Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Archive for November 20th, 2019

Don’t Click

with 2 comments

It’s a game I play with myself almost every day I’m online. Don’t click on that bait. Sure, I’m curious about the 12 most outrageous ways some common thing we are eating/reading/handling/doing leads to these 16 unbelievable/startling/amazing/scary results that some doctor/study/company/environmentalist/yogi has recently revealed/published/announced/proclaimed/guaranteed.

One facet of clickbait-ology I am anxious to find out about is how the “number” is selected for these attention-getting carnival barkings. A quantity of 10 seems like a very dependable collection. It’s an even number. It’s double-digits. If I was making a list, my first inclination would be to shoot for 10. Maybe I just watched too many years of David Letterman and his Top-Ten List.

From that bias, I find myself puzzling over why a title would feature a list with 12 or 13 items, or even bother when there are only 5 or 6. I saw one once that boasted 17, which starts to press the boundaries of believability. I’m skeptical the source was really able to come up with 17 of anything on a topic that worked for a click-baitable headline.

I wonder what I could come up with to entice people to click through to a page of mine that has no redeeming value to offer in return.

“Never ever give in to the urge to read 10 answers to the most essential question ever pondered.”

You know, the number 10 doesn’t seem to work so well, after all.

I get it now. It’s too status quo. It’s ‘ok boomer.’

Instead, the more ridiculous, the better.

“Eleventeen reasons why things you are already doing won’t make enough difference to matter.”

“These 16 ideas never worked before, but they will now after you’ve read this!”

“Take a penny, leave a penny by clicking this article 7 times a day for 13 weeks and feed a hungry kitty that looks exactly like a unicorn.”

For the record, I don’t always win at my own game. One time, I clicked to see the umpteen most amazing images since the beginning of time. Then, I clicked and clicked and clicked about umpteen more times. Each image was on a unique ad-filled page that took a painfully long time to load. Luckily, the first thing to pop into view for each page was the table of new clickbait ads across the bottom with strange quantities of subjects for me to try “ignoring.”

No one said this game was going to be easy.



Written by johnwhays

November 20, 2019 at 7:00 am