I don’t care if “what happens next will surprise you!” or if “#7 with blow your mind!” or “then the cutest thing ever happened!”
I do care if your article, post, video, vlog, or the like has (1) quality content that I can trust, (2) is delivered to me in a simple medium, and (3) I get some enjoyment out of the information delivered to me.
The backlash of the clickbait (or is it click-bait?) drama seems to be gaining speed and size, and I’m glad it is. I love how The Onion has used its site ClickHole to parody websites like Upworthy, The Daily Dot, and Buzzfeed for their shameless headlines and taglines geared primarily to feeding the online advertising revenue tallies behind the scenes of the poor and often inaccurate delivery of news, stories and information.
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For the past year or so, I have come to expect the click baiting to continue from such “entertainment” sources. But a newer trend is giving me more true concern.
More reputable websites and blogs seem to be giving in to the temptation to clickbait. Take the example of the widely popular “I f*cking love science” (IFLS) Facebook page and blog which quickly rose to fame as a widely entertaining and, I will assert, authoritative source on a variety of scientific topics often transmitted to us common folks in language and methodology that we can understand. Nice to have you around, IFLS! Welcome!
But fans began to be discouraged and downright upset at the trending headline changes to IFLS posts. As one author put it — “Love science, or love clickbait?” The article by A Science Enthusiast points out how the brand has evolved in the wrong way. He argues:
I f*cking love science started as an excellent opportunity to increase science literacy for the layperson; however, it has now regressed into a terrible example of science communication.
The IFLS pile-on began with this article: Pop Sci to Pop Sigh: I F*cking Love Science Ex-Admins Speak Out This is where my concern lies. When quality sources start to degrade their value and reputation due to the turnoff of click baiting.
Then, just this morning, I witnessed the most outrageous example of click baiting I have seen to date. As a new parent, I have been on the lookout for quality sources of parenting knowledge and “fun” tips in raising my infant twin girls. I recently started following the Facebook page “quirkymomma.com” as with 1.5M likes, it must be doing something right!
I noticed a couple clever art project ideas in my Facebook feed. Okay.
Then I noticed a couple clickbait headlines with taglines. Well, that’s a turnoff.
Then, I saw this post in my feed (click photo to enlarge):
Are they seriously click baiting a story about what is a truly important topic of educating others on Shaken Baby Syndrome!? They are actually tiptoeing around the “TERRIFYING Mistake!” the father made with an added photo of the poor child (who has recovered and is doing great now years later) to get you to mentally ask, “OMG! What happened to that poor child!?” Or do you give them somewhat of a pass because the ends (an important educational story) justifies the means (click baiting at all costs)?
The link in the post provided was “source identifiable” and I assume there is an underlying financial purpose to the Facebook poster adding even MORE clickbait to the already inappropriate headline and tagline of the original story. And this comes from a Facebook page with a website self described as providing kids crafts!? Their “about” section reads:
Never hear “I am bored!” again. We share 100s of ways to play with things you have in your kitchen junk drawer. Kids Activities Blog is all about fun things to do with kids that are easy, fun, have a learning element and can be done with stuff you already have at home.
I’ve had it! I’m going to forgo seeing the cute kittens and amazing pictures by NOT taking your bait if it means bringing back quality information and supporting knowledge.
If you are reading this and you deliver a quality product through content, stay honest with your readers, subscribers and fans. Think twice about degrading your headlines and taglines with bait in hopes of gaining financially. I know, I know… it is the marketable way to higher revenues. But at what cost? The consumers, i.e. the readers, have spoken.
Please, stop with the click baiting already. Keep the power of knowledge healthy and alert. Thank you for listening.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.