Content Shock Illustrated

Mark Schaefer wrote an insightful post about Content Shock two years ago, explaining that a glut of content from hundreds of millions of blogs and websites was testing everyone’s capacity for attention. Therefore content marketing might be an unsustainable strategy for individuals and organizations without the capacity to buy attention.

About that same time LinkedIn began slowly rolling out its new post feature that encouraged people to blog with LinkedIn. I had qualms about using the new platform because of fear of “digital sharecropping” – once again slaving away to create content in order to make a couple nerdy guys in California rich.

I experimented with the new platform and posted 11 articles between June and October 2014. I was delighted with the engagement – averaging over 2,000 views and 25 likes. Even after taking out the highest and lowest viewed posts, each article averaged over 1600 views and 10 likes.

For personal reasons I stopped posting on LinkedIn for 10 months. I have posted 4 posts between August 2015 and today. The drop-off in views, likes and comments has been significant!

Time Period Avg Views Avg Likes Avg Com #Posts


26 6.5 11
6-10/14 w/o extremes


12 4


8/15 – 1/16

124 9 2


I expected a decline, as I had noticed a steady rise in the number of posts every day by the people I follow and and linked to. But the fall really is dramatic. From an average of 1600+ views per article to less than 125 and from 12 likes per article to 9.

By creating a new platform for blogging LinkedIn afforded me a personal accelerated view of Content shock. It looks like this:

Content Shock2

Small sample size, my own experience: this is anecdotal evidence and I would like to hear from others who have been posted on LinkedIn from early 2014 so there would be more evidence. I did anticipate a drop-off in interaction in advance of resuming, though, because of all the content currently being shared – content shock.

How are you dealing with the glut of content???







This entry was posted in Blogging, Content, Digital Marketing, Facebook, LinkedIn, Social Media, Social Media Marketing. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Content Shock Illustrated

  1. Very interesting observation. Certainly this is a small sample size, too small to be conclusive but keep following this and see how it plays out. If the drop is real there are only one or two possible explanations and the most likely one I think is what you suggest here — the fight for limited attention in a world of exploding content.

  2. Again, a very interesting post, Gary!

    Blogging on I’ve noticed that some posts are indeed ‘timeless’, their views grow with time. Every autumn people ask the internet How Do Mice Get Into Microwaves and views on my related post for example rise πŸ™‚ I assume on LinkedIn it all depends on LinkedIn’s algorithm that only shows the latest posts in the news stream. Search engines seem to value ‘the past’ more.

    Re your question – how do you deal with CS? (As a writer, I suppose…) I think I finally focus on very specific topics. They may only be interesting for a small audience, but on the other hand I think (… and search engines analytics seems to confirm that…) that then there is a chance that your content might indeed be found by people really interested. I have more ad hoc comments and likes if I, say, meta-blog about blogging (or if I tag my search term poetry with ‘Art’ :-)), but the timeless posts are the more nerdy long-form ones.

    In addition, I really stay away from blogging if I feel like: Now the biweekly post would be due. Fortunately, I have ideas I really want to research and blog about regularly but I don’t want to force myself. So even if nobody reads it, I still enjoy the writing process for the sake of it. In contrast to you I don’t teach (any more), so preparing blog posts that require to explain science in the most concise away gives me the experience I once liked preparing classes for.

    • One more thought, on your data: I always feel that algorithms distribute views and impressions equally among all contributors. Your views will not scale with your posts but ‘normalized’ and scaled down based on the total number of posts. So the more people blog or post on some platform, the smaller the fraction of their posts that will be shown to others. And I feel lots of people have started publishing on LinkedIn in recent months, so each contributor’s share of views and fame has to decline.

      • Gary Schirr says:

        Thank you for more thoughtful comments!

        I agree – I think that is the essence of content shock. There is so much stuff that a fewer proportion of people will see or read what you post. The late timing of LinkedIn into the blogging space allowed us to “see” the progression of content shock at an accelerated pace.

        Like observing evolution in fruit flies?

      • Maybe I think that there are two kinds or two levels of content shock – mathematical relations would be interesting πŸ˜‰
        1) You cannot read anything out there, not even anythin that would interest you – like: You will only skim blog posts or scientific papers but at least you know they would be there and that you had made a more ore less conscious choice of neglecting some.
        2) You don’t even have a chance to decide on what to read or not as you only can pick from a pre-defined selection served by algorithms, like: I only see the selection presented to me by LinkedIn (from which I have to choose again) but I totally miss anything else that might have been interesting.

  3. Thanks Gary – A very interesting post. This is unlikely to be completely down to content shock. A lack of consistency in posting, small sample size, seasonal factors, choice of topics and blog titles may all have an impact.
    My most successful blog post is “Why are all tech brands named after fruit?” Surprised this did so well! It’s certainly not easy to predict how people will respond to your content.

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