Hank Green recently wrote an article about click baiting “for good” in which he talks about stealing from the click baiter’s toolbox to make good content get more attention.
The idea of providing people with an interesting bit of information they weren’t expecting is a pleasant one, for sure, and great content deserves all the views it can get, but…
… I despise click baiting anyway.
Or rather, I despise the fact that it is necessary. Being the relentless idealist that I am, I am deeply convinced that people prefer to consume good content rather than provocatively worded crap with a saucy picture… but apparently I am wrong. I refuse to believe that the actual “content” of the typical click baiting stuff is something that genuinely interests people, though; I think the incredible amount of clicks they are able to generate is mostly due to their placement and ubiquity.
Take YouTube, for example. A few years ago, they introduced “recommended” videos, something which caused a bit of an uproar because back in the
good old day s people (by that I mean me) preferred to make their own choices about the content they consumed. Nowadays you can’t watch a single video without having a bunch of either “viral” or sponsored videos shoved in your face.
It doesn’t matter if the subject is something The Almighty Google has identified as something you might like; the whole “tailored to your preference” pretense is just that – an illusion. There are YouTube networks that have a task force of people working on ensuring that the videos of their people tick all of YouTube’s search algorithm’s boxes, so don’t talk to me about “improving my user experience”.
Another thing that irritates me is the list posts and websites that have become as ubiquitous to the internet as water is to Earth. Very little actual work goes into these kinds of posts, so these websites are literally making money off other peoples’ (mostly unsourced/uncredited) content – that’s insane.
I could go on and on about this (I won’t, because it’s late and I should be asleep) but basically it all comes down to this: I want to be able to choose the content I consume and not have the internet equivalent of a child poking me with a stick follow me around everywhere I go. It worries me that click baiting is necessary to make good content get the attention it deserves, but I will endure it if it means that good content continues to be produced.
I will rant against click baiting for stupid crap or earning profits off someone else’s work until the end of time, though.