Oslo, Norway—The Norwegian Broadcasting Company (NRK) may have just cracked the code for preventing countless ignorant online quarrels. The broadcaster’s tech arm, NRKbeta, launched a new tool on its site last month that requires would-be commenters to pass a multiple-choice quiz before posting any feedback on their articles. The site’s editor Marius Arnesen claims that NRKbeta “typically has a good comment section with dedicated readers,” but sometimes “featured articles on the NRK homepage can generate a lot of unsavory threads.”
Inspired by that insight, the team created this front-end filter to do two brilliant things. First, it acts as a tollgate to ensure that users have actually read the article and understood it. Second, it creates the space for potential ranters to pause and take a breath in hopes that any amygdala-hijacks can dissipate before fingers pound the keyboard to draft any tirades.
Why This Matters—
While it’s too early to tell if this approach is the silver bullet NRKbeta and countless others have been hoping for, it can serve as inspiration to many. It’s a clever way to preempt the challenges that we specifically noted in our 2017 Trend entitled Push It. When our publication hit last fall, we pointed out that the human tendency towards knee-jerk reactions has reached a fever pitch online:
We’re living in an era of mindless sharing. Or, at least one of “affinity sharing.” The big number: 6 of 10 articles shared in social media have never actually been read. Instead, people form a near-instant opinion based on the headline or summary. Rather than going deeper, they push the content to friends and connections to underscore a particular point of view. In 2017 look for more publishers, institutions and brands to take advantage of this new way news is circulated with sharebait that leads with one headline but delivers another perspective entirely.
By combining the insights from this larger trend and using NRKbeta’s tactic as a case study, healthcare brands can be well-informed as they approach the potential pitfalls of social marketing.