• Michael Weeding

What does Cher and an Iceberg have in common?

This week has been a busy one for Cher’s and her fans, the news of her death would have come as a shock to many, but it would have been more of a shock to Cher herself considering she was very much alive and well. No, this was not one of those fake Twitter celebrity deaths that have been common over the past 2 years, the hashtag that caused many to panic #nowthatcherisdead was real. The only problem was that this was more about Margaret Thatcher than it was about Cher. So once the confusion was cleared up thanks to Rick Gervais tweeting, “It’s ‘Now Thatcher’s dead’. Not, ‘Now that Cher’s dead’”, fans could move on and get on with their day.

Now what the hell does that all have to do with an Iceberg? Well just as there is more to an Iceberg than meets the eye, there is usually more to every piece of content that is shared across social media than what you absorb. The problem that was identified by Jakob Nielson back in 2008 is that consumers only read 18% of the content that is presented across the web and he determined that people don’t read very much, often scanning text instead of really reading it. The reason, when we are consuming content through the web there are just too many distractions such as email notifications and pop-ups of new replies on Twitter than we have when we are reading traditional forms of media such as newspapers and magazines.

Now for those who engage regularly through social media this mix up has not done anyone any favours with many using this as the evidence they needed to prove once and for all that there is no intelligent human life on the Internet. To avoid this happening again the key message from the commentary of experts has focused on the importance of choosing the right hashtag when promoting a story across Twitter. But the reality is that before you draw any conclusions from the content that you read and share it may be advisable to explore further than the tip of the Iceberg, you may be amazed by what more you will find. I guess those who shared the news of Cher’s death without looking more into it are now wishing they could really turn back time.


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