Clickbait and the Internet

So Boogie2988 has an interview up with Kid Behind A Camera of Angry Grandpa fame. (YouTube Link) It’s around 53 minutes long, so not for everyone. Parts of it are pretty emotional and real. Honestly I’m not even done watching it yet. I’m writing while it’s playing on the primary monitor.

The first thing they discuss in the interview is clickbait video titles. This, I think, is relevant to pretty much all content creators in a way. I hold no love for clickbait, really, but it exists because it works, and it’s worked for far longer than the internet has existed.

The question floating around in my head is what level of success requires it? Within the rather small community of Blaugustans I don’t really see it that much. Maybe it’s more prevalent in the larger blog community, it’s hard for me to say.

See, the example he uses of him experimenting with non-clickbait titles is the kind of title I would use. This is somewhat humorous to me, I don’t always like my titles, but I’m generally after a certain sort of casual tone that reflects the general content of a post. I’m usually fairly tame when it comes to expression. Yeah, I get angry, I get excited, I just don’t tend to express it as strongly as I feel it.

When I look back I can see where some of my most viewed posts are edging on that territory title-wise though. Wasn’t really intentional, but does it have to be intentional to be clickbait? Yeah, I kinda think it does. It’s also worth pointing out that those posts got the views they did because they were linked by an outside source that has many more readers than I do.

I have no idea where I was going with this.

I think most people dislike clickbait because it seems to be deceptive in nature, but I feel that all advertising is inherently deceptive in nature. Ultimately it’s up to every individual to determine if a given use is over the line for them or not. There are certainly news outlets that I consider over the line for me, but I also know many writers on major sites don’t get to choose their own headlines.

So I guess it’s just safe to assume all headlines on the internet are as sensationalized, overblown, and overstates as headlines always have been. I actually think that increased communication has made it much more obvious now than it ever was in the past.

I really gotta go buy some groceries and stuff now. Y’all take care.

3 thoughts on “Clickbait and the Internet

  1. Interesting post. I use a few different types of titles. My favorite and the one I use most often is to use a song title or a fragment of a lyric, preferably as obscure as possible. My criteria for that is that it has to be relevant in a way I could explain if pressed and that it comes from a band or a song that I would be willing to admit to liking. These days I also check that it’s represented on YouTube because last year I started what i intend to be a tradition of making a playlist based on all the musical titles I’ve used in the year.

    Second to that I like to use puns or wordplay that make me feel I’m being clever. I realize that’s not the same as making other people think I’m being clever.

    Thirdly, when I can’t think of either of the above, I tend to go with a straightforward “it is what it is” title.

    Very occasionally I will make a deliberate attempt at clickbait, usually when there’s some extremely hot topic around and I realize that if I go for one of my usual self-amusing titles I’ll miss out on a bunch of views I could have got from people who’ve never heard of me or my blog. I always feel a little dirty when I do that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I certainly understand the dirty feeling of using clickbait. It’s in that same area as “selling yourself” in an interview. Past a certain point the truth becomes stretched so thin as to be misleading and deceptive in nature.

      I’m sure competition is part of it too. Everybody and their family wants to make it big on YouTube but I don’t see a bunch of people running around trying to make it big in the blogosphere or whatever it’s called. I’m sure they exist, just not in the same numbers. Everyone wants to be the next Pewdiepie, and I don’t even know if there’s a blogging equivalent, much less who it is.

      I guess the short version is that I don’t think it was wise to make a direct comparison of YouTube channels to blogs like I did. Different product, different market.


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