Man Computes the Meaning of Life, You Won't Believe What He Found....

by Tom Davis

Facebook takes aim at Click Bait, you should too

Finally Facebook does something for users.  This may actually be the best reason to let Facebook manage my news feed. I wish them great success. Any amount of success controlling click bait can only make the world better.

Everyone knows this type of headline. I think this cartoon from xkcd says it best.

It is pretty obvious when ads are click bait. After all they are trying to sell something. But when “journalists” do it you have to think about where their priorities are. Sure, every media website needs clicks to show ads that generate income to pay for more reporting. But it should be obvious by now that the more outrageous the headline, the less substance you will find.

I learned a few years ago to stop clicking through to any headline from Huffington Post. But there are many offenders in the category. We have to learn to stop. They spend more effort on the headline than they do the content. Why? The content is not important, your click is what generates income.

Learn not to judge a book by its cover.

The real problem is that this will just get worse if we do not take some personal responsibility. We have to think before we click. Try not to react too quickly to headlines the grab your more basic instincts. Less clicks will be noticed, eventually click bait will drop back to the worst offenders. If not, we are all in trouble.

Traffic on the Web should not be based on headlines alone.

By the way, the man in my headline was Douglas Adams. The answer is: 49.

Sorry, I just had to.

I will end this post with a TED talk about this very problem. The talk rambles to some broader issues of behavior on the Internet, but it is still worth 6 minutes.