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posted by martyb on Thursday November 27 2014, @06:50AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the put-click-bait-in-the-title dept.

Ben Smith of Buzzfeed recently wrote that his site doesn’t traffic in “click bait” because the term applies to “tempting, vacuous ‘curiosity gap’ headlines” that mislead readers. But in an industry riddled with plagiarism, civil insensitivities and “hot takes,” “click bait” is still the worst insult you can hurl at a publication. Looking at the history of journalism, sensationalist teases have always been with us. In the past, the city newspaper version of click bait was the "extra" issued every hour or two. "Click bait takes it farther, or rather, faster," says Mark Bauerlein. "It’s not that all the content has degenerated. It’s that the delivery has sped up and the content can be blasted widely on the Internet." Gloria Mark, a professor specializing in human-computer interactions at the University of California, Irvine, says that click bait as a design element is a natural evolution, and consequence, of the way the Internet affects our flow of attention. "Many argue that click bait is not new, as newspapers have used enticing headlines to lure readers since the 19th century. What is new, however, is the combination of click bait with the design of hypermedia that leads us down cognitive paths that make it hard to find our way back to the original, intended task," says Mark. "It is part of the larger grand challenge we face in managing our focus of attention amid the sheer volume of digital information available."

Baratunde Thurston says that one good thing about click bait is that it has inspired a new arena for humor. "Over a year ago, my company hosted a “Comedy Hack Day" built around humor, and one team created a satirical site called Clickstrbait to lampoon this silly practice. Since then The Onion has gone further, successfully launching ClickHole.com, which parodies (and monetizes) the click bait phenomenon with articles like '6 Sunsets That Would Be More Peaceful If It Weren't For Your Loudly Growling Stomach.'" If Thurston is right then the only thing that will defeat click bait overuse is time. "Until then, at least we have jokes."

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  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday November 27 2014, @07:07AM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday November 27 2014, @07:07AM (#120530) Journal

    Does it seem to anyone else that the question in the title was never answered?

    The reason we have click bait is to sell ads. It doesn't need any more explanation than that,

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by wonkey_monkey on Thursday November 27 2014, @08:20AM

      by wonkey_monkey (279) on Thursday November 27 2014, @08:20AM (#120540) Homepage

      Does it seem to anyone else that the question in the title was never answered?

      Hmm... what's the two-word phrase for headlines like that again?

      --
      systemd is Roko's Basilisk
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by khallow on Thursday November 27 2014, @03:13PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday November 27 2014, @03:13PM (#120615) Journal

      Does it seem to anyone else that the question in the title was never answered?

      First, it's not a question. Second, there's this:

      Gloria Mark, a professor specializing in human-computer interactions at the University of California, Irvine, says that click bait as a design element is a natural evolution, and consequence, of the way the Internet affects our flow of attention. "Many argue that click bait is not new, as newspapers have used enticing headlines to lure readers since the 19th century. What is new, however, is the combination of click bait with the design of hypermedia that leads us down cognitive paths that make it hard to find our way back to the original, intended task," says Mark. "It is part of the larger grand challenge we face in managing our focus of attention amid the sheer volume of digital information available."

      Clickers are being led down dark, cognitive alleyways and getting cognitively mugged.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by VanessaE on Thursday November 27 2014, @07:12AM

    by VanessaE (3396) <vanessa.e.dannenberg@gmail.com> on Thursday November 27 2014, @07:12AM (#120532) Homepage Journal

    Internet users the world over have discovered this this one weird trick [adblockplus.org] to help defeat the point of clickbaiting. What happened next will shock you!

    • (Score: 2) by mtrycz on Thursday November 27 2014, @01:08PM

      by mtrycz (60) on Thursday November 27 2014, @01:08PM (#120578)

      Ad agencies hate him!

      --
      In capitalist America, ads view YOU!
  • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Thursday November 27 2014, @07:18AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Thursday November 27 2014, @07:18AM (#120535) Journal

    So, nice piece of fish here! Akule! Mackrel! Sculpin! If you are a fish, come on in for a free lunch! Ignore the hooks! What, you have Hook-buster? Well that is too bad. We could have had a relationship. One where some of you became some of me. Or at least, internetish-wise, some of your money could have become my money. Crap, here comes a Vampire Squid! Could never figure out how to make money out of those.

    --
    Someone please explain to Hemo that my AC posts never get moderated because no one understands them. (Stolen AC sig. )
    • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Friday November 28 2014, @05:54AM

      by aristarchus (2645) on Friday November 28 2014, @05:54AM (#120782) Journal

      And after enough training, you can become a Master Baiter! C'mon people! It's just hanging there! Figuratively speaking.

      --
      Someone please explain to Hemo that my AC posts never get moderated because no one understands them. (Stolen AC sig. )
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by GungnirSniper on Thursday November 27 2014, @08:05AM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Thursday November 27 2014, @08:05AM (#120538) Journal

    The difference between newspaper headlines and link titles is that the headline usually has some usable info in it. Clickbait is often crap like "You won't believe what this girl fit in her..." car. It's intentionally written as to be useless until clicked.

    In the end it's just an extension of the "film at 11" meme. It is just enough to get you to watch. "What must-have Christmas toy has lead paint? Tune into Eyewitless News tonight!"

    • (Score: 1) by lizardloop on Thursday November 27 2014, @01:12PM

      by lizardloop (4716) on Thursday November 27 2014, @01:12PM (#120582) Journal

      Exactly. The best definition of click bait I read was "a headline that conveys no information but will entice morons to click".

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27 2014, @02:26PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27 2014, @02:26PM (#120602)

        entice morons to click

        Morons, indeed! The idiots. (BTW, I clicked on every word of your post two or three times, and none led to that definition you read. You forgot the link.)

  • (Score: 1) by Darth Turbogeek on Thursday November 27 2014, @10:14AM

    by Darth Turbogeek (1073) on Thursday November 27 2014, @10:14AM (#120554)

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPE!

    That site is the very definition of clickbait utter shit. Who the fuck does he think is fooling?

  • (Score: 1) by dlb on Thursday November 27 2014, @01:21PM

    by dlb (4790) on Thursday November 27 2014, @01:21PM (#120588)
    Stroll through the check-out of any grocery store (or Target, or Walmart, etc.) and you'll see lining the isle to either side of you click-bait publications that have been enticing "Enquiring Minds who need to know!) since your parents, grandparents, and maybe even great grandparents bought and consumed those juicy tabloids of delight.

    Why we like being teased like that is confusing. Even more baffling is how well that stuff works. (Any guesses as to how long we've been titillating ourselves on all those latest issues [wikipedia.org] of celeb gossip?)
  • (Score: 1) by monster on Thursday November 27 2014, @03:28PM

    by monster (1260) on Thursday November 27 2014, @03:28PM (#120619) Journal

    Nice try, Hugh Pickens, but I'm not falling for it. I'm not going to click on any of those click-baity links you provide :P

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27 2014, @06:25PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27 2014, @06:25PM (#120660)

    About 20 years ago he thought, I can work my butt off at the gym and get these B movie parts or... I can live the good life, sell photos to web sites for their "30 Hollywood Stars who Lost their Looks" pieces, and sit back collect royalty checks.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 28 2014, @11:28AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 28 2014, @11:28AM (#120812)

    Look At This One Thing We Could Easily Spell Out in the Headline But Won't.