Writing clickbait is something I can never bring myself to do. In the age of attention, we should only devote precious online energy to those who have taken the time to pique and hold our interest. These come in the form of YouTube channels, well-written blogs (not this one), news outlets who’re still fighting the good fight, podcasts and dedicated personalities.
Something that shouldn’t grab our attention, are headlines such as:
8 WAYS TO GET BOYS TO LIKE YOU, NUMBER SIX WILL MAKE YOU CRY TEARS OF LIQUID DIAMONDS
You see, why display one number numerically and the other as a word? Why promote a topic that prays on the anxieties of being a teenager? And why promise tears made of liquid diamonds when we all know that emeralds are the most precious stone one can squeeze from tear ducts?
These list articles are usually the digital equivalent of woman-hating, women’s magazines. The sort that say you’re hideous just because Chris Hemsworth wouldn’t date you, and so you should buy these specific beauty products in order to bag yourself a Marvel superhero.
They’re exactly the same because adverts relating to the topic they’re talking about are often strewed around the page, or even hidden in plain sight within the article itself.
These lists are the most basic-form of CONSUME-based advertising, and don’t deserve our attention. They make young people hate themselves, even more than they already do, and peddle cheaply made products as a solution to all of your problems. A more honest clickbait headline on these websites would be — 8 Things You Should Buy or Our Shareholders Will Throw Sacks of Diamonds at Our Heads Until Death
Why are they always going on about diamonds in these list titles?
TOP 50 STAR WARS MOVIES, RANKED!!! YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT WE HAVE AT NUMBER ONE!
It’s Empire Strikes Back. It’s always Empire Strikes Back. These lists would genuinely be more interesting if they went with something like The Phantom Menace or Dexter Jettster: The Animated Adventures.
Media is subjective, one person’s Fantastic Four is another person’s Thor: Ragnarok. Nothing is gained by one individual ranking 25+ media products in a list, with a single sentence following each entry.
Opinions of reviewers and critics do matter, as they can help judge if we should spend time/money/energy on something.
However, if you’re deciding whether or not to watch something based off of one line in a list of RANKED media texts, then you should just consumer all of them. You don’t care about how good something is, clearly, so you should guzzle them all down like a greedy little media goblin.
That sounds mean, maybe I deserve some backlash for that comment. Like 10 Times Matt Went Too Far With His Words: RANKED, or something — A real sick burn.
I’m only being mean because you deserve better. Find a reviewer you like, or even better, find several. Find someone who will at least analyse the film in a 10+ minute YouTube video, or have the decency to write a 1,000 word review.
Sure, it takes time, but far less time than you’ll spend endlessly scrolling through a timeline that’s 50% advertisements and 50% Becky complaining that her fourth engagement has been called off. Maybe it’s not them Becky, maybe it’s not them.
NINE TIPS FOR GETTING MORE LIKES ON YOUR INSTAGRAM: HOW TO BE RELEVANT IN 9 EASY STEPS
These are the preaching to the choir advice lists. The blind leading the blind in a race to the bottom of the attention tree.
While there’s nothing wrong with a blog being about blogging tips and advice, you should always be adding something new to the conversation, and not just the same regurgitated methods that are second-nature at this point.
Follow people, like things, engage, interact, make yourself famous by sheer distant connection kid, and you’ll go far in this digital playground.
So many blogs I see are about blogging, and made entirely of lists about how to blog and use social media. Surely they’re just a network of people who’re following and liking each other’s content, even though it’s virtually identical.
If you want genuine advice, you should find successful blogs and see what it is you like about them, what it is they do well and what can be improved on. It’s the whole “do as I do, not as I say” thing.
Very few people will give you decent blogging advice, because it’s all been said before. You should check out popular, focused bloggers, as they’ll be leading by example.
This is not a popular or focused blog.
FOUR THINGS EVERY SELF-RESPECTING INTERNET USER SHOULD HATE
Finally there’s the hate-filled, holier-than-thou lists. The people who think they’re so smart because they’ve figured out the structure of a successful format and yet fail to fully capitalise on the medium. They tell themselves it’s because they’re principled, when in reality they know very little about pop culture, and so can’t write a list worthy enough of attention.
I’m talking about the people who will write lists about lists because they think they’re being “meta” or “edgy” by pointing out what everyone already knows anyway — The facts of the internet that people choose to ignore so they don’t go completely crazy with modern, digital living.
He’s probably sat somewhere right now, typing out another one of these so-called “lists”. I bet he’s getting pretty close to the end as well, and is trying to think of a big finish that strikes a balance between humerous and poignant.
He’s probably worrying if Chris Hemsworth was a good example of a popular attractive male, because he doesn’t have a clue what people like or want.
He’s now thinking that he can’t finish with something like that, because a simple call-back doesn’t cut it anymore and every single reader has already figured out that he’s talking about himself, so the twist has been and gone.
I suppose I could just end it by saying that writing clickbait is hard, and even though there are far better ways to spend our time, the people who write it are probably just like you, only without the plague of neurosis.
Yeah, that’ll do.
Today is Monday, November 19th and don’t you dare give that yellow-haired, ex-wrestler the time of day.
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