Kill the Clickbait!


I was recently reading a newsletter that *usually* contains a solid mix technical white paper, state-of-the-industry and current events opinion articles, and sponsored content that is always a blend of the first two with some advertising thrown


Today, as I was unwittingly clicking through my trusted info source, I fell into a trap, a clickbait article.  Clickbait is something most web citizens have been forced to become deft at avoiding as we navigate our way through the online ether.  But I fell victim, because my guard was down and I felt safe.  At first, I was angry, incredulous at the publishing agency.  “Why would they put this garbage in here.”  But then, my logic set in.  “It’s not the fault of the publication, this was a sponsored article” I thought. So I turned my focus to the writer of the article.  I asked myself, why would someone create this vacuous article, slap an attention grabbing and false headline on it, and push it out into the world like toxic sludge leaving a factory?


And then the truth hit me.  


The sad, disappointing truth.


It wasn’t the fault of the publisher. Nor was it the writer, the email client, or even my computer screen.


It was my fault.  My fault for clicking the link.  My fault for lingering on the article, giving it precious eye-ball seconds after I’d realized it was click-bait, searching for some deeper meaning or excellent point I knew just wasn’t there.


So I pulled myself up by my proverbial bootstraps, stiffened my virtual upper lip, and set out to change the world.  To rid everyone of the scourge of clickbait.  My plan?  To start by asking you, the online community a question.


How do we kill clickbait?


I performed some thought experiments:

Call out the writer in a public forum!

Result: You become an internet troll, give both the article and writer more viewership, and discredit yourself in the process.

Stop clicking on clickbait!

Result: You never address the root of the problem.  The status quo is maintained, and you one day, like me, fall victim to a well-laid (or perhaps boldly titled) headline.

Create better, well researched content, founded on fact and produced with skill and conviction!

Result: You join the ranks of the news agencies already at war with fake-news in the seemingly endless battle for viewership.  And maybe you the future...maybe?

Read great content, published by reputable online sources

Result: A great step in the right direction, but certainly not enough.  How do find said content? You can’t always trust aggregators, excellent content isn’t always promoted as well as it’s written, and no one has unlimited time to waste searching for content to read!


Ultimately, I know there isn’t a silver bullet.  The answer probably contains all of these tactics, and more.


One solution is to head over to our community page. You will only find meaningful content, written by people who love Drupal and it’s community, but that isn’t enough.


So I ask you, ney implore you answer this question: How do we kill clickbait?  Share your ideas with us:  Twitter @NewValleyMedia #Killtheclickbait


- Written by Adam Knox, Community Liaison