Time to share this research again, since I think it has interesting relevance for the increasing prevalence of auto-generated updates on social sharing sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. My takeaway is that it is certainly easy to let applications automatically generate status updates and share content for you. But, that means that those updates are virtually identical and too “pretty”, which means that people unconsciously learn to skip over them and look for “real updates” (i.e., something a real human took the time to create). There is too much noise in the stream and this becomes an easy way to filter out repetitive content. So, in the end, publishers are actually not meeting their desired distribution and marketing goals, if people are simply becoming “blind” to those auto-generated updates.
The most prominent result from the new eyetracking studies is not actually new. We simply confirmed for the umpteenth time that banner blindness is real. Users almost never look at anything that looks like an advertisement, whether or not it’s actually an ad.