Has this ever happened to you: A post says it contains both information that seems interesting and its picture is of an attractive person? But once you click on it, you are inundated by ads, and the article you wanted to read is broken up into several slow loading pages?
Well, I’m sorry to say, you fell prey to the much hated “clickbait.”
Urban Dictionary defines it as such:
An eye-catching link on a website which encourages people to read on. It is often paid for by the advertiser ("Paid" click bait) or generates income based on the number of clicks.
It exists for a reason, though. And that is because we live in a world where the sheer bulk of available information and entertainment is at such an excess, that one method of marketing is simply to draw the eye.
The “truth may shock you.”
On this list “number four may change the way you live your life.”
It’s desperate marketing, but marketing all the same. Doesn’t matter what it is, doesn’t matter if it’s location specific: “Clearwater citizens are shocked by this new law.” Clickbait fits well, and is interchangeable for anywhere it needs to be.
And I’m not here to bemoan or claim this is some greater sign of something worse. It’s just sensationalism, like what newspapers do.
But I hope this article--at least a little--helps you spot the most egregious examples, because they will only become more commonplace.
If the cover is provocative, or if it promises a revelation from its contents, just know what you’re getting into is possibly pure clickbait.
If you liked this article, you can read more of Brandon Scott’s work over at The Hive, or on his website: www.coolerbs.com.