Spreading Accurate Information In the Social Media Age

Put your most critical info right up in your byline or first sentence if you want your message to come across on social media. I was inspired to write this post after having a discussion about this problem on Facebook after a friend posted a link and people started reacting based on the headline and not the point which was buried way at the bottom of the article. This isn’t a new problem on social media, but highlighting the problem doesn’t solve it. We have to change the way we write to make sure our message gets across as we intend.

See what I did up there? My website shows the headline and a bit of the first paragraph, and I know anyone who posts the link on a social media network like Facebook will see the same. I wanted to be sure my message got across even if someone doesn’t click through and read it here.

This isn’t the way we’re taught to write. As any high school student can tell you, a thesis statement is most often found towards the end of the first paragraph and/or at the conclusion of the piece. This is fine when you’re reading a full paper. But on social media, it’s a sure way to guarantee people don’t see the most critical piece of your writing: your argument, or main point. But in the age of social media, we need to ensure our messages aren’t lost because of style. The old newspaper adage is “Don’t bury the lede.” In the social media age, the new adage should be “Don’t bury your point.”