This story has been read… What’s behind the numbers

About the new counter

We’ve seen them listed on media articles. 1k, 2k shares. What does that mean? Studies show a majority of people share stories on social media they haven’t read. According to the reports, 1k shares means 400 reads, at best. The majority, 60-70%, don’t even click the link.

Same goes for comments. Mostly made only on headlines. Repeat for ‘likes’.

Why doesn’t America read anymore, asked NPR (who did an April’s fools prank to prove the point).

It got us thinking. On Pythom, there are no buttons for shares or likes. So which stories does our community go to when not guided by groupthink?

To find out, we set up the new counter. The numbers you see register not the views you get by people just coming by for a general visit. They are actual clicks with time spent on the story.

It’s interesting.

The top read story over the past few months, was an Ueli Steck editorial (5k reads).

No matter how hard we try to promote other peaks though, Everest continues to have the biggest pull. Even a crappy update during Everest season trumped cool ascents elsewhere.

Another case in point: The Cho Oyu North Face interview had close to 2k reads, but an interview with a commercial expedition in Everest base camp doubled the numbers (3,5 k).

Unique stories from the polar areas attract, and so do list of expeditions and general updates on teams status and whereabouts.

Some results are hard to explain: The 2 most popular items since launch are products (a solar panel, 7k, and a commercial Everest outfit – 13 k!). A Greenland ski world record (6 k) took another top spot though, while stories such as stealing the Amazon (5 k) indicate readers are into efforts to bust foul play.

Pending topic, season, and time passed since posting, a Pythom article generates an average of 200 (low season) to 2000 (high season) reads. Notice also how short, but relevant updates can spark more engagement than some of the most elaborate ones.

Speaking of relevance. On FB, a posting is seen only by around 1 in 10 people. So your story will reach only so many of your friends, including your dentist and his sister. The top bar on Pythom shows who will read your story here: Adventure people you may know, or maybe would like to know.

One small alert: In mainstream media, tabloids get more clicks and comments than most serious outlets. Most read doesn’t mean most interesting or most important. This is probably how Lars and Johnny (+1 k) overtook Honnold’s free solo of El Cap (+300).

Proceed with caution. Hunt with the tigers, not the sheep.

More tricks pulled by social media: Each time you log in somewhere – anywhere – with your Facebook login, FB counts this as a FB visit. Instagram list clicks as likes. And here’s the latest involving Facebook’s snapchat clone.


Editorial: No Escaping Facebook