You know you see it all the time. Those headlines on videos and Buzzfeed-style posts.
“It Was Just A Regular Wedding, Until THIS Surprise Blew Everyone Away!”
“WATCH: He Places A Bar Of Ivory Soap In The Microwave. A Minute Later, Things Get Out Of Control”
“20 Tasty Ways To Have Mashed Potatoes. #3 Will Blow Your Mind!”
And just now, as I was drafting this post, this Tweet came across my feed:
NASA took its 100 millionth picture of the sun. And it's mind-blowing: pic.twitter.com/ZAqOXrHwkq
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) January 23, 2015
Clickbait. I vented on Facebook last weekend about how annoyed I was with it and drew many virtual nods of approval. As my friend Ed said, “The scourge of the internet and downfall of journalism.” GeekMom Cathé also summed it up nicely, “Journalistic integrity and ethics have gone right out the window.”
Why is this necessary? What happened to good, old-fashioned, old-school headlines that catch our attention based on quality information? I now resist* such headlines in my attempt to try to tell the world, “Stop it. Just. Stop.”
*It’s hard to resist puppies.
Here’s my list–with a lot of help from my friends–of why clickbait headlines are at the top of my “most annoying” list:
7. Watching an online video will NOT change your life! In fact, if you go to YouTube and type “change your life” in the search box, you will get over 20 million returns! Of random videos with titles like “This video will change your life!” I selected a random video and ended up watching some sort of over-dubbed Walter White scene. My life was only changed in that I will never get those two minutes of my life back.
6. How about those headlines that start out innocently enough: “23 of the cutest dogs ever.” Then they tack on something like “#21 will bring you to tears with all the cutes!”
5. Often the headlines seem irrelevant. “You’ll never eat meat again!” and the video is about puppies. Whaaaa?
4. As Cathé says, “Because I should go to the doctor if this video makes me pee my pants.”
3. My friend Breea doesn’t trust clickbait because “that Nigerian Prince STILL hasn’t sent the money he promised!”
2. GeekMom Kelly thinks clickbait sucks because “I WILL believe what happens next.”
and finally…and this one was my favorite from my friends’ suggestions:
1. From my friend Amy: “Because clickfish are a waste to catch: hard to clean and have no edible meat.”
Do you fall for the clickbait? Consider joining me in boycotting it!
2 thoughts on “7 Reasons Why Clickbait Sucks: #4 Will Blow Your Mind!”
Last week that Facebook post with the headline “You won’t believe what this town did with their abandoned Walmart!” or whatever the exact title was kept going around, and I saw it shared by one friend-or-acquaintance after another with no elaboration, so I was like “Okay it must be cool but I don’t really care.” Then my mother in law finally shared it to MY FB wall, which is the only reason I bothered to click, because OBVIOUSLY something about it reminded her of me. So it turns out they turned that old Walmart into a fabulous new public library. WHY COULDN’T THE HEADLINE HAVE JUST SAID THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE?! Ironically, I would have been MUCH more interested if the article had been called, I I don’t know, “Former Hub of Rampant Capitalism Is Now a Free Public Institution for Information and Learning!” or something, which sounds just as sensationalized but at least gives me SOME indication what the article is about! So much for “clickbait.”
Ha! I wrote about this particular Walmart-converted-to-Library in 2012! I wonder if it’s the same one — all the clickbait I needed was the word “Brilliant!” http://archive.wired.com/geekmom/2012/07/mcallen-texas-library/
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