Life After Publish: A World Beyond Post and Pray

"More people meant more ideas, greater densities meant that ideas could spread more readily… These developments increased the rate of growth of economic productivity and technological." — Nick Bostrom

We are witnessing an unprecedented change in the way ideas are discovered, created, and spread. The infrastructure for ideas and content to reach audiences at speed and scale today is unlike anything we've ever seen before. Nick Bostrom illustrated the explosion in population and production beautifully in his excellent book titled "SuperIntelligence: Paths, Danger, Strategies."


What's making all this growth possible is not just how many people are alive to create and discover ideas, but population density itself. The densities are what allow for the emergence of ideas, breeding, and sorting grounds that tap the hive mind.

The internet has allowed for an explosion of population density — taking what urban offline environments started and moving it to a step growth change in density. The connections made through every major network from Facebook through to Gmail, Uber, Slack, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, and YouTube is changing how quickly we can evolve as a civilization. It is mind boggling to think of Facebook's billion daily active users, but we haven't even seen the statistic on the number of total connections between those users. The connections between users, fan Pages, and huge social accounts represent density.

Around 40% of the world population has an internet connection today. In 1995, it was less than 1%.

This has enabled a content explosion that has sent the media world into a frenzy, if not panic.

Ultimately, almost every content creator today is navigating without understanding how to traverse density, which basically amounts to "post and pray" — post to Facebook and the other networks and pray you go viral.

All of our data and focus is on the population sizes of the networks themselves. Facebook's one billion daily active users. YouTube's monthly one billion. The eight billion video views daily that Facebook has gotten too, and Snapchat's rise to seven billion. Snapchat's 100 million actives.

"Smores," BuzzFeed Food — 123M views, 2.8M shares, 1.3M likes (Facebook)

The opportunity for smart content creators is exponentially greater and faster to size and scale today. But understanding the life after publish, the way content and ideas travel through connections, is vital to building a successful business and becoming a breakout hit. There are two types of densities that need to be understood. The two terms "collective density" and "graph density" are ones we are coining here for these purposes.

Collective Density

Collective density works without any social or interest graph. YouTube, one of the largest examples of collective density, doesn't need to know who you are, where you were born, or who your friends are. It works through collective density. The property has had over 10,000 videos that have reached over one billion views. YouTube is sorted through collective density — click stats from the over a billion monthly visitors who spend an inordinate amount of time not just waiting through pre-roll, but clicking through related content and discovering. There is a small degree of interest graph built through related content modules.

"Blank Space," Taylor Swift — 1.4B views, Nov 10, 2014 (YouTube)

Media sites made a step change in growth by embracing collective density. Before stats driving popularity technology was developed and deployed, online media companies were density blind. They were just sorting content by editorial choice. But by releasing most popular units, media companies have been able to tap into collective density and let their readers quickly surface the most important stories to the groups of readers they had captured.

Collective density can add texture and complexity quickly by sorting popularity with categories of content, and adding a graph between the content to get better related content to users. This added texture allows for better increased engagement and consumption as a user begins to click twice, and then many times, to find more content.

In collective density environments, you aim for the big pop culture hit. When content finds its way to the top of the most popular units, it has the potential to reach into hundreds of millions and sometimes over billions.

Graph Density

Social networks have given rise to a new type of density based on social and interest graphs. The growth rates, and step growth rates, of the social networks are what validates so many companies' obsession and belief in understanding and spending on them. Snapchat's growth rate on video views per day, up in a year from two to seven billion views daily, is mind blowing. WhatsApp is now probably recognized nearly as equally as Coca-Cola across the developing world.

But the 600-pound gorilla of idea exchange in today's modern world is still Facebook, the property itself. No other property has so perfectly nailed the combination of a dense graph and machine learning to sort the impact of collective destiny refined through graph destiny (the stories your friends like most, e.g., your friend just got engaged, and so on). The pact with Facebook from the start was clear — this isn't reverse chronological and it isn't editorially sorted either.

"Tyrese Gibson: The Best Halloween Costume Ever," 89M views, 1.9M shares, 1.4M likes (Facebook)

Twitter's most important feature perhaps was under covered — the "While you were away..." module which appears after some hours have passed.

The struggle for Twitter's growth has perhaps been that it is limited by a different user pact based on recency, which is essentially an unsorted hive mind — the ant trail up close, each tweet marching by. I like the march myself, by the way, and I am a Twitter fan. But the growth rate has been only attached to the simple graph density without the machine-learned sorting.

Companies often miss the opportunities in this graph density because they think it doesn't apply to B2B or that they are too niche to succeed. This misses the opportunity of the graph density — it allows content to spread much faster through groups of people who are like minded or who share common interests.

The key to understanding how to accelerate the spread through graph density is to find the accounts with the largest reach and a matched interest. There are over 70 million Facebook Pages, so without technology to assist an editor, understanding this can be daunting and time consuming.

Athlete Cristiano Ronaldo's Facebook Page, 109M fans

Also, because Facebook (and many social networks) don't clearly show the stats of how content is performing that is not posted by your own Page, there is a blind spot for most editorial teams that would want to understand this but lack the tools they need to be able to.

The New Technology Layer

The emergence of the cross-platform world has become the breaking point for the technologies that media properties and marketers built or bought in the last decade. The problems they were built to solve don't match the opportunities that properties need to thrive. They cost too much and take too much time to build.

So a new generation of technologies are being built. Internally, they are collections of micro services that understand APIs natively and expect keys for data and content to flow in and out and be put into context. The role of these technologies is to help content and ideas gain momentum in the density graphs. They are moving to the cloud and becoming part of the sharing economy. And though that sometimes looks like Salesforce or the Creative Cloud, that means multi tenants host and share the costs in order to accelerate the bigger mission they are on.

The new technology layers also need to extend to domain-owned experiences where the open web tech acts as a Switzerland between the networks to understand data and create efficiencies, but also takes audiences through the funnel from casual to subscriber, and ultimately, to a core of loyalists. This allows a property to begin to build its own density. And density is ultimately what makes something valuable.

There were 255 million websites as of December 2010.

We built RebelMouse in anticipation of all these changes coming. As a result, the properties we power are growing quickly by traversing density across networks and building densities of their own with loyalists passionate about the topics they talk about.

Why RebelMouse Is the Best Content Marketing Platform

RebelMouse is a unique platform and company. The company was founded on the vision that media companies would need an always-modern solution to thrive in the new connected internet, and that brands would have to behave like new media companies and use the same platforms.

Keep reading... Show less

Why Premium Creative Agencies and CTOs Choose to Develop on RebelMouse vs. WordPress and Drupal

The Intersection of Design and Development: Where Your Clients Thrive

We started RebelMouse seven years ago knowing that there was a fundamental design flaw in the world of traditional CMSs: Every instance, on every platform, had to be updated independently. It's similar to an era when users had to manage their own Microsoft Exchange Server for email. The costs of managing, maintaining, and iterating on a CMS to keep it awesome and world class is typically a $10 million-a-year endeavor. But even then, these cost-prohibitive CMSs are still behind the times.

Keep reading... Show less

Native Multivariate Testing at Scale With RebelMouse

What Differentiates Our Approach

There are many popular tools that allow you to perform experiments and A/B tests on your users — primarily Google Chrome Experiments and Optimizely. But all of these solutions are JavaScript additions to your web page that sidestep the problem of old, outdated, and clumsy CMSs. These solutions work by calling on a third-party JavaScript library that rewrites a page after it's rendered. This approach adds extra page weight and creates strange user experiences due to having to wait for everything to load and be rewritten on the fly.

At RebelMouse, we've solved this in a very elegant way. At the core level of our platform, we can natively render different layouts and track the exact differences in performance when comparing a test to your other layouts.

Keep reading... Show less

Modern E-Commerce: Blur the Line Between Content and Design

Create Modular + Reusable Design Patterns on RebelMouse

Content saturation is an industry-wide problem, and the e-commerce space is no exception given that it's filled with big brands, small Etsy stores, and everyone in between all fighting for similar audiences. The best way to fight this symptom is to understand your audience and provide them with what they want.

Keep reading... Show less

Instagram-style E-commerce Features on RebelMouse

Revolutionizing E-commerce on RebelMouse

Whether you're a brand with a blog or a media company with a site, driving purchasing behavior and building an audience that uses your content to find things they love to buy is vital. We're very proud to have built out the same functionality that everyone is now used to on Instagram, with layovers on images that lead to products with attribution.

Keep reading... Show less

Building Premium Communities and User Journeys on RebelMouse

RebelMouse is much more than just a replacement for a traditional CMS. Our platform is a tremendous community-building experience. Today's social ecosystem has given us a seemingly limitless number of premium creators who understand how to create gorgeous and relevant content that drives the growth of their own audiences. These creators and influencers are either experts in certain topics, or heavily engaged in targeted content that drives their interests. They're not only consuming the content they're passionate about, but they're contributing to the conversation, too. The new role of the editor is not just to cover the most important topics and people around their expertise, but also to invite those preferred influencers into their community and get them to participate in creating premium content.

Read our deck here...

Keep reading... Show less

Dynamic Voting: Grow Traffic and Engagement Organically

Help your audience find its voice.

Creating quality content is no longer on marketers alone. We live in a universe of creators who are willing to not only consume content that resonates, but play a role in the creation, promotion, and conversations surrounding it.

Since the start of RebelMouse, we've been on a journey to create dynamic media that is easier for content creators to curate and amplify on social. It's why we've built an online engagement platform centered around the power of communities that thrive naturally in the digital ecosystem.

Keep reading... Show less

How to Monetize Your Website in Today’s Publishing Environment

In order to define distributive publishing, we have to ask the following question: If you have quality content, but nobody sees it, does it even exist? The answer is no, because your content needs to be supported in a way that lets it move seamlessly across all channels, especially site, search, and social. But let's take this question a step further: If you can't monetize your content to generate the support it needs, how do you create quality content in the first place?

Keep reading... Show less

Explore Careers at RebelMouse

Join RebelMouses's modern and distributive workforce responsible for the websites of media powerhouses, including legacy brands like United Airlines and new media darlings like PAPER Magazine and Protocol.

If you feel like you've never quite fit into boxes or labels within the tech space, we want to hear from you. Built on a foundation of site performance, our cloud-based platform reaches 50+ million people a month with an always-modern approach to product and strategy.

Our fully remote team spans 25+ countries and has very flexible schedules. If you don't want to be confined to an office chair, and like the idea of being able to work from any place in the world you choose, we're a match.

RebelMouse is dedicated to pursuing inclusion for all individuals, regardless of their gender identity, sexual preference, ethnicity, religion, age, or disability. We work hard to form meaningful relationships beyond our platform, and it's this passion that has formed what is now a diverse software company and creative agency that's bucking industry norms. For us, diversity is a company pillar, not just a statistic.

Click here to browse our current opportunities

Trigger New Pageviews With “Keep Reading” Feature

RebelMouse supports an infinite scroll feed of content that is mobile-friendly by using expandable posts. Your users can read the beginning of your article that is "before the jump," but instead of jumping to a new page, the story expands upon click to show the rest of the post. We do this with our "Keep Reading" functionality:

Keep reading... Show less
Subscribe to Our Newsletter