Click bait? 标题党

2021.09.14

Reader question:

Please explain click-bait, as in this sentence: The title of the article is an attention getter, but it is no mere click-bait.

My comments:

The title of the said article, whatever that is, reads, like, sensational but the article has substance. So it’s a genuine article, actually with useful information.

That’s why it’s deemed as no mere click-bait.

Click-bait?

Click-bait, or click bait or clickbait (one word), literally means a bait that makes you click the mouse and hit the link to an article on the Internet.

Bait is, say, the meat you put on the hook to attract fish. When a fish bites on the bait, it’s hooked. Click, on the other hand, refers to the sound when you hit a letter on the keyboard or when you hit the mouse.

Click bait, as a jargon, refers to, for example, a sensational headline that promises something extraordinary but offers little or nothing in substance. You read a headline that says, for example (and I’m using a real one here): “Is Kim Kardasian AVOIDING Kanye West At Home?!” And, if you like celebrity gossip, you say to yourself, Wow! What’s happening? So you click the article, and… get disappointed.

You get disappointed, because, more often than not, a clickbait headline like that offers little or no good content.

This is so because the aim of the click bait is the click itself. Once you click, then the click bait serves its function.

And its function is, yes, to generate traffic. More clicks mean more traffic and, hence, more advertising revenue.

All right, let’s read a few media examples and learn more about various types of click baits:

1. The Americans shocked the rest of the world by electing Donald Trump last Tuesday. Pierre Trudeau suggested that Canada’s proximity to the US was like “sleeping with an elephant”, and thus Canadians are particularly concerned about what this means.

Canada’s most preeminent political economist, Harold Innis, can offer some lessons. Innis is known for the “staples” approach, which examined the role of natural resource exploitation in Canadian economic development. However, his interest was really about the rise and fall of empires and the role of Canada as a nation on the periphery of the leading nations of the world.

In his later work, Innis explored the role of communications technologies. He contrasted time-based and space-based communications technologies. Time based technologies facilitate the creation of knowledge through dialogue and appreciation of history. Small group discussion and books are examples. Space based technologies enable communication over long distances and thus the quick diffusion of ideas, which is required to exercise power and influence. Social media is a very space-bound technology. A balance between time and space can protect intellectual endeavour and diffuse information. Yet, Innis warned about unbalanced situations where empires become overly focused on the exercise of power to the neglect of the development of time-based knowledge. In these unbalanced situations, communication decreases understanding.

Trump seems to have been elected via the dominance of space-based technologies. He was the ultimate click-bait candidate and twitter troll. The spread of information outpaced consideration of truth. America was working on time-based problems, such as climate change, under the Obama Administration and now Trump’s election puts these initiatives under severe threat. For instance, if Trump cancels climate related programs, some of the country’s top energy experts are going to leave the Department of Energy.

So what is Canada’s role? According to biographer, Alexander John Watson, Innis felt that the “great intellectual contributions that re-energize western civilization” would come from nations like Canada that exist on the periphery of large empires. Peripheral regions have potential to create a protected space for new ideas and focus on grappling with local problems. Innis promoted Canadian independence because he saw the country playing this important role in the world.

- CANADA AFTER TRUMP: HAROLD INNIS AND WHAT TO DO WHEN EMPIRES GO CRAZY, Progressive-Economics.ca, November 17, 2016.

2. Catelynn Baltierra of Teen Mom OG has come under fire once again for sharing a clickbait article that alleged a “shocking accusation” involving her daughter, Carly.

Last month, Catelynn was bashed for a “disgusting” clickbait article that some of her fans took to imply that Carly had died. The link she posted had the headline, “Devastating News About Carly?.”

The article wasn’t as dramatic as the link made it appear and talked about how the pandemic affected Catelynn and her husband, Tyler, being able to visit Carly.

Catelynn shared the link to the article on her Instagram stories, as she often does, and do most of the other cast members from the Teen Mom franchise.

In a new clickbait link, the headline read, “A shocking accusation has been made about us and Carly ????#LinkInBio” and was surrounded by several photos of Catelynn and Tyler with Carly as a baby.

Catelynn has now been deemed “Clickbait Cate” by fans who expressed their disapproval of Catelynn sharing articles with deceiving headlines to make money off clicks.

- Teen Mom fans call out Catelynn Baltierra for another clickbait article alleging a ‘shocking accusation’, MonstersAndCritics.com, May 6, 2021.

3. The concept of a parallel universe has been a subject of immense popularity in sci-fi films and dramas and garnered a massive audience.

Many television shows and films like Coherence, Another Earth, Crossworlds, The Lake House, and The King: Eternal Monarch have been inspired by this idea.

According to Wikipedia, “A parallel universe, also known as a parallel dimension, alternate universe, or alternate reality, is a hypothetical self-contained plane of existence, co-existing with one’s own.”

The multiverse theory suggests that our universe is not the only one; many universes exist parallel to each other.

These distinct universes within the multiverse theory are called parallel universes. Many physicists have rejected this theory. Even those who believe in it feel that it is impossible for us to connect with the other world.

...

Thus, the news that NASA claims the existence of a parallel universe is false. They have just found some high – energy neutrinos that defy laws of physics.

“ANITA’s events are definitely interesting, but we’re a long ways away from even claiming there’s any new physics, let alone an entire universe,” said Safa.

Those headlines given by tabloids are click-baits to excite us. The existence of a parallel universe still remains a remote possibility.

- Is It True That NASA Found Evidence Of A Parallel Universe Where Time Flows Backwards? EDTimes.in, July 29, 2021.

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About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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