endangered species?

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Does this bear photo attract a glance or entice you to read the post below?

The odds of you reading this sentence are slim. The odds of you reading to the end of this post are incredibly small. Why? It seems like actual readers on the Internet are becoming an endangered species – unlike the bears in Banff National Park.

People may read headlines and quickly scan – they might even take a second or two to stop for a photo of a bear. But actually read an entire article or post? Not so much. Or maybe its just my blog!

I had to laugh about one study that showed that there was no relationship between the number of retweets an article received and the number of people who read it. I wish I had remembered to copy the link but I must have been scanning the article. Twitter does that to me too, apparently, despite being a casual user.

From the perspective of a writer, I find this all a bit sad. Thankfully it’s not all bad news in the words department. While all this intensive non-reading is happening, there is an army of bloggers whose words continue to flow around the world. Not only do these people write blogs but they read entire posts and comment on them. It’s like a counter culture rising up against the tide.

Here’s to all you readers who made it to the end of 228 words.

Hello? Anyone?

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Latest Comments

  1. Stefano says:

    Sadly, a very good point. Since my posts (at least the non-photography related ones) are *much* longer than 228 words, it is even worse on my blog! 😉 But hey, the way I see it is with lots of philosophy: you do end up having a handful of readers who are actually interested in what you write and some who stumble upon your writings while googling the subject you write about. And that, in my view, is enough to keep us going.
    Beautiful shot as always: I just love the expression that you captured on that bear’s face! 🙂

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      As usual you are spot on in your assessment. I have concluded I am much happier to have fewer readers who are genuinely interested than many who quickly drift through.

      Glad you liked the bear. You should have seen how excited I was to find it! I can’t imagine the thrill of seeing your polar bears.

      Like

  2. New Hampshire Garden Solutions says:

    I wanted to find out why that bear looked so well groomed!
    Maybe it’s just bloggers who read all the way to the end. I’ll have to be kinder to the ones who make it through my long winded posts.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I spent a lot of time grooming that bear before the shot so I’m happy you noticed:) It certainly seems like bloggers do a substantial part of the reading blog posts. I appreciate you reading and commenting.

      Like

  3. soonie2 says:

    I’m here…and I read this to the end and I love your bear! Forgive me for not always commenting…I do read your blog but try to limit my time on the internet.

    Like

  4. Dalo 2013 says:

    For me, there is something to have words accompany a photo ~ it is refreshing to have my take on the photos and then read what the photographer has to say. Not many do that… Well done!

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I’m pleased to hear you say that. It’s obviously a lot more work to add text but I’m drawn to doing it. Then again I’m the kind of person who likes the see the movie before reading the review so I know what the writer is talking about. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Like

  5. Outlier Babe says:

    I skipped all the comments today because I am so far behind in reading the blogs I DO follow. First, there very few readers who read beyond a low elementary school level. High school and above vocabulary baffles them. Thus (and even words like “thus” throw the average “reader” of today) you are going for a tiny audience. Next, most of the more literate readers are writing their own blogs, while working full-time, and trying to have a social life. Their time is limited. Then, the younger ones often have the attention-span of a gnat. They were not raised on books and reading. And now that posts advertise the number of words, folks like me, who write longer posts, are even more quickly consigned to the “eh” heap.

    The bloggers who write thoughtful posts–we are all in contention for the same small pool of readers, in a mutual admiration/competition society. It’s an odd relationship, and only the fastest readers with the fastest thoughts and fingers can keep up–for you are expected to actively read and post on the other members’ blogs as quickly as their posts appear.

    The best, from my perspective, is to view your blog as YOUR blog–your thoughts, your diary–and, if someone else takes interest or joy or help from that, how wonderful!

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      You certainly provided an interesting perspective on the state of today’s literacy and blogging. I didn’t realize I was in the “eh” heap but I will have to remember that. With the world’s information flow increasing so rapidly and readership declining, it will be fascinating to see where it all leads and how we will be affected.

      After going through my own blogging journey, I have come to the same conclusion as you. My blogs are comprised of the photos and writing that I would want to see and read. It is something I enjoy and I’m thrilled if others come along for the ride.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thots. It is the mark of a writer.

      Like

  6. Scott Marshall says:

    there is no echoes in heeeeeeeeeeeeeere

    Like

  7. Terry Brown says:

    Good bear photos always brighten my day. I have noticed the lack of reading on the internet as well. Seems like it is especially bad if there is a photo to accompany the writing. Most people do not read all of the words around a photo. Seems too easy for people to jump to a conclusion than to come to an educated one, however There is light at the end of the tunnel if you persist. Keep up the wonderful blog and “readers” will continue to follow.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Seeing a bear like this brightens even more. Yes sometimes it’s hard for words to compete with photos for attention spans but I keep trying. I appreciate your encouraging words.

      Like

  8. 2wheels2lanes1camera says:

    That’s why compelling writing, especially headlines and lead-ins are so essential. Then, the other trigger for a writer to include is just what you did — ask a question at the end with an easy to respond opportunity for the reader.

    Like

  9. anotherday2paradise says:

    Fantastic shot, Lyle. Yes, I read all 228 words. I was even tempted to count them, just to make sure you got it right. 😆

    Like

  10. whichwaynow101 says:

    HELLLOOO! You tricked me! I thought your lovely bears were the endangered species so I had to read your post! 🙂

    Like

  11. Ad-libbed says:

    Given that I read the title and the photo caption as well, I’ve just elevated myself to the elite “245” club. 🙂

    To be honest, Lyle, I’ve always thought you achieve a very nice balance between words and photos…just the right amount of each. I’m a long-winded writer, so I’m always impressed with bloggers who can make an impact through bevity, and even more impressed by bloggers who read through to the end of my stuff.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Nothing says elite like 245. Well done.
      I appreciate your comment on the balance – it is something I have worked hard to achieve partly because I know the limits of my own attention span. And yet you keep me reading. Go figure.

      Like

  12. parth893 says:

    Hello 🙂 nice moment captured ❤ yes 😛 i agree with you …….. every word 🙂 true

    Like

  13. hannele says:

    Hello! I always read through your posts, but often I just scan through other articles I’ve opened. There’s so much stuff on the internet and so little time… 🙂

    Like

  14. Pam says:

    Read it all. Well said!

    Like

  15. Lavinia Ross says:

    I do read your posts, and you have a lot of stunning photographs I admire. I’m relatively new at blogging, but whether people read or just scan posts seems to follow what I see in happening in life in general. Way too much information out there to wade through in this digital age. Life moves too fast for most of us, and priorities sometimes need to shift. You have a great blog. Keep posting!

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Those are good observations about the information overload we face. It’s sometimes difficult to keep up with our priorities or even chose them properly. I’m happy to hear that you enjoy my posts. I hope to continue.

      Like

  16. krikitarts says:

    It’s (sort of) nice to know that I belong to an endangered species, but a great relief to see that, considering your other followers who have commented, I have lots of company after all. Love the bear’s little smirky smile!

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Sometimes it seems that despite how different we are, we still end up in good company. I have always held people who read in high regard. The bear’s expression just makes me smile.

      Like

  17. midtownmobilevet says:

    As the Who’s in Whoville said to Horton “we are here, we are here, we are here”

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      What an awesome response! Tip of the hat to you.

      Like

      • midtownmobilevet says:

        It is very interesting. I have recently taken over social media duties for two very well known animal conservationists. When posting to their respective facebook pages, and trying to educate people on the plight of the wildlife, the usual response is “awww, how cute, I want one”, even though the post is about saving habitat so these animals can roam free. NOBODY READS ANYTHING!!

        Like

  18. Steve Boer says:

    Read it all, Lyle and I know what you mean. I once put up a post that included a poll. It got quite a few views and likes, but not a single poll answer…

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Sometimes blogging is not for the feint of heart. So many people have mourned the disconnect between the amount of effort and the response. Yet still we preserve at least for a season because we have something to say.

      Like

  19. nliakos says:

    I’m here and I read to the end. But that’s the way I “read” newspaper articles most of the time…the beginning, maybe skim the rest. Your blog posts are always worth reading. In addition, they are very short! Love this bear’s beautiful brown eye(s).

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Glad to have you here and pleased you find my posts worth reading. I discipline myself to keep the blog posts short to match my reading attention span. That bear made for one of those magic moments when it finally gave me a clear view.

      Like

  20. janina says:

    Because I receive so few comments, I’ve reached the stage where I am now removing the ability to comment from most of my Pages and a lot of my future posts and only leaving the Like-ability and Share buttons. As to your bear pic, I liked it the moment I saw it in my Reader — he/she has a very friendly face, is probably a juvenile male, as it seems the females are the ones who look discouragingly at you! (have I got that wrong?) and I wanted to read what you had to say. Frankly, I’ve never really been too concerned about comments and I too just Like posts I read via the WP Reader, saves time and bandwidth. Occasionally I will comment, as now.

    Often I don’t bother reading any post fully if I can see it is more than, say, 200 words. Most bloggers have a very short attention span and that includes not wanting to read reams of writing. As a photographer, I’m not interested in the writing, only the photos, that’s it pure and simple! Sorry! But, then, I’m Following you as your photography is superb!

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I’m pleased to hear you enjoy my photography. As for the bear’s gender, it sounds like you may know more than I. All I know for sure was that I was thrilled to find him.

      We all have to make choices on where we choose to spend our time reading since there is so much. It makes sense as a photographer that would focus on photos. We all have our particular word reading limits and I’ve always thot it was important for writers to use as few as possible to make the best use of the readers’ time.

      Like

  21. Dana S. Hugh says:

    Not the bear is the glue in your case (not my favorite animal), however I must admit you are spoken the truth for a majority. Usually I try to avoid those blogs with lines when I’m in a “rush” or I’m being superficial. I do click “like” without visitig the page’s blog… just for photo and thinking… there is nothing else behind…so I confess I’m guilty for that!
    On the other way, in this huge sea of creativity if we go wide eyes opened, we do nothing else that reading masterpieces or garbage like some news…

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      With so much material available it is difficult determine what is worth reading sometimes. I too skim at times in my search for something amusing or significant. As a blogger I hope to earn the readers’ trust by posting quality but sometimes that is in the eye of the beholder. Appreciate your comments.

      Like

  22. vanbraman says:

    Of course I read to the end of your posts, but I know that many of my readers do not read to the end of my posts. I sometimes add a teaser in the first sentence to get them to read further. I also know that many people simply see that I posted and hit the like button and never visit the post. Blog stats definitely don’t give the whole picture.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Happy to hear that. I’m with you on the blog stats – they often weave a confusing tale. I have decided to post what I like and go from there.

      Like

  23. geoffers says:

    Could you tell me in a couple of sentences what preceded the first paragraph? I needed to go like my next blog before I could finish this one. 😉

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Not to worry you didn’t miss anything! Funny!
      In an earlier draft of this post I considered asking people to not like this post just as a test. But then I decided maybe I better not. It would have been amusing.

      Like

  24. Mandy says:

    Made it – phew! Yours is one of the blogs I not only read word for word, but genuinely look forward to every email notification. Good post by the way.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      It’s the writers with the great endurance to make it to the end! Happy to hear that you look forward to the email notification – that puts the pressure on. I got this crazy idea for this post and I’m pleasantly surprised that you and others seem to enjoy it.

      Like

  25. Alison says:

    Not only do I read every word of every post to the end, but I look forward to seeing them in my inbox–an email that I can’t wait to open and see what a fine post you have crafted. Keep writing. It looks like there are lots of us reading!

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I’m happy to hear that you consider the email a good one. I’ll keep scribbling away and see what happens. I appreciate the comments. It’s been good to connect.

      Like

  26. Gunta says:

    Still reading your posts to the end because they are funny, interesting and informative… not to mention the fantastic images. However, I have seriously been working on cutting down on the number of posts I follow because there seem to be a limited number of hours in each day…. o

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Glad you still are amused and entertained. It is a challenge to decide what to prioritize in a limited timeframe – there is simply so much out there.

      Like

  27. toughlittlebirds says:

    Still here! Although I definitely am more likely to regularly check a blog if it has more pictures. Just like a 4-year-old, I guess…

    Like

  28. dapontephotography says:

    Yep I made it!
    Some recent studies say the current average attention span is about 10-seconds so that explains the popularity of vines video. The other thing is carefully watch a current movie the camera shots typically last, yep you guessed it between 6-10 Seconds. So it is not just reading it is even movies that we are skimming through.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Happy to hear you endured to the end!
      Interesting studies. The irony is our collective attention spans keep getting shorter as the amount of accessible information increases. It will be interesting to see where it all leads.

      Like

      • janina says:

        “…where it leads.” — I think we will all become much more selective in what we look at and read and comment on. Everything we see influences us; for me that means I want to spend time only looking at the really good photography — rubbish in, rubbish out. As to the number of Followers I have and the number of visits/comments/Likes I receive on my posts doesn’t compute! I’ve taken the view that perhaps this Follow business is just about showing a bit of respect for the Followee, a way to say they like your work, and that’s it!

        Like

        • Lyle Krahn says:

          Focusing on the best definitely makes sense. As for followers – I can’t figure out that one either. If someone follows me without a like or comment, I’m not sure what to think.

          Like

          • janina says:

            LOL. Your last sentence, I think that happens, as I do it myself, when someone is looking through your archive and likes what they see! 😉

            Like

  29. Michelle at The Green Study says:

    I’d read every single post with a bear picture in it to the very end. Or raptors. I love those owls. But maybe not a snake. Likely I’d skim that post.
    Seriously, I stopped looking at stats a long time ago. Half the time they don’t make any sense and the other half are confusing. As a longer form writer, I’ve found that I’ve drawn readers who are more thoughtful, which makes for richer dialogue, albeit fewer “hits”.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I’m with you on your choice of animals though I have this love/hate thing going with snakes.
      I’ve been around the bend and back again on stats and not a whole lot wiser. Like you, I post about the things I’m interested in and enjoy the company that comes along for the ride.

      Like

  30. janemwoodman says:

    The bear is SMILING! That said, I’ve noticed something similar with my blog. I mix very short poetry with sonnets and other longer forms and a few times a week, a piece of longer prose. The most “likes” show up on the very short poems, as if it isn’t worth even clicking on the longer ones that don’t all show on the little bit on the reader. Sad. The sonnets, especially, take time and thought to construct.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      And I was smiling when I was taking the photo!
      If there is a magic formula for what kind of post will draw the most attention, I have yet to discover it. Many other bloggers have noted that the response is often inversely related to the amount of effort they put into it. I have come to the conclusion that it’s best to post what I enjoy and if others enjoy it, that’s a bonus.

      Like

  31. Steve Gingold says:

    What? Were you saying something? 🙂
    I generally read the entire post…especially if I am going to comment. Might look like a fool otherwise. Besides, if someone is going to take the time to write something then it is only polite to read the whole thing. OTOH, you may have noticed that my posts are rather short. 😀
    Nice image…I really like the clarity of the bear’s eye and that is a very supple nose.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Not to worry, I think I was just mumbling something!
      Yes there’s nothing quite like getting all the facts before brandishing a comment.
      That supple nose almost makes you want to feel it but not quite. Glad you liked my friend.

      Like

  32. Phil Lanoue says:

    Where did you take this bear photo?
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    Ha! There it is, BNP, first paragraph.
    I made it all the way, but I was hoping for more of a payoff with possibly hysterical joke at the end though.
    Terrific bear shot in any case.

    Like

  33. Mjollnir says:

    Hallie Ludger, I made it! 😀

    Like

  34. Victor Rakmil says:

    Definitely made it to the end, as I do whenever I read your clever essays. But I take the point the longer the text on my blog the less readership, but if its too short no visitors, just views.

    Like

  35. caleephotography says:

    If it’s interesting or funny I always read it all, and your posts are always both. 🙂 Nice pic too!

    Like

  36. Dick Trew says:

    So… let’s see if I got it right–the letter “B” (as in “bear”) for the barely literate?

    Like

  37. Mr Bennett Kent says:

    Wonderful words and a superb picture! Made it to the end, no problem 😉 Looking forward to more!

    Like

  38. outdoorpictures says:

    Hi Lyle, you raise a good point. Do you read and comment on other blogs as frequently as you expect for your own?

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Interesting question though I don’t think the assumption is quite right. I strive to put together posts that are good enough, interesting enough or amusing enough to elicit comments. Sometimes it works well, sometimes not so well. I only expect people will comment if they enjoy the post. I use the same approach when I’m commenting – sometimes people comment back, sometimes they don’t. People have different interests and I accept that. I expect that I generally provide more comments than I receive but I’m certainly not keeping score. It has be stay fun for me since it’s only a hobby. What are your thots?

      Like

  39. Mike Bizeau says:

    Lyle, you have words worth reading and too bad for those that choose not to read them.

    Like

  40. Sue says:

    I read every word of some…that are with reading, like yours. Others, not as much. Quality counts for my time investment. Keep them coming, Lyle!

    Like

  41. Sue (Mac's Girl) says:

    The picture is awesome! And the words certainly worth reading, all the way to the end.

    Like

  42. Intrepid Explorer says:

    I DO read words and I DO enjoy your pictures! Keep ’em coming. L.

    Like

  43. Seenorway says:

    Hello, Lyle, I’m still here . . . 😀

    Like

  44. MJF Images says:

    Every last word. And boy was that an effort!

    Like

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