Clickbait and Trenches
Remember the statement, video killed the rock star? Could it be happening all over again, history repeating itself again?
Way back in 2014 Facebook announced their intentions to suppress clickbait, knowingly stating that stores with Clickbait Headlines will drown out content from friends and pages that people may actually care about. (Forbes, Amit Choudry, FB is going to suppress “Click-Bait” articles, 08.02.2014). Did that happen? No!
This year, clickbait will be the death of journalism according to PBS (PBS, Jefferey Dvoikin, Why Clickbait will bring about the death of journalism -07-15-16). Now, kindly, take a step back a moment and indulge me. Do we need to blame the battleground of digital technology for the decline in newspapers and broadcasting? Is digital continually foraging a path or is it destroying centuries of creativity and productivity? How would we feel if we’re the rat of rat of racing for the new millennia? Is it so far-fetched? Look at all we have accomplished, we employ Air B&B without hotels, and Uber, without cars to accommodate our needs. Do we need the journalists of old, or should we sell out to free-lance writers that bring their own spin to the material? Could be we possibly selling ourselves short? Were we really getting unbiased news before?
There is the ease with the new deal, a built in cost effectiveness, and simplicity that goes along with digital, however, wages, working conditions, and company morale seem to take a swim in the toilet. Unions, even journalistic heavy hitters, are powerless, accepting their choices and influences, because they know they are now limited. Smaller companies and start-ups, are now seeming to thrive. Those that once never posted news of substance, yes you know what I mean, the cat videos of the world, like Buzzfeed, have been able to easily raise 850 million to get their foot in the door in 2015 to cover the news and film industry. You know with the pressure on legacy media, was it a matter of time? Conflicting ideas? Or were we rife with strife and begging for something new to come along? Those that have been doing this a long time or those we need to thank for “clickbaiting” – And before you think you know the rest of the sentence, you don’t. It’s not those with the new businesses and start-ups, it’s the oppressed legacies out there, those old edifices that are trying to compete in a different market outside their comfort zone. I’ve done the research, in order to compete, we’ve forced their hand – and in order to survive, they’ve partnered with financial backers through ads and other innovative methods to create click bait.
So now on the edge of our seats, we want to know, what exactly is clickbait right? We’re all aware that when links are posted to headlines – they can encourage people to click over to see more of that swimmy headline, it’s enticing, it’s promising, and has a big button that says click here for more information. A lot of times we are game, hoping to get that scoop, but as time has gone buy – those links have become more and more vague. You don’t know if you are going to get the latest in the article that you are reading, or if a cartoon axe is gonna pop out and whack you in the kisser and that might be all there is to your clickbait. So you’ve lost time, clicked away from your article, some arse somewhere is calculating the analytics that you cannot stay on a page – and overall you’re let down. So much in fact that you may just say forget it to what you were reading in the first place. Now if you’re like me, you say “f” it – and don’t try and make your way back. Besides, the internet IS one of those rare places, where in 29 seconds you can get lost again. They know this, and it’s no accident. Obviously clickbait bears out in the long run, and for those with a small attention span, one of these Twitter kings, it may be the best thing since sliced bread.
Clickbait is rarely newsworthy, but oh it gravitates us towards hitting that button just to see what’s on the other side. We know there is nothing monumental or life changing, yet we love having that tidbit the next morning at the coffee maker or ice cooler yes? It was explained to me that it’s not really news, but it is eye candy and in this day and age of digital clicks, where we employ people to do actuary work but on a sublime level of the amount of clicks ensued, we have to come up with something that will steal people away even for a moment. There are algorithms’ out there right now being drawn up to determine if a website is real or clickbait, just by the amount of time you and I spend on them. If we open and close them immediately, then they have utterly failed with their clickbait nuances, however, given a certain amount of seconds, it becomes “made you look” – and there is potential for selling and such down the line, as they have identified the type that are interested in the clickaroo sites. Now add money into that and corporate ads. Sponsors that have paid to have good intentioned journalists articles in the midst, in hoping that even if one person clicks, then well money is made. In the day and age of cat video mega clicks, what is a self-respecting journalist supposed to do to make ends meet? Not employed steadily by the big boys, free-lancing when they can, is this the next step?
I wanted to try and create a few part article this week where we discuss, clickbait yes, but then there are some other shady things we need to reveal – such as like-baiting (just to get the hell away from pop-ups – we agree and minimize things we don’t care about, but THEY do) and even better, I want a forum, start thinking now – when did journalism die? Was it recently with the advent of like-baiting? Click-baiting? Or think back further, was it in the 80’s with news dumping and MSNBC and CNN? But then it may go back even further when investing in the news was money and it turned into pleasing shareholders? Call me a fiery red head that knows nothing, (You know nothing John Snow) perhaps there was never unbiased news as far back as we know? It is always told from someone’s angle yes?
Put on your thinking caps, Adzory wants to know, and we’re calling you out.
Happy Tuesday from the trenches