Of course, a claim like that is absolutely ridiculous. It would be impossible to verify to any respectable degree, and is entirely worthless with or without such verification. Still…was it part of the reason you clicked the link today?
Honestly, did you want to prove you weren’t among that miserable 98% of idiots who will never understand what you do?
Did you even bother to check the math above, or did knowing more than 98% just sound better than knowing more than 88% of people?
Did you check that time?
I’ll admit, the entire block of text above has been a heinous waste of time, but read on…you won’t believe what’s next!
These are the sorts of headlines we see every day—whether trawling Facebook, or trying to make it through the coverage on your preferred ‘news’ site.
Clickbait is the simple understanding that people interact with things that engage them—that cause a reaction, rather than things that present an interesting idea, or a challenging but important topic. People as a mass don’t want the best, they want what’s catchy.
Spoiler alert: This works because people are—on the whole—dumb animals, who are simply reacting to stimuli in whatever way comes natural to them.
Do any of these seem familiar to you?
- You won’t believe…
- People can’t stop…
- Find out what people in your neighbourhood are all talking about…
- The secret they don’t want you to know…
- They are trying to erase this one secret from the internet…
- Only 82% will know this…
When you see wild claims like this, rest assured that the underlying promise is nothing more than vapid tripe for cheap clicks. Ultimately, it’s nothing more than a cynical attempt to increase page hits, and hence advertising revenue.
Nonetheless, many people spend the better part of their time online falling into these incessant traps, supporting websites which generate profit, but not content. Of course, since the model works, it continues to be reinforced, which makes such Clickbait ever more prevalent, and real content that much harder to find.
The secret behind this success is triggering a reaction from a title, and more often than not, that reaction is an urge to prove that you, the reader, are better than ‘those statistics’ the title refers to. You know better, you are better, you have something other people don’t, and dammit, you’ll prove it by following the instructions and typing an English word with two O’s!
If you see an article with 5M comments all disproving the grandiose claim of the article, it might be worth considering that you’ve been duped.
So, here’s a bit of advice, from us to you. The next time you read something online that gives you an urge to prove you’re especially smart or special—just save yourself the trouble.
With our warmest regrets,
-Brad OH Inc.