I have gotten so used to clickbait that I pretty much avoid clicking on anything that I might have the slightest suspicion to be clickbait. Sometimes though, I slip and click. It makes me realize that because the “bait” was about a person I admire, my initial reaction was to become concerned about them, so I clicked without thinking. In addition, the article was from a “respected” news source, The Independent, another reason to have my lowered my bullshit detector. It was the combination of those two factors that made me bite.
This is what I saw posted on Facebook (The clickbait):
I’ve always liked the guy. Fastest man in the world, top notch sportsman and without a chip on his shoulder like many other sprinters. But when I saw the title, it brought forth a fear every fan of athletics has, and that is doping, so I got to thinking about that. And, as i mentioned earlier, it is coming from a respectable source.
So, I clicked to read on:
What??? This is clickbait at its finest. Text book clickbait. If I were to ask the person who made this they would respond, innocently, that everything is true, and that it is not their fault that I assumed the that Bolt was taking drugs, and that in fact they had never mentioned that he was taking drugs in the opening post!
News sources are being judged (and valued by advertisers) according to the amount of hits their articles generate. In the past, newspapers had more sales and even then they would add extras to their Sunday editions to get you to make a purchase. However, by setting you up, the way they do now, in order to read their articles, they are slowly chipping (others say rabidly chopping) away at their credibility. The harsh truth is that clickbait works. I probably wouldn’t have clicked on the title “Nesta Carter tests positive for steroids.” Clickbait isn’t even new, but it has gone to new heights and in the end either enough people will be fed up with it and it will curb in certain sectors or we will just get used to having the news be like a scratch-off lottery ticket.
If you are interested in reading more about clickbait,Wired has a great article about it.