Recent quotes:

AB testing headlines

When a Dose post is created, it initially appears under as many as two dozen different headlines, distributed at random. Whereas one person’s Facebook news feed shows a link to “You Won’t Believe What This Guy Did with an Abandoned Factory,” another person, two feet away, might see “At First It Looks Like an Old Empty Factory. But Go Inside and . . . WHOA.” Spartz’s algorithm measures which headline is attracting clicks most quickly, and after a few hours, when a statistically significant threshold is reached, the “winning” headline automatically supplants all others. “I’m really, really good at writing headlines,” he told me. “But any human’s intuition can only be so good. If you can build a machine that can solve the problem better than you can, then you really understand the problem.”

Headline homogeny

When you can’t tell a Gawker headline from a Slate headline from a Vox headline from a Buzzfeed headline from an Upworthy headline, there’s something wrong.
The researchers also found evidence for what they call "inverted-U" behavior. That's the tendency of curiosity to be greatest at some mid-point between ignorance and wisdom--the peak of the inverted U. "The fact that curiosity increases with uncertainty (up to a point) suggests that a small amount of knowledge can pique curiosity and prime the hunger for knowledge, much as an olfactory or visual stimulus can prime a hunger for food," they concluded in a 2008 issue of Psychological Science.
a closer examination of what people are sharing via Twitter reveals that the platform often serves as a flag alerting followers to longer form content. Rather than replacing articles and other long-form features, Twitter is often used to promote them – providing a 140-character tip of the iceberg that points to the rich content experience lurking below the surface.
Search over-optimisation on other sites gave Peretti an opportunity. "You can make a crap article that's perfectly SEO'd and generates a lot of traffic, but you can't call that a win if it gives people a bad experience. In the SEO era, getting readers was about smart tricks. We think differently -- what need does a story play in someone's life? When you're having a rough day at work and see '13 Simple Steps To Get You Through A Rough Day', that's servicing an emotional need: look at this hedgehog wearing a tiny hat -- you feel better, you share it with your friends."