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Headlines (Click Bait)

As we slowly abandon our tradition of reading newspapers and replace that ritual with reading newsfeeds from virtual news organizations online, a curious hygienic outcome has occurred. Our fingers have become less black from the filthy newsprint of those newspapers.

A society that now craves immediacy of news over accuracy of news is saving a lot of money. Since we no longer have to tip our paperboy every Christmas for daily delivery, we find our bank accounts are annually gaining hundreds of dollars a year with unspent newspaper subscriptions. This is of course a temporary status, as the WiFI costs continue to escalate, but thankfully the tipping to our internet provider is now optional.

The art of writing enticing headlines to guarantee article readership, continues to be an unappreciated art form. I remember grocery shopping with my mother and as she slowly wrote a cheque for her purchases , I was forced to read headlines from tabloid journals like The National Enquirer or Star Magazines. “Statue of Elvis found on Mars” or “The World Will End in 42 Days” caught my attention, as mother updated her bankbook and paper grocery bags were carefully arranged in our shopping cart.

Headline writing is the key to readership in the new over information world. Old movies often had a young lad wearing shorts and a cap, yelling “Extra, Extra read all about it” to help drive sales of the day’s news. The principle of immediacy and instant gratification has been with us for a very long time.

This week I was a participant in this click linking game, as a headline tapped into my morbid sense of curiosity:

40,000 smoke alarms that may not detect smoke recalled in Canada

Before I even clicked on this headline of few thoughts swirled in my susceptible mind. First I thought Smoke alarms have some important functions. Your smoke alarm location should be unnoticeable. Rarely do household decorators plan the theme of your rooms decor based on the shape and location of your smoke detector. There is now a day dedicated to reminding you to  test the batteries of this little life saving device. Finally of all the roles  your discreetly located smoke detector has, I would suggest the most important function of this little circle on your ceiling must perform well, is unquestionably its ability to detect smoke. I clicked the headline.

The clicking of this link provided exactly what it promised.  That is not a always the case these days. A relatively new phrase that criticizes computer generated news is “Click bait”. I have been accused of this dirty little trick with my writings, https://breakingwell.com/2015/05/14/murder-at-the-drive-through/. The essence of this accusation is that a headline will have absolutely nothing to do with the article, and readers are constantly duped into clicking on a headline that ultimately has nothing to do with that well written alluring title.

This new click bait phenomena got me to thinking.  Truthfully it got me to look up the correct spelling of phenomena first, but after that it got me to thinking.  Here is a job I would be outstanding at, as I have been told numerous times that I never say what I mean. This idea excited me and I started ruminating, and after I looked up the meaning of the word ruminating, I got even more excited.  After the excitement subsided it became clear that this Click baiting headline writing is the job I was destined to do.  What follows is my audition to all the online news organizations who have placed their headline writers on probation for their shoddy work.

For those who are also contemplating this type of work “RECALL” is a word you want to use often in your headline.

Toyota Recalls millions of…    Click

After you have clicked on this link you will discover that it is a rather nostalgic piece where Toyota recalls millions of memories from the good old days when things were so much simpler and a Corolla was affordable car option.

Once you master the art of deception with your headline writing it is time to move on to just making stuff up.

Whirlpool Stoves Recalled…   Click

Whirlpool stoves recalled because their new artificial intelligence are making judgements on your recipes and ingredients. Some ranges are refusing to operate if you add too much paprika to a simmering pot.  A stove that doesn’t cook is like a smoke detector that doesn’t detect smoke.

Ashtray Company declares for Bankruptcy…   Click

Sometimes you just have to write an article that is obvious.  This gives the reader a sense of superior intelligence as they tell their friends, “You know I saw this one coming!”

Tap Dancing Now Illegal…    Click

This link sends you to a plumber’s website that offers great deals on brass fitted taps to help upgrade your kitchen. At the end of the promotional piece they admit that tap dancing is still legal with a permit.

Hangers that hang themselves now refundable at your Local Dollar Store…   Click

This headline will appeal to anyone who needs less violent, suicidal hangers in their closet.  A second click on this article will advertise a great deal on friendly less psychotic plastic hangers.

Kitty Litter company Charged with Littering…    Click

This is the kind of headline people can’t resist.  There will be a million pictures of cute little kittens with this link because the internet is seriously lacking cute cat pictures.

Cell Phone survey finds it is very hard to re Sell Cell Phones…   Click

Like the ashtray bankruptcy article this is a link to the obvious and the impossibility of keeping up with smart phone technology.  It will also expose what a bad phone plan you currently have and question why you signed that Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with your shiny, new, gold, Trump Smart Phone.

Drug Company withdraws cure, as product effects sales of more profitable treatment drug…   Click

This click will link you to some of the fundamentals of business you don’t understand because you got your MBA degree online.

So before you click a link, remember that links often disappoint. My frustration with separating link sausages for Sunday brunch is legendary. TV viewers’ disappointment with Linc’s (real name Lincoln) character on the Mod Squad led to the early cancelation of that show. Links will lead to other links, that will lead to other links and before you know it, you are visiting a porn site that links you to a community that supports the NRA.

I suppose to elevate the quality of any writing on links, one should quote the greatest link of all, Abraham Lincoln. In the ultimate measure of click bait, Linking to a Lincoln quote, will triple my the LinkedIn links this week.

“The ballot is stronger than the bullet!”  Abraham Lincoln

Well Mr. Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth might disagree with that one.

Cue the Blong:  With this weekend’s overwhelming protest by students about current gun culture it might be time to revisit a song I wrote 8 massive shootings ago… “Where’s My Gun?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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