The Age of Clickbait and Listicles
I swear, I am like the number one sucker for Facebook clickbait.
Scientific proof that tequila is good for you and promotes weight loss has been the breakthrough I’ve been waiting for. Then you open the article and it claims that this “isn’t actually tested” and you think “Crap, they got me again.”
But isn’t it unfortunate that in order to get someone to click on an article you need a deceiving title?
Or the article needs to be in a list format.
“10 reasons you should try keto”
“6.5 ways to beat your hangover”
To click on something on the internet nowadays, people need to either be tricked or need to be convinced it will be written in a fun list with, hopefully, GIFs.
When did we need all information provided at a 2nd grade reading level?
It’s actually even been proven that on Medium that 6th to 8th grade reading level articles perform best. Congratulations to you reader, you’re absorbing your content at a ever-so slightly higher level than most Americans.
In 2019, I can read an article in 1 minute that, if written in 2014, would be maybe a 5 minute read. Convenient? Yes. Concerning? Also yes.
The Dark Side
No one is really considering the implications of consuming our information at this rate and at this lower level. Not only does it reduce the quality of writing online, but it reduces the quality of how people think.
Imagine trying to articulate your emotions and feelings when all you’ve ever read are lists? That is the reality for tons of people. 24% of adult Americans have not read a book in the past year according to Pew Research. These people, instead, are absorbing their news and facts from clickbait and listicle articles.
How do writers stop this?
By writing more. Not focusing on a catchy title and certainly putting an end the listicle phenomenon. Although, I can admit list articles can be fun, there is a time and place (ahem, Buzzfeed).
Through mediums like (hah) medium, everyone can up the ante on how information is received and distributed.