Down With Click-Bait
As a content producer, the Internet puts certain constraints on me. What are these constraints? That I have to employ focus keywords strategically for one. That I need to have actionable titles to get the reader hooked (for ex. What are the Seven Cheapest Destinations of 2017?) for another. If all that wasn’t enough, I need to keep in mind that the fate of my content’s “search ranking” depends on an inanimate search-engine bot.
All these “online content marketing optimization” strategies have given rise to vacuous “click-bait” content. Ideas are condensed to lists in the form of those ridiculous listicles, that for the most part have wafer-thin data supporting its rankings anyway! Any Tom-Dick-and-Harry with a knack for writing colloquial English can produce “click-bait” content if he can jot things down into lists.
Cue to my: “but I am a true artist” moment wherein I whine about the lack of integrity of these content producing strategies. To dig myself out of my own pretentious (?) bubble, perhaps, I can bring myself to understand the necessity for these tactics. You have to compete and vie for attention from the ever-roving eye and fingertip nowadays.
You have to compete and vie for attention from the ever-roving eye and the nimble fingertip nowadays. You have to hook, line and sinker your reader from the first word. In other words, you have to resort to gimmicks. I have a particular distaste for gimmicks and trends which brings me to my next gripe: Internet Viral Sensations.
The New Fifteen Seconds of Fame
Going “viral” is the new benchmark for the “fifteen seconds of fame” phenomenon. The characteristics of a viral or a trending video are manifold and probably cannot be condensed into a list per se (sorry listicle readers).
Some honorable mentions include: Salt Bae, the pony-tailed muscular man with what can only be described as a “zany salting technique” went viral on Instagram at the start of the year. Meanwhile, last year a catchy song titled Pineapple Pen was the second highest viewed video on YouTube. And, one of my personal favorites this year was the BBC Dad interview with the fearless toddlers.
What most of these videos loosely have in common is that they could be categorized as short, instantly gratifying videos that don’t make us think too much and give us instantaneous amusement. It is as though we have started starving ourselves of “thought-provoking” material in exchange for quick laughs.
Get Me Out of This Bubble!
For the past few months, I’ve been trying to decipher whether or not I truly live in a bubble or not. The truth is that I do (in fact, we all do but more on that later). Hence, I might not understand why it might appeal to others to watch funny cat videos on the internet or even to listen Pineapple Pen man’s style of cringe-pop music. So, I’ll leave it alone.
Viva le Viral!