Gawker’s Web Visuals and ‘The Magazining’ of Content

Gawker Media’s Nick Denton has completed the latest monthly installment of his web-traffic-analysis-memos, and although this one isn’t as entertaining as previous versions, it’s worth mentioning because of his comment that Gawker Media’s most successful blog posts typically center around photos or videos:

One thing comes through, clearly: posts which are built around an image or video already represent nearly half of our most popular stories. The explanatory text and packaging is obviously crucial, but meaningless without the visuals.

As many have noted, Gawker‘s impending site redesign will feature images and videos more prominently on the screen, which isn’t surprising given Denton’s stated conviction in the supremacy of web visuals.

This traffic-driven model of displaying content is leading to what The Awl‘s Choire Sicha calls, The Great Magazining of the internet: it’s more attractive, but from an editorial standpoint “it’s also a whole lot less.”

If Denton’s traffic figures are any indication — not to mention the rousing popularity of NSFW slideshows on alt-weeklies’ sites — web users are clearly showing a preference for the magazined internet. As Reuters blogger Felix Salmon pointed out last week:

Those of us who love the printed word might not be very happy about it, but the fact is that pictures and video have an immediacy and popularity that text will never be able to match.