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How One Op-Ed on Economics Soared to Popularity on Social Media
Posted on June 6th 2013
it’s no secret that much of the world’s economy has experienced a downturn in recent years. The economic woes of many European countries have been widely publicized. A recent piece in the U.K.’s The Guardian about shifting the focus to jobs has been getting some serious attention on social media. The piece, written by London financier John Studzinski, focuses on the German economy and the reasons the country has been able to survive recessions better than others. Here’s why it has been getting so much attention across the major social networks.
The piece, entitled “Germany Is Right: There Is No Right to Profit, But the Right to work Is Essential” was published in the Guardian back in early February, truly hit a note with those interested in European economics. The article was shared on major social networks close to a thousand times, and gathered an impressive reader response of over 500 comments within 24 hours of being posted on The Guardian’s site. For an article on economics, a subject which many consider to be snooze-worthy, these numbers are pretty astounding.
Typically, articles focused on the economy don’t have nearly as much reader engagement as this particular piece. So why did this op-ed strike such a chord with social media users, prompting such impressive sharing numbers and 513 comments? There seem to be a few reasons behind the article’s success.
First, the author takes a largely positive and constructive tone in the article. Many articles about the economy are full of doom and gloom, lacking in practical solutions and paint a horrible picture for the economic health of the particular country. On the contrary, this op-ed focuses on a country that has managed to survive and bounce back from the brink of recession, rather than one that’s economy is in the toilet. Studzinski provides concrete reasons why the German economy has remained in the black through the years, reasons that other countries can emulate. The tone of the article is positive and constructive from the title all the way through the last paragraph.
Throughout the piece, the author also uses language that makes sense to someone who has no background in economics. Many pieces that focus solely on economics contain a boatload of industry-specific jargon that makes little to no sense to the everyday reader. Part of the reason why this particular op-ed was so popular was because the accesible language makes for an easier read for the average person. Studzinski explains complex economics concepts in a way that make sense, and avoids peppering the piece with overly technical terms.
There are a few lessons from this article that can be applied across the board. If you’re planning to write an op-ed piece related to your industry, the key to engaging readers in the comments and on social media seems to be as follows. First, you want to keep the tone of the article positive and constructive. And second, avoid industry jargon. Use language that the average reader will understand. If you’d like to learn more about the author, check out Blackstone’s John Studzinski profile on their people page.