Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Candid Statement About Blogging And Articles

There seems to be a heavy ongoing trend in web article writing that lends itself to the term, "clickbait." If you're not familiar with that phrase, it's pretty much exactly what it sounds like; an article headline or tagline that baits you into clicking it, and more often than not, is misleading in some way.

A perfect example is a recurring ad I see that comes up on the Yahoo! main page feed entitled, "We Say Goodbye To Betty White" alongside a picture of her. Now, obviously, when a phrase like, "We say goodbye" is used, that carries a certain connotative meaning; it implies death. Instead, the article discusses Betty White potentially not being able to film full seasons of Hot In Cleveland. Instead of stating, "Betty White Leaves Cleveland" the title is purposely ambiguous and misleading just to get you to click it.


Or here's another one that's bothersome. You can see this a LOT lately:

"15 Things You Didn't Know About..." it's a constantly recurring headline that's becoming more and more popular as of the time of this writing. The problem I have with this is that the headline is automatically assuming something negative about you. The title says, "you don't know these things." One interpretation of that is that, "Oh, well these facts are so interesting and obscure that it's not possible you know them" which is assuming an awful lot about the writer and his/her research. The other interpretation is just that, you're not well read enough to know these things. I doubt the latter interpretation is what the writers are meaning to say, but it's still there.

Additionally, what happens to the article when it turns out you DO know some of these things? It makes the headline untrue, "Obviously I did know some of those things, so why did you tell me I didn't?" How likely are you to read another one of those articles if the last one didn't ring true?

This is why my articles try to avoid stating things in such absolutes. For example, in my article about The Brave Little Toaster, the headline is "The Best Disney Animated Movie You May Have Forgotten About." I put the word "may" in there for a specific reason, because I don't want to make a statement that goes to say, "YOU forgot about this" when for all I know, you love the movie and could NEVER have forgotten about it. The entire reason I wrote the piece is because personally, I have repeatedly neglected to mention the movie in conversations I've had with friends about the best Disney productions, which in turn has caused them to go, "Ohhh yeah, I forgot about that too!"

In my "Neglected Hits" segment, I state how many times I've heard a song on the radio, that way if someone can rebuke my assessment and say they don't think it's neglected at all, then at least they have an understanding of why I called it "neglected." I can't say for sure that a song isn't routinely played/broadcast everywhere, I can just comment on the areas I've listened to the radio in and conclude that if it's true for me, it may very well be true for others (but not all) as well.

My "Terrible Songs" segment pokes fun at music and myself, "Great Songs You Probably Don't Know" states that you "probably" don't know the song and then I go onto mention who it's so obscure in the article itself. The point I'm trying to make is that my articles try not to play down to my readers. If you're taking the time to read something I write, then I'm going to try and provide you with enjoyable content that is sincere in its approach; I'm not going to throw "clickbait" your way.

Other articles on other sites may get more clicks, hits, shares, etc, but I'm deliberately trying to avoid wasting your time. And if I am wasting it, let me know so I can try to improve the content so that I'm not doing that anymore.

More articles are coming about games, music, film, television, pop culture, etc, and I hope you stick around to see them. Meanwhile, for you faithful few who have been frequenting this blog, I sincerely thank you.

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