Clickbait: Why Does it Suck Us in Every Time?
Although it clogs up our newsfeed every day, the task of simply scrolling by an article on “These Unofficial Photos of the iPhone 7” is a modern day Sisyphean challenge.
Clickbait is the web-based content designed solely for the generating online advertisement. The articles used to promote click-rate, whet the appetite of the scroller into pressing to see more. However, upon such an action, the reader is faced with an onslaught of advertisements masked as “Continue” buttons or energetic GIFs forcing themselves onto their mobile screens. The viewer meanwhile desperately seeking the tiny “X” to continue the punishing journey to guilty pleasure euphoria they were promised upon their initial click.
With Facebook announcing last week that it will crackdown on Clickbait, the expectation of the technological consumer is for newsfeed to only include that of those extended the virtual hand of friendship. However, this commercialized content has been fed into every aspect of modern life. Clickbait has in fact become so integral into the human experience that it was in August 2014, added to the Oxford English Dictionary, thus solidifying its status to the English vernacular.
So, why despite a general anger towards these stories are we so drawn in by them?
These may be justified by the nature of the human condition. We are curious creatures. Clickbait functions on the very premise of providing enough information in the headline to capture the interest of the reader, but it does not provide any answers: in essence, it provides a cliffhanger.
As a race, we are drawn in by what we do not know. Entire genres and franchises within cinema, books, comics and other media have been developed on that very premise. We are not built to resist the temptation exemplified even in our fabled beginnings with Adam and Eve.
So is the answer to dispel of curiosity and continue on not asking questions? No. That would perhaps be a modern day fairy tale. But, we live on in the hope that
one day that click bait will perhaps answer our question on the first page, without a tortuous battle with pop ups and a quest through pages to get the whole story. Perhaps one day in a land far far away...