I wrote a blog post. What happened next will AMAZE you.

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.

It’s stupid.

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?

Pic: Shutterstock 


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the HIBS100, Foodies100 and Tots100 - an online community of more than 15,000 UK bloggers. She is also a busy single Mum to Flea, the world's coolest eight year old.

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  1. says

    I’ve been avoiding Facebook, just too much of it and the odd few I did click on to start with were anything but ‘remarkable’ ‘amazing’ ‘too funee’ ‘too cute’ or what ever the latest catch phrase is

  2. says

    very occasionally there is something that I’m glad I saw. On the whole I agree with you but I’m even more annoyed when a so-called newspaper does it. The DM online does it all the time. e.g. Yesterday they announced a story about a woman who hasn’t washed her hair for 6 years and it’s healthier than ever! In fact she stopped using shampoo but regularly washes her hair in hot water. And, and, and, now ordinary people on facebook are starting to do it with statuses such as: OMG, I’m disgusted!!! Obviously you can’t click on the rest of the info but are ‘invited’ to ask why she is disgusted.
    Btw – I only opened this blog post to find out what amazing thing happened to you. :)
    Midlife Singlemum recently posted..It’s About BloggingMy Profile

  3. says

    I shouted something similar down the phone at someone today! Not put as eloquently, but yes, it annoys me that fewer people are reading traditional print publications and these websites are sprouting up. Not everyone likes newspapers, but at least journalists have to obtain certain standards in law, grammar and tone. OK, maybe not grammar.
    Marge recently posted..Bigger Brighter Bolder’s kick off event for 2014My Profile

  4. Slummy single mummy says

    I’m with you. From a content creator point of view (which sounds so lame), those kind of cheap unrealistic headlines are just not going to do you any favours, as people will grow to KNOW they can’t trust you. Google feels that way too doesn’t it, giving you bonus marks for relevance when people click on your links?

  5. says

    I totally agree. I have decided that my real Facebook (as opposed to my blog one) is just a viral link sharing space these days. Where it was once a place to share your life highs (and all too often, lows) with you friends, past and present. I think one post in about twenty these days is like that now. And of course, if one of my friends likes a viral link, chances are lots of them will and my timeline gets filled with the same thing over and over. Arrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Thank you for making me feel less of a freak for being irritated by it!
    Faded Seaside Mama recently posted..17/Project 365My Profile

  6. says

    Yes, I totally agree. There are so many of these sites and the headlines just make me go away feeling disappointed. Upworthy also really annoys me with all the notes about how exactly you should respond to the video. At 1.04 you will hear some home truths about cats. At 3.16 he’ll blow your mind with the depths of his catty logic. At 8.44 you’ll wonder why the hell you are wasting your time on this shit, and whether you should get professional help for your procrastination issues.
    Eleanor Mum/Me recently posted..Parenting alongside my mumMy Profile

  7. says

    I take your point though I also confess that I succumb to sharing some of the cooler UP and Buzzfeed thingies. They are the internet version of Knock knock jokes really. Somebody came up with the idea probably halfway through a bottle of vodka one night and it just sort of grew from there.

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