Sorry made you click, but that was a clear example of clickbait. Clickbait….what is it?. Whether you think it’s on the rise, not a big deal, or the root of all evil, one thing is clear about clickbait, it is becoming more popular by the minute. Some, like Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith, narrowly define it as an article that doesn’t deliver on it’s headline’s promise. Others think it means quizzes, and Newspaper headlines. And then there are those who simply use it as shorthand for stuff they hate on social media.
Here’s what most people can agree on: Clickbait is annoying, but by god, it works — even when readers recognize it for what it is. The titles are the hooks on which people get caught on. Having a intriguing title is all it takes to attract people, even if it is misleading. The word’s substantial semantic drift may be behind some of this effectiveness. But a hefty helping of behavioral science is at play, too. Clickbait plays a lot on peoples curiosity; it makes the viewer want to know more, even if it is something irrelevant.
A number of clickbait stories are linked to conspiracies. Some of the most famous are; ‘End of the World’ posts and ‘Alien sighting’ posts. People most of the time would know that they would be fake, but they still would open the post to see it. These are all methods to grab the attention of the viewer. What’s mind blowing is that, even though people would know a post is clickbait, they still fall for it. Research shows that humans are willing to put up with massive amount of disappointment and frustration as long as there sometimes is what they are looking for. There is a big resemblance to the lottery, if you win once, there is that false hope that is then instilled that will make you want to do it again.
Nowadays clickbait has become a very useful tool for people that just want to be noticed on social media sites, and on the internet in general. And even though people are aware of it, they still fall for it. Is there anything that could be done? Should it be monitored?, or should we, the viewers, just be more careful?.