Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why I Don’t Read The Huffington Post – It’s Technical.

I actually like Arianna Huffington. I love how her life and career and influence have evolved over the years. Her spunk and (almost shamefully) her accent, tickle me. And, she was most gracious the day she came for an interview with Bob Edwards. However….

I receive the The Huffington Post Daily Brief by email everyday and I almost never read it and I’ll tell you why. It’s not out of protest for how they pay (or don’t pay) for much of the content. There are many wanna-be-columnists out there who do benefit from Arianna’s popular web page (even if the many random posts get lost on the busy site). Those policy wonks and non-profit champions can repost their nice little Huffington Post link on Facebook or Twitter (not unlike my little blog here), making themselves feel better about their day (yes, I do feel better about my day, thankyouverymuch).

Nor is my avoidance out of protest for posting stories like this one: “Paul Carr: The Strip Diary, Day Four: An Expert Video Guide to Gentlemen's Club Etiquette: This Vegas adventure is supposed to be a learning experience -- so I decided it was time to man up and learn the correct etiquette for visiting a strip club.” Really, Arianna? Really? I clicked on the link only long enough to verify that yes, the piece really was as bad as I expected it to be. Now, as predictable as some of the stories on The Huffington Post might be, this one shocks my tummy each time I look at that title line.

And, lastly, no, the reason I don’t read The Huffington Post is not because she misspells her name.

The reason I don’t read The Huffington Post is simple: the pages take too long to load. It’s a basic matter of "time economics." Plus, once the pages do load, there is so much extra content on the page that it slows down my entire computer. The site is overloaded with flashy advertisements and cross links to other sections of the Post, that it feels like a miniature eternity to get from story to story compared to most web sites. One page took nearly twelve seconds to download today (and I think that’s actually faster than it has been in the past). To compare, a Google search for “huffington post” yielded “about 58,200,000 results” in “0.05 seconds.”

I also know that when other applications start to slow down on my laptop, I can always attribute the turtle pace to the bandwidth hogging Huffington Post page which I inevitably forgot to close.

To be fair, The Washington Post web site is extremely cumbersome as well. A quick test of their main story today about President Obama’s plans to cut the budget took approximately twelve seconds to load as well. The page might look loaded, but if you attempt to scroll down past the advertisements and photos at the top to get to the meat of the story below, the entire page freezes on you.

So patience is required. And for The Post, I have patience. I forgive their annoyingly ambitious advertising strategy to financially support the time-tested newspaper. Especially now that The New York Times has initiated a lockout for us online news searchers, I very much appreciate The Washington Post’s version of a “free press.”

But for The Huffington Post version, I think I’ll give them a few more years to earn a journalism award or two before losing any more of my very precious surf time on that site.

1 comment:

  1. If you can load a Huff Post article as fast as Wash Post you are doing well - and in 12 seconds at that... I avoid HuffPo articles because of this, but like them (and her for as much as I know). I've seen explanations of how many comments there may be, but it also loads slideshows, videos, links, ads, etc though I suspect it's hanging up with some tracking link - I run Adblock Plus. There are several hits on this topic on Google. It seems to have gotten worse this year - never noticed a major problem before. Most annoying is when I hit the "stop loading" button the whole da.n thing starts loading again.. that's when I close the window and look for another news source. Eventually they may fix it - til then I rarely visit them anymore...