Why are Clickbaits reckless in the Social Media Era?
By John Praveen, August 7, 2017
How many times have you opened a link that has led you to a page that sells a miracle weight loss pill?
How many times have you opened links on Social Media, where you see the title starting “You will not believe how this girl….”?
Historically though, this was something Journalism houses used to use, printing sensationalist news articles, regardless of the veracity, to ensnare readers and increase subscriber numbers. And it worked!Clickbaiting works, but people use it for all the wrong reasons. It draws attention, and literally baits people to click through to a certain page on the internet. It is used widely by individuals as well as sketchily named groups on Social Media, with the latter having a penchant for the trick.
Remember the famous title constructions of the 80s? “UFO sighted at …. !”
With the advent of Social Media, it just got worse. Every single person online became a reporter; and every single one of them was spreading real news and hoaxes (albeit sometimes inadvertently) side by side. Go onto any Social Media now, and although a lot of securities exist, it is absolute pandemonium, what with the amount of junk and noise that is available out there. Social Media users took everything that was thrown at them to be veritable news – regardless of the source. Not just did they believe it, they promoted the posts.
A classic example of this was the Facebook Privacy Hoax that was around last year. That’s right, Boromir!
A blog post released last year, titled, “Why we quit our jobs in advertising to scrub toilets”, talks about the reality of, the now ubiquitous, “Quit my job and travel the world” posts. The authors of the blog find themselves responsible to portray the bleak flipside to the glamorous idea of travelling the world.
“So don’t let the bank of gorgeous photography fool you. Nuh uh. I am not at my fittest, slimmest or physically healthiest. We eat jam on crackers most days, get roughly 5hrs of sleep per night, and lug our extremely heavy bags through cobbled streets at 1am, trying to find our accommodation.”
Social Media offers an opportunity for us to understand how hoaxes could actually mislead and sway the masses. Take for example the news and posts that popped up during the 2016 US Elections, about the US Presidential candidate, Donald Trump. There were small outfits of teenagers operating out of a city in Macedonia, pumping pro-Trump fake news online.
It is such a pressing need right now for people to post the truth and not just spin stories that can avail more clicks. We have arrived at a time, where each of us is responsible for what we post or repost. Seriously, ‘Pass the secret’ was only a game we played when we were younger – we really need to clean up our act and stop acting like kids who ate a lot of chocolate.