Are you looking for quality content? Originality and fresh new perspectives? Well then look for things, which are unpopular and hard to find. Things, which you do not normally find on the first Google search result page . Popular things are usually stupid and simplistic and here is why. In this article I will not talk about alternative measurements of Intelligence and accept IQ as somewhat reliable assessment of one’s mental acuity. I know this is not entirely true but that’s a discussion for another time.
Lowest common denominator, the science of stupid
First of all we have to understand what is average IQ.
“Approximately 95% of the population have scores within two standard deviations (SD) of the mean. If one SD is 15 points, as is common in almost all modern tests, then 95% of the population are within a range of 70 to 130, and 98% are below 131. Alternatively, two-thirds of the population have IQ scores within one SD of the mean, i.e. within the range 85-115.” -Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_quotient#Modern_tests
Therefor the mathematical average IQ is 100 . But beware! Economic factors strongly influence intelligence and most people are living in in developing countries, plus they have the highest fertility rate and in many developed country there is a negative population growth. Therefore the expected Bell curve is distorted. Currently the mean IQ of the world is 88.49 ! - Source: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/IQ/1950-2050/
Most of my visitors are from developed countries, from Europe and North America to be exact and therefore their average IQ is more than likely follow a normal distribution. With an average slightly over 100 IQ. If my average visitor were to have a tee and a friendly chat with the average IQ-d man , he would undoubtedly find him charming but naive and he would definitely notice, that he is not the brightest apple in the bunch with an IQ of 88.49.
You could say that the average man on the planet does not have internet access and therefore it does not matter, you are right for now. Currently the global internet penetration according to the International Telecommunication Union shows the following :
|World population||6.6 billion||7.0 billion|
|a Share of regional population. b Estimate.-Source:International Telecommunication Union http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/statistics/at_glance/keytelecom.html|
So with a simple calculation we estimate, that the average internet user has an IQ score of a bit above 95 currently.
Not too bad and it means you are within a much more elite and smarter company than the offline world -as hard it is to believe-. But by the time half of the developing world is wired (sometimes before 2020 , the date varies depending on the source and thedifferent methods of calcualtion) the average IQ sinks to an astounding 92! Significant decrease indeed. It is only a
rough estimate since the Flynn effect predicts,that the global IQ will constantly increase, however such increase is mostly observed so far in developed countries, whether this changes over time remains to be seen. Therefore I did not calculate with it.
Business of stupidity, come in the marketer
This is when business comes in! Imagine you are the marketing manager of a busy website, which publishes content in many categories and appeals to a wide audience and you are tasked with increasing the traffic. You have quality content, educated intelligent writers/contributors and you have high standards. The logical step in this case is to try to find the lowest common denominator of your target audience since specialization in a niche would result in significantly less traffic. If you are an English website you have to adjust your content to a global audience. Right now the average IQ of the online global audience is, as discussed 95. From a mathematical point of view if you want to maximize the potential visibility of content you have engage in the prostitution of content. You have to go one standard deviation below the average IQ so that 95% of your visitors will fall into the defined category. This gives us 80 IQ score, just 10 points above mental retardation! By 2020 it will be 77. How scary is that?
Your content is manufactured, the prostitution of content
Indeed but for retards and sadly it is true. I’m not the only one, who knows about this, believe me. It is already bad and it’s only getting worse. If you want to be popular you better get your articles proofread by retards and it’s not even a joke. As much as 70% of all the content published on online Blogs are written by a team an not one individual (estimate based on my experience working in online media) and more than likely that team has at least one marketing professional. So next time if you think to yourself, that this website feels like it was made for retards, then probably you are right.
Feeding the monster, long-term repercussions of good marketing
If it’s wasn’t enough it is a well known fact, that higher IQ individuals are experiencing a temporary drop in their IQ if they are within the company of lower IQ individuals for a long period. Although this effect is only temporary and has only been proven for offline interactions under great stress. I hope it does not apply to online interactions as well, the possible implications scare me! Sadly I think it does. So one long-term consequence of good marketing/content management is possibly a horde of near retarded imbeciles. A thought to scary to contemplate. I believe one of the biggest challenge in the world of online marketing is how to solve this conundrum.
There is a solution however for you the visitor and for you the marketing professional as well. For you dear visitor the solution is really simple just take your time searching for quality, independent, trustworthy content and avoid websites, which try to appeal to everyone. Probably you could look into Google’s advanced search operators. It couldn’t hurt.
For you dear marketing professional things are not as easy but you probably used to it by now. I will write an article detailing ways on how to get more traffic while still avoiding this trap of dumbing down, the trap of the lowest common denominator. Once it’s done I will link it here. UPDATE: As promised: http://simonsblogpark.com/personal/quality-over-quantity-the-marketing-of-quality-and-content-marketing/