BY TAMARAH WALLACE
You scroll down a historical web page scanning for a short answer to your long essay prompt. As you realize that this site contains information that is of no use to you, a brightly colored picture with an equally eye-catching heading calls your attention.
With one left click, you are transported on a seemingly never-ending journey down a written rabbit hole. And much like Alice, you end up far from home, stranded in a sea of instances that are not at all as they seem.
“I loathe clickbait,” CTV member Felipe Lopez said. “It’s very easy for me to identify it when browsing online, but sometimes I can’t help but click on it because I start to wonder if what it advertises is true or not. It’s usually not.”
Clickbait can be defined as content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page as per the Oxford Dictionary or as “one of the most annoying occurrences on the Internet,” according to some members of the CCHS student body.
From online articles to YouTube videos, clickbait can lead users to assume false information or feel disappointed upon examination of, at times, outlandish material that has little to do with the original titled introduction. It blatantly speaks to the surge of inauthentic information on the Internet, contributing to a more uninformed society.
However, what if I told you that the benefits of this practice could perhaps outweigh the costs?
“I think that in today’s society people are used to the internet and videos in general, so clickbait is a sort of necessary evil for people who make a living through YouTube and the like,” student life editor of the Roundup Stav Sharoni said.
While clickbait is generally seen as an inconsiderate nuisance, it covertly stands as an advertisement mechanism. As the main goal of many creators is to ensure maximum review of their work by an interested audience, clickbait is therefore used to further that particular agenda. It specifically provides a vetted potential following who are specifically curious about the topic surrounding the staged heading.
“In many cases, the title may be very misleading and after you’re done you realize you’ve wasted time on that piece of content that had nothing to do or never completely fulfilled what the clickable title said,” staff writer of the Roundup Atiya Pitaktrakul said. “However, it’s a way for companies and creators to draw more of a crowd to their content at the expense of their authenticity and reliability.”
This poses an interesting question to the creative community of the world: is the revenue or fame resulting from deception worth the respect of your readers or viewers? And simultaneously, this issue doesn’t only fall upon those who use this technique, but us, the consumers, as well. We must ask ourselves if we have deteriorated the quality of media with our need for fun, alarming titles. Why has it become necessary for lies to be told in order to have us become focused on a work?
So next time, when you see an article with an obviously outrageous claim as its label- such as “Why too many vegetables can kill you… Read now!”, consider ignoring the title and trying to enjoy the substance behind what is being presented.