Monday, February 8, 2010

Ode to the New York Times Most Emailed.

I have often wondered what makes some New York Times so popular - drives them up the most email list. More narcissistically, I have sometimes wondered if I have my finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist of at least those subset of us who are New York Times readers - I email a few articles a week, and they are almost invariably on that list. Could the New York Times just pay me to select the ten articles everyday which the most people will want to read? Yes, clearly.

Taking a turn for the meta, the New York Times blesses us with an article about a study analyzing which articles tend to end up on the most emailed list. I don't want to spoil any surprises, but articles that are about something awe-inspiring, often involving science, articles with emotional content, and longer articles are emailed. I could have told them that I end up emailing any article about Turkmenistan, references to people I know in the third degree or closer, immigration, particularly crazy Jews, or which contains slide shows of lovely houses I would buy if I won the lotto. I don't know how these rules end up producing the same list as 'most awe inspiring' but there you go.

Slight postscript - there are topics which I read religiously about but don't blog about, and only sometimes email, because I assume that my friends who are interested have already read them, and I would bore my 12 blog readers away superquick.