Saturday, September 27, 2014

Click bait


A new and pithy phrase has entered popular usage,  click bait:  website content that is aimed at generating advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy and  relying on sensationalist headlines to attract click-throughs.  I've seen examples which are written in superlatives:   The sexiest dresses ever, or written with periods after each word:  Read. This. And. Cry.  Forever.   Inevitably, when the reader clicks through the dresses are nothing exceptional and the cry worthy story may involve a dog finding his  home after being lost.

The writer of the on-line blog may receive payment from the click through site.  The newsmagazine editor or news distributor may hire the journalist or writer for future articles depending upon how many people click through and perhaps read the article behind the click bait.

Even less desirable for the reader and even for society, if that is possible, is when the click bait is an outright deception and after clicking through that would be obvious to everyone.    A title that states:  Obama loves KKK turns out to be about the President eating a donut which is identified as a Krispy Kreme Kruller.  Wouldn't you feel used and sheepish if you clicked through that one? 

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