The Irony of Clickbait

Starting off I want to say, this title actually isn’t clickbait. I’m here to talk about why clickbait has risen, why we see it in such negative light and why it isn’t a complete waste of time.

We all know about the rise of clickbait. We may have been a victim of it once or twice.

Some of what we would consider to be clickbait are titles that are misleading by formulating for one of the following:

  • Those that make us personally want to click it (catered to you)
  • Those that make anyone want to click it (catered to all)
  • And those that won’t tell you what it is about (vaguely catered to no one)

It’s easier now more than ever to voluntarily give up our time to something that from the start doesn’t promise us any real value. We take a chance on it anyway.

So let’s look at how clickbait will never trump real content, how clickbait has taken over a lot of our media and if it should be practiced or looked down upon.


Content Will Always Be King

Everyone knows and believes content is and will always be king. This will always be true.

This is not because we want this to be true for those of us that work really hard and don’t want to succumb to taking tactics like clickbait to help us.

However, content will always be king because even if clickbait is successful, whatever is being clicked on can feel empty. A promising movie can feel empty. A Youtube video can feel empty.

A story or an idea is what draws people in and keeps their attention whereas titles do not always need to be labeled as the content itself.

If something is made and clickbait is used as a tactic while it has a weak story or no real question being asked or answered, it’s empty and you and I will see that.

We may not know it right away which is us voluntarily giving our time to see if it does include good content that we have not gotten to quite yet.

It’s the question of “I wonder what happens to these characters next” but lack of interesting characters makes us not care. We thought we might be interested so we gave it a try, but we don’t really care.

We look for content and sometimes get sucked into content that we don’t enjoy or feels empty. We listen regardless out of curiosity for the turnaround so it is our choice to stay in tune with what we were drawn into.

So does this mean clickbait is justified if promising content backs up the method for attracting attention?

In my opinion, not necessarily. This just validates why it works. None of us may like clickbait, but we might click something regardless because our time to see if it is worth it won’t always trouble us.


How Clickbait Has Taken Over

Clickbait has taken over because if everything is clickbait, you have to search for what you want.

With the new capabilities of the internet and it’s accuracy for finding what we want right away, we may find it. But this comes with bringing others that may have been looking for something else and stumbled to the wrong page but chose to stay.

Everything we encounter is trying to get our attention. Whether it is what we were looking for or something closely related that gives us another question in our minds that we want answered.

Clickbait is common because whether we give in or not is more important to the ones making clickbait than it is to us.

We can spare a few minutes deciding if something is worth our time or not, but by then we have already given them what they want. A click.

Now most of the time clickbait is given the name clickbait if the content or entertainment is not there. It’s clickbait because it’s empty and it promises more than there is.

Something good that may usually be ignored will have to use clickbait as a tactic, but if it is worth our time and we enjoy it, we don’t necessarily consider it clickbait as there was a backing behind the title.


Should Clickbait Not Be Practiced

Clickbait is unfortunately necessary because while everything is online and everything is competitive, clickbait that leads to something with real content is just utilizing a strategy to get your attention.

It is the clickbait that offers nothing of value that aggravates us.

There will always be clickbait today so it is about our decision to take a chance and check if something fits with what we want.

Clickbait isn’t lying to you, it’s just over exaggerated marketing to draw you and as many people as possible in. Some will enjoy it, some won’t, but the masses make it necessary.

As strange as it is to say, clickbait is a skill that can be learned.

I do not use too much clickbait myself and say what I am going to talk about in the title because I do not practice formulating a title that will bring in bigger audiences.

Yet even as a skill, clickbait is a bad thing to practice if it is focused on much more than the content itself and the focus of the piece is not there.

We don’t sell a product we aren’t sure about with the tactic of trying to sell it as fast as possible before people notice it is a failed product.

But in the case of media, a failed product is just a consumer who wasn’t satisfied for entertainment they did not have to pay for.

It can be an annoying tactic that we have become numb to seeing. If we understand why clickbait is a thing, we may be more willing to take chances to try something or we may see it as more of a threat to real content.

Either way, the point I am trying to make is clickbait is not always bad. It is the clickbait used on bad or lacking content that should be looked down upon.

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