Does your blog visitors becoming offsite readers worry you? I’m asking because the WordPress.com Reader is becoming the new black and will continue to be fleshed out like a magazine – a magazine with full posts and sharing features, so readers don’t have to bother to click into blogs at all.
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Fair Warning to WordPress.com Reader Lovers
I believe that the WordPress.com Reader is designed to accommodate mobile and tablet users, email subscribers, and to creating page views for WordPress.com. Well, I am a desktop user and I have disabled all email subscriptions so I have time to have a vibrant offline life, while still doing all I can to accommodate mobile and tablet users.
To put my feedreader needs and desires up front and to make it clear that this post borders on a rant, so those who want to read warm and fuzzy stuff can click out now, all I want or need in the WordPress.com Reader is a list of links to the most recent posts published in the last 72 hours on the blogs I choose to follow.
To be clear I would cheerfully accept 55 word teaser text excerpts and a small thumbnail image or thumbnail size video embed as being tolerable inclusions. However, every other feature is in my opinion unnecessary dross (worthless rubbish) that I do not need or want and that annoys me. I could publish a feature by feature critique, including my response to that horrible pop-up box, and having to click the flipping timestamps in the bottom left hand corner to get directly to the post quickly, but I’ll try to stick to just a few worries I have in this post.
Worrying About the WordPress.com Reader
The ongoing development of the WordPress.com Reader is aimed to meet the needs of bloggers using a variety of devices. It provides those who have WordPress.com accounts/Gravatar accounts to be able to log in and read full posts with full access to sharing ie. like, share, reblog and comment features. In other words, those who follow your blog in the Reader (or by email) don’t have to click into the blog and create a page view stat unless they wish to.
The length of the entry sent out on our RSS feed can also be shortened > Settings > Reading by choosing the “summary” setting, rather than the “full text” setting.
To encourage readers to visit their blogs bloggers can insert the more tag into their posts following a brief introduction, or use one of the themes that automatically provides front page excerpts. Note that excerpts only have no effect on mobile users as they can read full posts in the Reader, regardless of the settings we choose to use.
And, there’s a passive aggressive text insertion that appears in the Reader when we choose excerpts. “Sorry, this blog only allows us to show the first section of a post. Read Full Post →” That “Sorry” word in the text insertion following excerpts makes it appear as if WordPress.com may not approve of the choice we made and that’s worrisome, isn’t it?
What annoys me about likes is that we can disable them on our sites but not in the Reader. Does that worry and/or annoy you?
Likes on posts and/or comments, shares, reblogs and follows are not page views. The newest addition is the ability to enable likes on comments > Dashboard > Settings > Sharing. What annoys me about comments likes is that once again we can disable them on our sites but not in the Reader. I’m worried about enabling comment likes because comments are not easy to get, and knowing one’s comment can be judged liked or not may be an obstacle to submitting a comment at all. Does this worry you?
Reblogging and Media
Our content does not belong to WordPress.com but under the Terms of Service we’ve still given WordPress.com the right to use it and that’s where reblogging comes in.
Currently, when a post with the Standard, Aside, Link, Quote, or Status post format contains a video or audio embed, that embed is pulled out and used in the Reader. Otherwise, it uses an image from the post.
If the post has the Gallery or Image post format, a video or audio embed in that post would not be used in the Reader – one or more images would be used instead. When the Reader looks for an image, it goes for the featured image first and then an image inserted into the post — if there are no images that meet the size criteria mentioned above, it will display the image as a thumbnail instead of a large image.
Reblogging a post automatically uploads ALL images in the post to your media library using up your free media storage space. If a blogger sets up a post with multiple images in it and wants only the teaser text and a small thumbnail image to appear in the reblog that’s not possible. Anyone who reblogs the post from the Reader or from email or from the post on the blog winds up with all the images in their Media Library. Both copyright and image space issues could be worrisome.
It seems Staff may be convinced creating a magazine styled Reader will assist us bloggers in creating blog centered communities via off the blog clicking. If the Reader does not perform the function of sending traffic to our blogs then how will readers ever find our older content?
I didn’t choose to buy a premium theme or a custom design upgrade so I don’t have to worry that readers will not click in to see it, but many bloggers did buy one or the other and some bought both.
Bottom line: I’m not convinced that off site activity creates a sense of connection to the blogger or the blog the content was published on, so that is what worries me most of all.
Worry is most often a prideful way of thinking that you have more control over life and its circumstances than you actually do.”
― June Hunt
Addendum: Hat tip to Dave Bennett for prompting me to share even more worries I have been keeping to myself.
Off-site Activity and Stats
When readers don’t have to click into a blog to read a full post which off site activity constitutes creating a page view stat?
Is a remotely clicked like considered to be a page view stat?
Is a remotely clicked share considered to be a page view stat?
How about a remotely clicked reblog? Is it considered to be a page view stat?
Is a remotely clicked follow considered to be a page view stat?
Is a remotely made comment considered to be a page view stat?
When readers read only an excerpt of a blog post in the Reader and do not click into the blog it’s published on, which off site activity they undertake constitutes creating a page view stat?
Your turn: Does this stuff worry you too or am I doing enough worrying for all of us?
UPDATE: These questions have been answered here Off-site Activity and Stats.
UPDATE: Currently the web Reader limits the summary to 200 characters or 25 words, with some adjustment to avoid breaking words or sentences. The iOS Reader uses a similar limit, whereas the Android Reader simply limits the summary to four lines.The title doesn’t count towards this, nor does a featured image impact the cutoff. From a forum thread.