It's a little-known fact ... er ... terribly-kept secret ... that certain key words and subjects are "Page View Gold" in the online world. Yesterday there was a perfect storm: Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods and the subject of sex. Seriously, about the only thing better would be crafting a headline that included a joint venture between Joe Mauer and Brett Favre that somehow involved Tom Petters news (and, also, sex would still help).
That said, these items are often a push-pull. Many people declare they are "tired" of hearing about person X or Y, yet the discussion and page views tell us a ton of people feel differently. This can lead to some shady practices, such as stacking headlines with key words or names in order to get people to read, when really the content is much ado about nothing.
(We hope we are doing so ironically with this post's headline, though the page views will be completely literal).
When people say they are sick and tired of hearing about Brett Favre, Tiger Woods, steroids or whatever, what do they really mean? That the story is being overblown? That they have reached some sort of capacity to care and no longer wish to know anything about the subject? That they see through the game and know we are just shoveling out anything with a key name or word in it to get people to read? And what to make of people who click on stories only to question the news value of them in the comments?
Also: Does knowing so much specific information about what people are reading and not reading (via page views, unique visitors, etc.) unfairly tilt our judgment and lead us to produce more of the same stories? Seriously, in a way, every post we put up on RandBall is a sort of readership survey.
And: Stories/posts about Brett Favre, Joe Mauer, Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods ... anyone else ... do you tune out completely, tune in completely, try to gauge the value from the headline, does it depend on your mood, etc.? We're just curious. We promise we won't use it against you.