My Click-Bait Titles Serve a Deeper Purpose

Duncan Riach, Ph.D.

Every now and then, someone tells me that my titles are click-bait. It’s hard not to hear this as a criticism, but I have to admit that they really are click-bait. I’ve honed my skill at making titles that are click-bait but also true. A couple of my favorites are How I’m Training My Wife to Be Happy and How to Stop Your Clothes From Smelling of Vaginas, Bum Cracks, and Testicles.

Sometimes people only read the title and not the article. Then they’re often offended by the title, or they try to argue with me as if my position is the title and not the whole article. Often my titles are the opposite of what I believe, such as All Men Are Trash, which has elicited a comment from a non-reader: “What did someone do to you to make you say that all men are trash.”

But my articles are not just click-bait, they’re also read-bait. I spend a lot of time, effort, and care crafting content that’s easy-to-read, pleasurable, informative, novel, poetic, and inspiring. I want readers to lose track of time while they’re reading and to simply enjoy the process. Before they know it, they’ve reached the end.

Then, if they haven’t done so while reading, they often want to clap, so my articles are also clap-bait. They’re designed to elicit positive feedback because they’re designed to evoke strong emotions and to provide unusual perspectives.

Based on some of the comments, it seems that my articles are often inspiring, so they’re also inspire-bait. They can be emotionally-moving-bait. They make you think, so they’re think-bait. Every now and then I get feedback saying that my articles have changed people’s lives, or even helped to lead people out of crippling depression. So they can life-bait and success-bait too.

It seems as though my articles are also follow-bait; many people have followed my profile or signed up for my email newsletter to get more of this click-bait, read-bait, inspire-bait, and life-bait content.

So yeah, I write titles that people will click on, so that they can read the article that is designed to make them read and digest all of it, so that they can feel inspired to live more fulfilling lives. If I didn’t make the title click-bait then all of that other good stuff would not be able to happen.

Duncan Riach, Ph.D.

Written by

An engineer-psychologist focused on machine intelligence. I write from my own experience to support others in living more fulfilling lives | duncanriach.com

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