This One Weird Trick Generates Clicks: On Clickbait and Public Trust [REBLOG]
My fellow Boston College Higher Education student, Adam Gismondi, is doing some really interesting research into social media and student engagement. (Check out his entire site. It’s full of fun thought-provoking tidbits.) I particularly enjoyed his new blog post on media literacy. Adam highlights an issue that I notice daily: clickbait. I recently put in place a personal rule when articles from the website Mashable come across my newsfeed: “No matter how interesting it looks, if it starts with a number, don’t click on it. It’s a waste of time.” It’s an odd thing. Numbers work in headlines, and admit that I also do it with my blog posts, but be wary, many sites don’t have the content to back it up. (Great title, Adam, very meta.) 🙂
[Upworthy Parody Headline via @UpWorthIt Twitter account]
Next Time Someone Shows You Something, Show Them This.
— Up Worth It (@UpWorthIt) January 13, 2014
Do you believe article headlines that you read on your social media feeds? I’ve been asking this question of students as part of my dissertation research to begin my understanding of how students make sense of new media and elements of the world around them. I’ll admit, I’m not so sure how I would answer the question myself. Although I’ve been let down often by hyperbolic headlines that promise to “restore my faith in humanity,” I’m probably still a bit too trusting in terms of my expectations of news stories online. Is this relentless optimism or gullibility? Perhaps both.
Upworthy, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, and a sea of others have all adopted the practice of writing sensationalized headlines that help to drive traffic to stories. “Clickbait” headlines…
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