I’m on a roll!
I have found that there are people who despise clickbait headlines as much as I do. People who refuse to click on stories like, “I Went Into a Grocery Store to Buy Cereal. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next.”
We—my readers and I—are sick and tired of exaggerated and outright deceptive headlines. We want to know what a story is really about without having to pay tribute to a sleazy website that’s trying to trick us into clicking.
My revenge on the worst offenders? I do the clicking for you, and offer you these clickbait spoilers.
Spoiler: The billions of plastic trash particles floating in our oceans represent a serious problem. Greater minds than this 19-year-old’s have considered (and rejected) his solution, however. It seems to be a matter of building long chains of floats that “capture and concentrate the plastic before it can then get out into the ocean.” (Here’s why it won’t work.)
Spoiler: It’s a TED talk by author Andrew Solomon. As for the “one” uttered by his 4-year-old? At Solomon’s 50th birthday party, his kid said: “If you were little, I’d be your friend.”
Clickbait: Get Motivated and Feel Better in 60 Seconds
Spoiler: It’s a video of people doing outdoorsy activities, with superimposed motivational quotes such as “The only way out is through.” Kind of uninspired, really.
Spoiler: In Russia, it’s common for car owners to install dashcams that run continuously, mostly to back up (or refute) insurance claims. This is a montage of video clips from those dashcams, showing the cars’ drivers stopping to move babies, old people, and animals out of the road.
The schmoopy music makes these gestures seem like acts of compassion, but who wouldn’t move a person out of the road instead of plowing right over him?
(Besides: If that montage makes you believe that Russians invented the milk of human kindness, this montage of Russian road rage examples, also caught by dashcams, should clear that up right quick.)
Spoiler: Want to know what made the headline writer cry so much? Here it is: “Come with me [the dog says] on difficult journeys. I understand that it’s hard for you, but please stay with me until the very end.”
Spoiler: It’s an anti-texting-and-driving commercial that wants us to believe it wasn’t staged.
During a movie trailer of a car driving, the filmmakers somehow text every single cellphone in the movie theater simultaneously. Everyone looks down. At that moment, the car in the movie trailer crashes.
Spoiler: The cat thumps on the bedroom door with its hind foot in rapid, staccato bursts.
Spoiler: The news is that the son (of the gay dads) and his wife are going to have a baby.
Spoiler: Richard Dunn killed time by using his phone to make a hilarious lip-synched music video of the song “All By Myself.” It’s a great video, but the clickbait headline is a total lie. The “cameras” were his phone, and they didn’t “catch him;” he duct-taped his phone to his rolling-luggage handle and filmed himself.
It’s pretty funny.
And that’s my point! When a story is really good, you don’t have to lie in the headline. It will go viral all by itself.
Don’t reward that sleazy site by watching Dunn’s video there. Watch his own Vimeo original posting, where it’s simply called, “All by myself.”