This via SMS, from a number I don’t know, first thing in the morning:
For ways now, discussions on strategy in newsrooms have moved away from how to ramp up the quality of story-telling (and how to take full advantage of the emerging tools and technologies) and has concentrated, instead, on how to “maximise engagement”.
That is to say, we want to entice you to spend as much time as possible on our sites. The fact that we are spending so much time and energy framing strategy on those lines is a tacit admission that the quality of our storytelling is no longer holding your attention — but never mind that for now. It is, for us, all about “time spend” and “maximising engagement”. Such meetings inevitably end with a checklist of things-to-do towards that end, and the poll ranks pretty high up on that list.
Not dissing it, mind. A poll done right — say at the end of a piece analysing the good and bad of campus politics, say — can be a mildly useful means of measuring audience sentiment. But for heaven’s sake, that is all it is: a tool to keep you clicking, and revisiting. (To what end, no one in the strategy team is quite sure yet, but let that lie for now).
One thing it is not is, it is not the life and death matter this, and two forwards of this that landed up in my WhatsApp group, make it out to be.
Just when did they declare the silly season officially open anyway?