Dan Carlson was a man like any other. He punched in at work, came home to his family and kissed his kids goodnight before bed. He drove a Stratus, enjoyed televised sporting events and a frosty cool beverage on a hot day. But this 37 year old father of 3 from Beaver, UT found out at this past Friday was a day unlike any other.
“I was browsing my favorite sports news site when I saw something on the sidebar that sparked my interest.’ Dan told us. ‘The headline promised excitement and intrigue, but in the end it was just pages and pages of ads and information I already knew. I was very disappointed.’ Dan had become a victim of ‘Clickbait’.
Accoring to Wikipedia Clickbait is ‘a pejorative term describing web content that is aimed at generating online advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy, relying on sensationalist headlines to attract click-throughs and to encourage forwarding of the material over online social networks. Clickbait headlines typically aim to exploit the “curiosity gap”, providing just enough information to make the reader curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked content.’
More and more people worldwide are finding out the hard way that unbelievable headlines are nothing more but a ploy to get them to click on a link to cruddy, boring websites. ‘I wear horse blinders when I browse the web now,’ said Sharon, a 32 year old housewife from Belleville, OH, ‘or I won’t get my housework done for a week and a half. There are just too many unbelievable videos I won’t expect the ending to!’
Craig Stapleton, Professor of Social Media at Petersburg Online University, said that he has to teach courses to deal with Clickbait awareness and the depression and mental illness occurring in its victims. ‘It’s a real problem. No one saw it coming.’ he lamented. The United States government itself has spent $3.8 billion this year alone fighting click bait and it’s effect on decent, hardworking Americans. Will it ever end? When will those of us online be safe? Maybe never.
After reading the disappointing clickbait article, Dan was hit by a bus and his head popped off, landing on a neighborhood lemonade stand.
When not writing satire for The Spew, Josh runs his travelog at joshxhenderson.com