Hating On Click-Bait

Room for Debate covers the insidious practice. Jazmine Hughes feels condescended to:

[T]he majority of backlash against click bait headlines is a response to the forced push of emotion that click bait content foists onto a consumer. The promise that “you won’t believe what comes next” or “you’ll never feel the same” deprives readers of their analytic agency and imposes an uncontextualized reaction on them. It’s aggressive, empty and intellectually reductive — or, simply, super annoying. There’s nothing wrong with an enticing headline, but pique my interest, don’t belittle my intelligence.

And Baratunde Thurston comments on its cry-wolf quality:

The occasional employment of a listicle or withheld information or you’ll-never-believe-this is fine. However, it’s not being used occasionally. It’s infecting all online information with a one-trick pony that is used over and over again until all we have are tricks. It’s the overuse that bugs me because — to overuse the metaphor — it misses the point of ponies! Ponies are supposed to help you get from point A to point B (often with your heavy burdens) — not just stand on their hind legs or chase their tails all day! The tricks are cute for a while, but ultimately we want to go somewhere.

On the positive side, this absurdity has inspired a new arena for humor. Over a year ago, my company hosted a “Comedy Hack Day” built around humor, and one team created a satirical site called Clickstrbait to lampoon this silly practice.