I saw an article talking to the 20-year olds who write about 40-year olds, telling them what they can/can not do. The article was basically saying, “That’s bullshit! I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do.” And I agree. 100%. But here’s the thing, the only way those articles are going to stop being written? Is if we stop clicking.
We all need to understand the power of our clicks. Every time we click something we know is going to piss us off, we are validating the thing that is pissing us off. The internet is commodified in clicks. I haven’t clicked an article with titles shaming me as a parent, as a woman, as a liberal, or as a human being in AGES. And do you know why? Because Chris Hardwick went on a rant once on his podcast about headline-grabbing clickbait titles and how it has completely changed the dynamic in Hollywood and on the internet and it really opened my eyes to the power of a click. A click on a title that says, “What were the Hits and Misses at The Oscars” completely validates rating people for their clothing. And if you like that? THAT IS FINE! CLICK AWAY! But if you don’t like living in a society where it seems to be “okay” to voice your opinions on other people’s fashion/styling choices on a public forum? Then stop clicking.
There’s a new trend lately where people are writing articles bitching about common and angering tropes online. And I almost always agree 100%. But you know what? Nothing is going to change until we stop clicking. I saw several articles shared out with titles obviously shaming the parents of the 4-year old at the Cincinnati Zoo. Did I click any? No. Because I knew they’d make me angry and I didn’t want to validate that by clicking. Writing articles ABOUT the terrible clickbait articles is actually going to make it worse.
What we need to do is what the adults always told us to do growing up: If someone is being mean? IGNORE THEM. If we give them attention they’ll keep doing it.
The rise of Click Bait has actually made my life really easy because online publishers WANT to write articles that get people angry so they title it in a way as angering as possible. And no matter how curious I am, I don’t click.
Sidenote: I do appreciate when a friend shares out an article and says, “PLEASE IGNORE THE TITLE. It’s just for clickbait. The article is actually really nice.” Because sometimes good articles are hidden behind terrible titles and that always provides me quite a conundrum.
Anything that even remotely seems like it’s going to shame me for something: Wearing scrunchies, sandals without properly pedicured feet, coloring hair blue if you’re 40+, whatever the title is indicating the words are going to shame me? I DO NOT CLICK IT. Anything that seems like it’s going to make me angry? I don’t click it. Am I missing out on good stuff? Maybe. But I don’t ever feel like my days are empty of great writing online. I find stuff constantly I love, so even if I’m missing some good stuff by avoiding click-bait crap? I’m still seeing plenty of well-written, thought provoking articles titled accordingly.
Just think before you click. If you know it’s going to upset you or anger you? Then save your click for someone who deserves it. Validate their hard work writing, not the asshole who just wants to get your blood boiling.