When time stands still

19Sep08

Lately, I’ve noticed that more and more blogs have stopped putting a date on their articles. It’s not on the top of the page, on the bottom of the page, or even in the URL itself. Why are they doing this? My best guess is to make the article look more “fresh” to people who find it through a web search or a social media site. Perhaps the logic goes, if new visitors think the content is old, they’ll leave without reading it.

No matter what the motivation for taking away the date, I think it’s a mistake. Dates help establish a chronology of thoughts and events, which can be essential to properly evaluating what you’re reading. Leave them out, and the content ends up in a limbo state between now and some time ago. Readers are forced to guess if it came out two days or two years ago.

So for those people who insist on taking dates away, I propose a compromise. Leave the date out of the article, but provide a link that serious readers can click on to view the posting date and any other info you’ve hidden. Since they’re already engaged with the site, people who follow that link would be unlikely to think any less of the content if it really is from — gasp — last year.



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