- this one weird trick will rid you of your belly fat
- there is one food you should never eat if you want higher levels of testosterone
- you’ll never believe what happened next
- what happened next will shock you
- a guy took an ordinary box of crayons and what happened was… EPIC
- your doctor will hate you for using this
I get it. A little. People have been dying to sneak a peek at the freak show since P.T. Barnum stopped selling snake oil and opened up his Big Top. As most towns today lack a circus, the clickbait on the internet is the next best thing. After all, the Bearded Lady might have a real beard, not some glued-on collection of sheep shearings, and maybe, just maybe, there is a one-tenth of one percent chance that I could get big muscles by eating avocados and walnuts and distilled water in the proper proportions so what’s the harm in clicking?
What’s the harm? Glad you asked.
1) Clickbait puts money in people’s pockets, and not for good reasons. Every time you click on that crap, it causes a little cash register to ring. Add up the tens of thousands of little rings worldwide every minute on clickbait articles that are thinly veiled ads for ‘natural Viagra’ and pretty quickly, we’re talking about real money. For selling phony stuff.
2a) Clickbait contributes to the dumbification of the world. Clicking on the clickbait kills off braincells. I read a study about this once. On the internet.
2b) Studies have been done [Click here. It’s a real article. Trust me, I write on the internet] that show
- People do not read much beyond the headline and first few lines. Yes, even you and me.
- When people do read all the way to the end, clickbait headlines detract from the true meaning of the article.
3) You click on an article titled “You won’t believe what happened when dogs invade this college campus.” You see piles of dog poo on the campus square. That tells the faux-content creators of the world that we need more dog poo on the internet. We already have the Kardashians for that.
4) You lose your critical thinking skills when you click on clickbait. You start out as a witty, incisive bon vivant and turn into a guy who believes that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has done such a great job with pro football that he should run for public office.
Now, head over to Reddit for a Neil De Grasse Tyson AMA and then go back to looking at cute puppy pictures.
However you do it, stop clicking on clickbait. Or I may show up at your house with the Real Housewives of Atlanta and stage an intervention.
Feature image via NPR