Clickbait. The answer is clickbait.
Just like the headline for this article is also pure, unadulterated clickbait.
News sites have resorted to cliché, formulaic headlines that give nothing useful away about the articles. Often, these headlines also distort the actual significance of the information, making it sound like a much bigger deal than it really is to get people to click through.
The Reasons Will Shock You…
Actually, the reasons why are pretty obvious.
The internet floods us with links, ads, stories, videos, etc etc etc…
In a space where everything is basically screeching at you all the time, if you want to get people’s attention and attract ad revenue, you need an edge, and nothing encourages clicks more than plain old curiosity.
For the standard Facebook page or spammy site, clickbait is pretty much a given. You expect it, you know it’s mindless, and it does not make any attempt to be less than what it is: obnoxious, desperate, and unintelligent.
Is this STRANGE New Practice even Ethical!?
Journalists are responsible for reporting the facts. These facts must be newsworthy, and must be stated coherently and accurately without any fluff or fanfare.
Clickbait is, by very definition, the exact opposite of that.
Dumbing down content to generate clicks is not only an insult to ethical journalism, but also to people’s intelligence.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Stop Clickbait is “a social media network dedicated to eradicating click-bait from the internet.”
They have a series of Facebook pages in a number of categories – for example Science, Entertainment, and World News – where they reveal the essential part of the clickbait article in dry, hilarious summation.
In their own words,
We live in a time where click-bait is changing journalism in media. It spits out sensationalist headlines, which can easily influence millions of people to assume something that is totally skewed. All of this is driven by the economy of the Internet: advertisements; something Facebook doesn’t allow creators to fully monetize off. In the mean time, the #StopClickBait network will save users precious clicks and time from annoying click-bait headlines. This is something that completely goes against the economy of the Internet, but that’s not going to stop us.
The pages’ existence and popularity prove that people are fed up with clickbait, so the fact that news organizations are still moving in that direction is disappointing.
Find out this SIMPLE trick to more readers!
Almost since their inception, newspapers and magazines have always had to compete for advertising and readership.
The Internet may have made the game harder, but it shouldn’t change the rules: Be concise, be accurate, be newsworthy, and use keywords.
Yellow journalism, on the other hand, now in the form of clickbait, will just lead to people losing faith in the news entirely.
#StopClickbait, you guys.
Do you think clickbait headlines are unethical, or are they just the latest (justifiable) marketing strategy? Have you ever fallen for it? Why?