Happy Greenpeace day!

15 Sep

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According to my Twitter and Facebook feeds, today is Greenpeace day, a day for the organisation’s 2.9 million members to celebrate. I myself am not a member, but I do follow the eco-crime stoppers on social media, an outlet I have come to realise they rely heavily on.

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 5.55.42 PMOn the Greenpeace website there are links to Facebook, Twitter, Google and Pinrest, as well as an “other” option, which opens a window with over 340 less popular platforms to share with. The organisation¬†has over six hundred thousand followers on Twitter and over one million likes of Facebook- each of which are often shared thousands of times. Greenpeace has expanded significantly since the emergence of social media, a fact I attribute to the emotive content the organisation shares; sex may sell, but so do tortured kittens.

What does this have to do with us?

Well, news stories are just as capable of being shared over social media. The problem is, they aren’t. People only scroll through a Facebook newsfeed for a few seconds- not long enough to read more than a few words. The trick is to make these words absolutely attention-grabbing. We write print news different to online news, and accordingly we need to adjust the way we present our news in a social media landscape. Sharing a link to an online article is most likely to be opened, read and shared if it is accompanied with an emotive and interesting graphic. Similarly, most people will scroll straight over a large paragraph, but will stop and read a post of only a few words. The moral of the story is that people are lazy and if we want them to read our stories, we need to present them in a short, simple and most of all attention-grabbing way.

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