Clickbait: Teasing Our Curiosity, Poisoning Our Minds
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | January 22, 2019
We are the victims of our own lazy minds, allowing campaigns of senseless propaganda to determine what we read and how to think.
Each age presents new dangers. Our technological advances create unchartered troubles for every generation. Our world today has its own enemy, threatening well-being, and impacting thought. Foreign propaganda used to be the work of rudimentary operations, spreading leaflets among a population, hoping to sway a population. Now, stunning and easy meanings are available, swooping in quietly, spreading to millions of people, and duping them with false, disruptive and dividing dogma. We are trading the value of deep work for the shallowness of emotional intrigue.
Clickbait is a text or a thumbnail link designed to entice users to click on a link. Clickbait is often deceptive, tempting curiosity with unwarranted sensationalized and misleading information.
Our smartphones deliver custom feeds, based on our activity. Those feeds, whether through social media or a search engine are hijacked with superfluous and tempting links designed to draw attention and motivate a click. The creators are not in the business of deep work, but mindless emotional stimulation.
"We are trading the value of deep work for the shallowness of emotional intrigue."
The shiny story of intrigue, the uncovered conspiracy, the bright image with a five-word mantra vie for our attention, barter for our click. The internet, with all its wonders, can suck us into the darkness of shallow, mindless clicking, gaining nothing but anger, a sense of injustice, or worthless ego stroking. We waste hours clicking worthless junk that rots our minds.
I’m concerned. The lost hours of productivity is bad enough; but the problem is much worse. We no longer want to think. We want our information delivered in short bursts of 240 letters or less. Candidates for political office spend more time, money, and thought creating clickbait rather than thoughtful investigation and presentation of the important issues. A catch phrase is more important than experience.
Clickbait is profitable because we keep clicking.
Perhaps, we can intervene, fighting against the viral with our own careful examination of the information flowing into our homes. Instead of allowing an algorithm to determine what we read, we can purposely seek something deeper. Searching topics of interest with more gusto than allowing a social media account to capture our attention with short bursts of sensational news from unverified sources.
We can’t solve the world’s growing problems with a simple click of the mouse. We can’t understand complex issues through propagandized and biased sources.
We must build a foundation of knowledge to be able to evaluate the slough of trash flowing into our minds. Once the people are educated, the candidates will transform as well, unable to slip through the democratic process un-scrutinized by an informed public.
Refrain from clicking, seek something deeper, and becoming part of the answer for a better future.
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