What’s In A Click?

Jan15Genetics is a funny thing. I knew any child Scott and I produced would have blonde hair, but I never thought about whether or not that hair would be thick or thin or dark or light or curly or straight. Turns out, it’s pretty straight, pretty light, and pretty thin — the exact opposite kind of blond hair that I had growing up. And in these icy cold winds we’ve been treated to lately here in Los Angeles (no seriously, it’s been in the 30s here, that’s like record breaking, I’m certain of it) my lady’s hair is standing straight on end more often then not. Poor girl. And don’t even think of suggesting she wear her hair in a ponytail. You’ve never heard a little girl scream “I don’t want a pony!” with such vigor. Although this morning she did say that “tomorrow” (which just means not today, some other time in toddler-speak) she would consider letting me put her hair in two ponytails “like Sadie had last time” (last time also just means some other time, but in the past tense.) Thank Moses for my Mother-In-Law, who taught me that rubbing a dryer sheet on her head will calm things down when things really start to fly away.

Totally unrelated, what’s up with people’s reluctance to click things on the internet? Sure — on occasion I’ve come across a site that’s exploiting my clicks, barely offering a sentence between each page break or shoving four ads into a ten image slide show, but for the most part a click is a price I’m willing to pay for otherwise free information/entertainment/time suckage. Still, plenty of my fellow internetizens are not so happy to  share the currency of their clickage.

My RSS feed is truncated (has been for a while). For those of you who didn’t just fall asleep and don’t know what that means, it means that if you subscribe to this website via RSS you get a sentence or two of each post I write delivered to your inbox letting you know it’s time for a visit. It hasn’t always been this way. Once upon a time when I was an innocent young blogger I used to let my feeds flow full — images, words, everything I published to this blog would be delivered to your inbox/reader for your enjoyment. But, people (not most people) abused that kindness and did things like blog scrape and use my content without permission. So, like a lot of bloggers, I truncated my feed. I guess I asked that in some small way you show your appreciation for the time and effort I put in here, and depress your pointer finger by about a quarter of an inch (give or take depending on your mouse/trackpad/keyboard.) I’m not asking for cash money, although it’s true that I’ll make enough to buy a cup of coffee based on the folks that might click through instead of read my post/look at my picture/see whatever random thing that’s got my attention in their reader, I’m just hoping for you to help me protect my content.

But for whatever reason, people really hate to click. I’ve seen unfollow/unsubscribe/dead-to-me declarations on all forms of social media raging against bloggers who truncate their RSS feeds. And perhaps because I’m one of them, but also because I just don’t get it — I just don’t get it. Why the reluctance to click?

I want to assure you, I’m not accusing or mocking or complaining, or anything like that — falling short of intentionally boycotting something that offends me morally, I just genuinely have never understood the inclination to withhold my click from a blogger whose work I want to read. I’d love to hear what you guys think.

Feed Me Seymour

17 Responses to What’s In A Click?

  1. I admit it, I fully unsubscribe from bloggers who truncate their feeds. (Not you, my friend, NOT YOU, but other bloggers.)

    The problem here is time. If I have subscribed to you, I want to take in your content. And I usually check email on my phone, but I hate reading blogs on my phone. So if I get an email from a blogger on my phone, I’m not going to click there. And then if it gets lost in the email inbox, well later it just gets a delete. For the bloggers with full feeds, I read their content and THEN delete. So they’re not getting a click from me, either, but they are getting my readership. And stats and personal experience says that it’s the loyal readership who buys what you’re trying to sell, both figuratively and literally.

    Now, if I subscribe to a blog using Google Reader (my reader of choice), then I heavily employ the use the “next” button, which takes me directly to each subscribed blogs latest post. Then I have no idea if the blog is truncated AND the blogger gets the click. This is a win/win for all.

    But if I happen to be using Google Reader within google reader, then again, it’s a time thing. I browse one’s headline and it has to be REALLY compelling to make me take an extra stop. But if it was a full feed, I’d browse the whole post, deepening my readership-ness.

    I guess, as a blogger, one has to decide whether or not you value the click (legitimate, as clicks are what sometimes pay the bills), or value the reader (who really, really wants to read your stuff, but isn’t going to jump through hoops for it).

    • Morgan says:

      Thanks lady : ) Interesting about reading on your phone – because I don’t use a reader (I can’t have one more unread count taunting me) but I too hate reading blogs on my phone. And totally a point I hadn’t considered about “losing clicks but maintaining readership.” Food for my thoughts.

  2. Juliya says:

    I admit, I hate to click. Mostly it’s because I’m usually reading from my reader app on my phone and when I have to click it takes too long and takes me away from all my other feeds and it’s just annoying. But the blogs that I do like (like this one) I keep and click, but I did remove a lot that were not worth the click. Don’t hate me.

  3. I’ve never unsubscribed from a blog that truncates. But back when my Reader used to be my BFF, I often didn’t take the time to click away from it to read the content of truncated feeds. For me, it was a time issue. It’s like when a newspaper (remember those?) threads a story through half the A section. “Continued, A8″ “Continued, A13.” At some point, I would just lose interest.

    I realize that’s incredibly lazy and indicative of our consumer culture. But there’s just so much out there. It’s so easy to just move on to the next thing.

    • Morgan says:

      I realize that’s incredibly lazy and indicative of our consumer culture. But there’s just so much out there. It’s so easy to just move on to the next thing.

      very interesting. and true for me too about moving on to the next sometimes.

  4. Mommy says:

    I agree with those above – I read in GReader on my phone. I click over to comment when I feel compelled, but hate clicking out of there to read a full post. It’s just annoying somehow.

  5. Kit says:

    I dont use google reader on my phone. I have enough other time wasting apps on my phone that I reserve greader for my PC. When one of my favorite bloggers started truncating her feed I was momentarily annoyed but now that I’m used to it I think it saves me time. She posts on a variety of topics and I’m honestly not interestes in some of them – but when her posts were full I would read them all. Now I only click through to the ones that interest me.

    Regardless I appreciate that she publishes content for my enjoyment and I won’t punish her for asking me to pay for that with a click.

  6. Sarah macon says:

    How do you do the truncate-ing? Is that a word?

    • Morgan says:

      It’s somewhere in the settings of my blog dashboard. I’ve done it and undone it a few times because I always go back and forth about it.

  7. alex says:

    I blather on about how we need to be mindful about the way we spend our online time, and it’s why I I believe that in this culture of skimming, it’s important we click through and read posts – whether the blog has ads or is ad free.

    We have at our fingertips so much information that we simply take it for granted. With a click, we enter the space of the creator. To connect and comment and engage on the blog is what this community was built on.

  8. I almost always click, because I love to comment. So if I’ve taken the time to subscribe to a blog, it’s because I REALLY want to interact with that person and if I don’t comment RIGHT AWAY, I’ll forget. Therefore, I always click.

  9. Beth Anne says:

    I’m torn on the issue, as you know.

    1) I hate having my stuff scraped. Also, I put a lot of time & effort into what I create for the internet & although it may not seem like much to anyone else, it’s my heart & soul & I’d like that click as a “thank you” in a way.

    2) As someone who works outside of the home, I’m also PAINFULLY aware that for many folks who work, their Google Reader is the ONLY way to access blogs at work. For me, I so appreciate full feeds because it means fewer clicks & my employer counts clicks as far as monitoring internet usage of it’s employees.

    So. All that being said, I keep mine a full feed for my fellow working moms. Also because I have to ask them to click over to Babble for the stuff I write there. I feel like I’m already asking for clicks.

    But I also don’t unsubscribe when people go truncated. I click over every damn day for you, my friend & I am proud to do it.

    • Brandy says:

      Ditto to BA. Working moms unite.
      I like being able to consume the whole thing without going somewhere else. I don’t mind if you are making money…it is just me. It is also true if I let it sync to view offline (say on my ipad). If I CAN’T click, you just lost me reading your post.

      And can you clairfy how they can scrape easier in an RSS feed over just your regular site? That makes no sense to me from a nerd perspective.

      • Morgan says:

        I had my RSS literally published on another website in full. I have no idea how to go about doing that, but it appeared to be done via RSS. Although the readers being blocked at work is an issue I admittedly forget about; I am a working Mom, but my only issue with accessing sites is crappy urban internet. ; ) More to think about.

  10. Pingback: Free With Validation: The Blogger-Reader Connection | Alexandra Wrote

  11. I have often thought about making my blog feed truncated, but then I realized that I rarely click through for truncated feeds in Google Reader. When you get down to it, it is just plain inconvenient most of the time. If you are on a standard computer, you can create a new tab and leave your Reader open. But, if you are on a phone or tablet, the Reader is an app all its own. When you click on a link, it opens the blog in a browser. This is fine, and I love seeing blogs in their natural habitat and commenting periodically, but then there’s the catch: I can’t hit the back button. I have to click out of the browser, scroll back to my Reader and reopen the Reader. Sigh, it sounds silly to type it out when it’s 30 extra seconds at most … but that’s what it is.

    It would be better justice if Google Reader or RSS “hits” counted back to the original site. Surely someone out there somewhere could make this reality.

Talk to me. Please. I'm almost always alone or with a toddler.