kids varies from 3-5 minutes and adults may be able to give you 20 minutes max!

When I see figures like that I am again amazed that blogs are being read and the internet is being explored at all. It must have to do with people’s focus. The latest way the human mind has developed and adapted must be that we have learned to become better ‘skimmers’ and can sift with ease through the enormous mountain of information that is thrown at us. Some call it scanning  and there are websites that teach you how to scan in the most effective way. Scanning can be defined as quickly looking over some information and selecting what is important to you

How can you facilitate scanning?

Not all information is suitable for scanning. When blogging it is important to keep that in mind. If you write a blog post and there is a fair of ‘waffle’ at the start while the most important bit are further down you might lose your reader. There are ways of avoiding that by using some of the following:

  • Lists, bold text, underline, Italics, headings and sub headings
  • Combining text with pictures and illustrations  
  • Make your first sentence and last sentence ‘to the point’

By using the above you can highlight and emphasise what you consider important and your readers will be able to pick up better what is relevant to them. Off course  – as bloggers we don’t want readers to scan or skim over our pages. We like them to read whatever we write from beginning to end and love it.

Unfortunately that is not going to happen all the time and people will skim and dismiss. There is just too much stuff to choose from. By producing ‘scannable’ content you may be able to capture your audience in such a way that they will come back for more.

After all you can’t deny that it is a nice feeling to find out that another reader has subscribed to your blog!

About blogexercise

This blog is to record my blogging progress and my day to day thoughts on how to become a professional blogger.

Posted on March 1, 2012, in Audience. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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