Friday, February 28, 2014

5 Reasons I hate Clickbait (and 1 Why It Works)

I may have made up some words in this post.

I'm not sure when it all started. Somewhere around the time I started following @mamamiaspoilers (so I couldn't have to actually follow or read their site) and Buzzfeed coming to prominence, Internet article headlines got unbearably enticing. And I really dislike it.

  • Reason 1: Over-sensationalism. The subject of the article itself is often way less interesting than the headline. Its pretty easy to spot by anyone who uses the web nowadays, but when this technique is starting to be used by traditional media outlets like newspapers, we've reached a tipping point.
  • Reason 2: Obviousness. By now, I should be completely immune to the power of the sensational headline, because its so very obvious its been carefully crafted to make you want to click. And yet...
  • Reason 3: Irresistability. Sometimes I still click. And mostly hate myself for it.
  • Reason 4: Lost Legitimacy. When a worthy and informative article is whored out with a bait-y title, it makes me cry inside.
  • Reason 5: Laziness. If an article sounds like it will be a quick way to get up to date on the latest scandal with a list, we time-poor folk will love it.

Why it works:

BECAUSE WE'RE ALL CURIOUS CREATURES. It's like being told not to push the big red button. You know you shouldn't but you still want to. A lot. So you eventually do.

And as long as we do, websites will keep on doing it. Even the ones you used to trust to bring you the REAL news.

What do you think of the whole trend toward "clickability"?

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