I’m writing a feature about the coolest startups out there.
I’m not interested in the startups with the biggest buzz, billion dollar startup club members, or the newest enterprise from the already-rich business owners. I want your suggestions of the coolest startups you know.
You can leave them in a note, you can tweet them to me, you can get them to me any way you can. They could be a startup you have met, worked for, founded, or just heard about. Just ask yourself: are they cool?
Thank you! It means a lot to me that you’d enjoy it and take the time to come and tell me :)
10pm in a Heathrow airport hotel room. The adventure starts here, but it doesn’t feel like it’s real, like tomorrow I will wake up and go to work as normal, and later laugh about the strange dream.
But this is the really real, and as with any good adventure my life won’t be the same again.
You may have seen shared today a story on what words Google autocomplete suggests for US states.
But what’s more interesting for anyone outside of the USA is what Google suggests for your country.
What does Google suggest you ask about your country? Is it important to the Tudors, particularly hot or curiously cold? What is the most surprising thing you have found asked? Share your responses below.
In the last year, we’ve seen an explosion of clickbait headlines and links.
They started with the obvious-spam ads in the sidebars about “weird tricks” and “secrets” and “tips” for losing weight that (apparently) were almost always about acai berries. Or the tedious ads for hair loss, teeth whitening, muscle gain — always the same format, always something that you “won’t believe”. And you won’t believe them for good reason, because they weren’t true.
Then the idea seemed to go into the mainstream overnight: with the likes of Upworthy, Buzzfeed, Cracked, or a hundred other sites promising to be sharing the hottest viral content, wheeling out the clickbait headlines with every story. It wasn’t enough to be descriptive or interesting, everything needed a teaser and hyperbole.
But in case you were wondering how effective these kinds of headlines are, Quartz reports:
Researchers at BI Norwegian Business School found that tweeted headlines containing questions got an average of 150% more clicks than ones that were just statements. And when researchers included self-referencing words (“you,” for example), the increase rose to 175%.
That’s what’s making a difference here: include a question and you get 150% more clicks. Include the word “you” and you’re up to 175%. It doesn’t even stop there:
The second study tested four products for sale on a Norwegian e-commerce site, and found that self-referential questions (“Is this your new iPhone 4?”) could actually increase clicks by as much as 300%. Even when they averaged the four items the net effect was a mean boost of 257%.
So that’s up to 300% more clicks than a headline with just a statement? No wonder we can’t get away from clickbait.
I have some questions, though. These studies tell us that clicks increase, that much is obvious: but on the e-commerce site did sales also increase 300%? Was the number significant? And on sites that use clickbait headlines, while more people might click through to the story, do they stay on the site longer? Visit other pages? Watch the whole video?
I wrote recently about the story on Viralnova “What He Found In this Abandoned Nursing Home Is Amazing. I’d Never Expect It There”: and how the headline was unimaginative for a story about graffiti in an abandoned building. The graffiti was both amazing and unexpected, but I feel like the headline could have been better written: Why not: “Check out the amazing art found in an abandoned nursing home” or if we want to try the Norwegian way “Is this artwork what you would expect to find in an abandoned nursing home?”
I trained as a news journalist, back in the days when such a thing as “formal training” was still considered necessary to be successful, and we still got press releases by fax. Even before then, I loved words. I love thinking about words, I love choosing words. I like using Twitter for the challenge of writing something engaging and worth reading in 140 characters without resorting to “txt spk”.
I think we can find a middle ground here: engaging, interesting, even descriptive headlines that don’t have to promise you what you won’t believe, or can’t imagine.