Friday, March 20, 2015

By the fourth level of meta-bait, our heads literally launched from our shoulders and exploded!

Clickbait was amusing.

Then it was annoying.

Then it was laughable.

Now, it's alarming—because it's training non-clickbaiters to think in clickbait and not even realize that they're part of the conspiracy.

You know how the original caption goes, of course:  You won't BELIEVE which two former major-league athletes got into a BAR BRAWL yesterday!

And then Sports Blog X shares the link and caption, with a comment:  OMG this is too funny!

And then the local newspaper, decimated and bankrupt and desperate for web content, reposts Sports Blog X's comment and the original caption, with a comment:  Do YOU think these two should be suspended for the season?

And then Average Reader brings it all to Average Social Media, with an opinion:  What a bunch of crap! This is no "bar brawl."

And then Average Reader's friends weigh in:

- LOL if that's a bar brawl then I'm the NBA commish.
- Dude totally should've had his nose bashed in for saying that.
- Wonder how many weeks ESPN will run this story?

The layers of intrigue mount... and mount... until—well, you would have to click here to see what happens next.

It relies on something called the "five Ws" of journalism: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How. The result, for our fabulous free and open Interconnected Network of Computers where everyone's a published author, would be the end of soooo many minutes of wasted reading and viewing time and a return to this:

Michael Barkley and Charles Jordan Briefly Detained After Loud Disagreement in Vegas Casino.

Unfortunately, that kind of clarity and informational "front loading" is antithetical to the easy monetizing of information by withholding key facts for as long as possible. And so, we keep on clicking for capitalism.


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