Ahh… Clickbait. We’ve all seen it. We’ve all clicked on it. Articles with top 10 reasons to do something, or not. The 20 most awesome things you might not have known about your favorite animatronic reggae band. Clickhole, Upworthy, Buzzfeed. All these sites do it, and we all click on it. But we shouldn’t. And here’s why:
1. Click Bait is a Waste Of Time
Lets be honest, these articles are a waste of time. You don’t really care about the 9 foods to eat before bed. You’re not going to go out of your way to actually eat them, but you just HAVE to know what they are. Maybe for some future conversation somewhere, but lets be honest: These things just don’t come up. Sometimes you’ll bring up that NPR article you saw, but you rarely go to a friend and say, “My God Man! You have to see these 5 things that Mitt Romney might have said about blue whales!” It just doesn’t happen.
2. Click Bait Information is Useless
This goes along with point one a bit, but I feel it needs to be its own bullet point. The information given in these articles is pointless. Recently, I can across an article entitled “6 Things Men Don’t Understand About the Female Body.” Fascinating, sure, until I discovered that numbers 1 and 2 were menstrual cycle and child birth. I KNOW women have periods and they have children. I don’t need an article telling me this. The internet is full of enough useless information as it is. We don’t need a Top 10 Most Useless Facts on the Internet article to break it down for us.
3. Click Bait Sites Don’t Care About Their Readers
This is a big one for me. The sites that host these articles don’t care about the readers, the writers, or the content. They care about one thing: ad revenue. They’re not going to put real time or effort into giving you worthwhile information or entertainment. These are just throwaway articles to get you to a site where they can inundate you with flashy, browser-clogging ads. When you click, they get paid.
4. Click Bait is Cowardly
It takes time to write a well-researched, interesting article. It takes effort to develop characters that are relatable and a story that people will enjoy reading. And most importantly, it takes courage to engage with thoughtful, well-crafted work that might not be as easily digested as Top Five Nip Slips of the 21st Century.
Click bait articles are the literary equivalent of a security blanket. We see the headline, we can practically predict how the article is going to go, we read it, and then we forget about it almost immediately. Unlike an online essay or a work of original fiction, there’s no risk involved–and definitely no reward.
You probably wouldn’t read this list if it didn’t have 5 items. Who ever heard of a Top Four list? That sounds like a scam for sure. So yes, every time you fall victim to click bait, the terrorists win.