Being a blogger often means trying new things and being on the cutting edge of new blogging technologies and trends. So what should we do when some people love a given trend and some people hate it?
Let’s talk slideshows posts. If you are somehow unfamiliar with this format, you can check out the three I’ve made thus far here:
- My Top Ten Sex Books
- The Best of Adult Sex Ed Month 2016
- Sex Shouldn’t Be About “Getting Away with It” (But Here’s Why It Is)
You’ll notice, if you actually clicked over, that two out of three of them have at least one negative comment about the format of the post, if not. I’ve grown accustomed to people having what I’ll politely call diverging opinions about my writing, but usually it’s focused on the content or on me. The former is fine, since as a sex educator and scholar I sometimes report on provocative topics; the latter, less so (because if you feel the need to personally attack the author to make your point, I suspect that your point sucks).
Here’s the thing: bloggers are generally encouraged to find ways to increase our page views. This works differently on different sites, but there’s usually reason due to advertising, or ideal clicks-per-visit, or whatever. Slideshow posts are one way to accomplish that. Having multi-part posts, where each click takes you to a new post, but the content is still sequential, would do the same thing. I’m always looking for ways to break up longer posts, since as an academic I can get pretty wordy, and I’m also willing to give new blogging styles and technologies a try.
However, I’m honestly baffled as to all the hate that slideshow posts are getting, and that’s part of the reason I’m making this post: to inquire, in the spirit of ethnography, about people’s experiences with a thing. Maybe it’s just that I don’t mind slideshow posts terribly much as a reader? I’ve been known to click through ones that look interesting to me, or ones that promise to succinctly present information that makes sense to have pictures alongside it (I may have spent a trip to CVS browsing such a slideshow post on my phone in order to figure out which cheap mascara to buy as a stand-in til I can get my favorite high-end brand again).
So, in my mind, slideshow posts are not inherently awful, and perhaps even useful/amusing, when they fulfill the following criteria:
- Instantly recognizable as such (so no one feels tricked/betrayed upon learning that they have to keep clicking through to get the rest of the content)
- Promising relevant or very entertaining information that you wouldn’t necessarily find elsewhere
- Listing information that… actually makes sense in a list (like book reviews or product reviews)
What do you think about all this? Would you read suuuuuuper long posts all in one go, or would I lose readers before I get to whatever awesome point I’m making? Should really long posts just become multi-partners when they get above, say, 1,000 words?
On the plus side, the Patheos Atheist channel has a new blog, Damned Interesting, devoted entirely to slideshow posts. So when I get the itch to write one, I can post it over there and not subject y’all to it. I will probably still publish one slideshow post a month or thereabouts here, but I’ll make sure it’s clearly labeled and super relevant, so people can either avoid it or seek it out only when they want that specific information.
Feel free to delve into your reasons for disliking slideshow posts in the comments – again, I’m interested in what people think about this topic! And to wrap up, I would like to point out that I was tempted to make this post into a slideshow post out of spite, but decided not to. Three cheers for self-restraint! (that, and I appreciate y’all who are regular readers, so I promise to only troll you if it’s truly hilarious)