I have talked about clickbait a few times on my blog. One post – My Definition of ClickBait July 31, 2019. From last year’s post:
I tend to use a broader definition of clickbait (What is ClickBait?) than most people although Wikipedia has done a pretty good job of describing it. In my personal opinion, it doesn’t have to meet the deception requirement that may be needed for criminal intent. The fact it exploits potential viewers is more than enough for my definition of clickbait.
Without the element of deception, it does not qualify as clickbait. The borderline cases happen when a content creator inserts a very short segment in order to serve as justification for a provocative thumbnail, when the vast majority of the content has nothing to do with this short segment or thumbnail. Here, a strong case for clickbait can be made, as the overriding characteristic is deception for the purpose of exploiting the user.
A good example of minor clickbait is when YouTube shows a photo in the still image of the video that isn’t in the video anywhere – it may or may not meet the deception requirement, but it generally meets the exploitation standard. There are some sites that I no longer visit because they are major clickbait sites. These sites often offer a tease of find out why somebody left a TV show, movie, etc., but then don’t include the reason anywhere in the numerous pages you have to click through. In most cases, you have to click through 20 – 80+ pages that are ad intensive. In many cases, the ads are 1/3 to 2/3 of the content on each of these pages. There is no valid reason to require people to scroll through that many pages when they could have put it on one page.
Thankfully, only a very small percentage of blogs I read use clickbait. With YouTube, it’s becoming more common. Using most of the YouTubers who post 1 – 5 times/day on the stimulus package, many of them intentionally use clickbait titles as part of their gimmick. A good example was one where the title was about a $4,000 stimulus check. He knew it wasn’t a stimulus check. It’s a tax credit if it passes where you can get a percentage of the money spent doing things that qualify for the tax credit if it passes. At this point, it’s up in the air if it will pass. The shortened title included $4,000 Stimulus Check, but the full title indicated it was a credit. Yet, the photo showed a check indicating $4,000. That’s clickbait in my book.
I would add those who mention interviews with government officials or politicians as if those interviews matter. What matters is what does and doesn’t get passed. Many of the things won’t get passed so stop wasting people’s time talking about them. Worse, some vloggers have reading comprehension issues or didn’t bother to read the articles or interviews they mention. If they had read them or watched the interviews, they would know where the person stood on the issue. Case in point – some accountant had issues with the $4,000 tax credit, but he didn’t bother to read the article or he would understand why being against it was a moot point.