I do apologise.
That headline up there is a bit of a lie.
Because what happened next won’t amaze you.
I wrote a blog post. What happened next is that I published it. Some people read it. Maybe some people commented (hey, I can hope). Some people Tweeted it.
And, um, that’s it.
What can I say, I learned everything I know about irrelevant, manipulative, borderline dishonest headlines from my Facebook feed.
Honestly, these days it seems like Facebook has demoted all the passive-aggressive needy updates from people like me in favour of “Read what this inspiring teacher said next!” and “You’ll never BELIEVE his response!” from the likes up Upworthy, Distractify, AlmostViral (can you believe that’s even a name, by the way?) and Buzzfeed.
I get that viral content websites are cheap to set up, and with what some might call a delightfully flexible approach to copyright and intellectual property, they’re also extremely profitable. But with a laughably low barrier to entry, they’re also multiplying like mould, and I keep seeing the same content over and over again, on ever so slightly different websites. It is quickly getting spammy and honestly, I’ve only got so much space in my day for inspiration and positivity. A person has limits, you know?
My other grumble is that the headlines are so often misleading – it’s clickbaiting. Now I’m a journalist so I love a good headline as much as the next girl. I’m a big believer that headlines should have what one Sun editor dubbed the “Hey Doris” factor – it’s the sort of thing you’d call over a colleague to look at. A great headline grabs your attention and gets you reading. I have no issue with someone crafting a headline designed to increase readership. But not at the expense of the story. The headline has to be true. Doesn’t it?
And so often with viral sites the stories actually aren’t all that sensational, or amazing, or moving, or whatever other superlative is being thrown at me.
20 photos of cats next to Post-It notes isn’t “hilarious”.
A clip from Britain’s Got Talent four years ago won’t “move me to tears”.
I’m pretty sure the last genuine auto-correct fail was published somewhere around 2009. Now I’m sort of over the idea of some idiot pretending that his Mum accidentally typed “lick my breasts” when what she REALLY meant was, “Can you pick up some bread on your way over?”
Is it just me that’s feeling a little bit jaded by all this so-called hilarious content? Or do you secretly love a bit of cat shaming?