What evidence would you (or the other involved in outreach via mass readership articles) cite for it working, besides the Facebook comment you mentioned?
Good question, and that’s one of the things that has to be studied.
One of the things that can be cited is how widely it was read and shared on social media. That can be counted through the number of readers who visited the website and the number of times it was shared on social media, if those numbers are available. The social media shares is most relevant, as this indicates people are willing to put their personal social capital into sharing the article for their Facebook friends, Twitter followers, StumbleUpon followers etc. to read and evaluate them by.
Another is the case study approach of looking at the Facebook comment and other similar feedback.
This is the kind of initial evaluation that can be done most easily with existing mechanisms.
More resource-intensive evaluations would involve actual studies. I mentioned in the post how I talked with Konrad Seifert from Geneva about testing the impactfulness of effective giving messages at a university center there. If others are interested, this would be a quite valuable area of work to test the impactfulness of the content. I’d love to see RCT studies on this stuff, for example. There’s fascinating studies that can be done, and I have some background in research as a tenure-track professor myself. If you know of anyone who can help out with this, suggestions would be welcomed :-)