Removing The Date From Your Posts Is A Terrible Idea

dates

There is a strange trend I’ve noticed recently: some authors and media removing the dates from their posts. As an active participant on the social web since the 90s, this not only bothers me, it is two-steps backwards.

Date is an important piece of meta information associated with any digital content. Knowing when something was published provides that all too critical context of time. This really matters: I personally will not link to stories without knowing when that idea was originally shared because I don’t know how to frame my own analysis of it. I chatted with some friends who have been blogging in other industries (not marketing) for nearly a decade and they feel the same.

Some people have an incorrect assumption that just because something is old, it is immediately unsharable or unlinkable. This is not the case at all, and in fact older content with a date can prove much more trustworthy and show you were first to think of something. We can’t credit you for your originality or your vision if you remove the date. Removing the date also makes it seem like you are trying to hide something.

I understand why some businesses might do this. They are using content purely as a lead generation exercise where each post acts as another potential landing page, have tested date / no date for conversions and noticed in their particular category a date can act to hurt actions taken by users. If you test it and really found a meaningful improvement long-term, this might make sense.

But if you are using your brand of media to participate in industry discussions and would like to remain a part of the threaded conversation with others in your category, removing the date is a surefire way to be excluded. At least by authors and readers who are deeply passionate and part of the discussion long-term. Exactly the people you want to reach if you want to be a part of the important threads in a category.

Removing the date seems like a trick to try and fool people into thinking all your ideas are brand new, but only raises questions of why you wouldn’t tell us when your ideas were created. And my personal opinion is providing as much context as possible for your content and ideas is always a good thing. To intelligent readers, the value of the context surrounding information is as important as the information itself. Do you really want to attract the other kind? Why?

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