Why I Will NEVER (EVER) Use Clickbait

It seems like so much of what I see on social media are boring articles with sexy and misleading headlines. Based on likes and shares that still seems to be a winning formula for some.

While it may seem like I’m judging these folks, the real reason I will never use clickbait to drive traffic to my content is because I will fail and take my already little-known personal brand on a confusing detour without benefit. It’s not that I wouldn’t — it could be a great business case study and create a marketing engine for me — it’s that I’ll kick air hard and the other people I interact with on LinkedIn will know.

I admire the pioneers of self-promotion on the Internet.

I see so many people doing clever things on the internet to promote their brands. Some of it’s great (Neil Patel), some is bad (someone was spared here) but what matters I suppose it that it’s working. It’s not that I wouldn’t go low – it’s that I don’t have the skillset to make money off of it. It’s like a granny who decides to shorten her hemlines — a sorry sight, a pitiable effort and no one wants to see.

I admire all the smart people out there who are finding a way to create a platform online. There are so many different places to speak up: twitter, instagram, Quora, LinkedIn — and more coming down the pike I’m sure. It’s exciting to think about how all of us humans are so open to new forms of communication and connection.

I really like Joe Rogan. He’s about the last person I would think I’d like but thanks to his popularity online I’ve listened to several of his shows on You Tube (I pay to not have ads) and I really like his stuff. Highly recommend hearing his thoughts on plastic surgery “monster face” He is an original thinker with common sense and wit. I can’t imagine Joe Rogan getting traction in the old days of broadcast-style TV & radio. He’s too politically incorrect and unscripted,  a strange amalgam of a UFC commentator, stand up comedian and self-taught philosopher.

I also like Cole Escola. He’s a cross-dressing comedian out of Joe’s Pub in NYC. Check out Serial Killer Documentary Takes Horrible Turn and Mom Commercial for a taste. Like Rogan, Cole is an original who caught fire thanks to the democracy of the webs.

The point here is that while I cringe at seemingly legitimate people/publications using lame semi-clickbait headlines like “Bill Gates’ Surprising Annual Letter” and “The One Quality that ALL Successful People Possess,” I recognize that this is the price of democracy online. In order to get the good stuff, we have to wade through a lot of garbage.

But at least on the internet the good stuff is there. Especially if you pay. I pay for Netflix, YouTube Premium and someone is paying for my HBO GO credentials. That’s not democracy – that’s capitalism. I feel like I’ve watched more high quality programming in the last few years than my entire earlier life of command economy-style broadcast/vhs/DVD.

Of course, the other side of that is the incredible amount of pornography on the Internet. –The world simply doesn’t need more porn being made or new channels for its distribution. But, this is the other side of user-supported content (through ads or subscription) on the webs. This is what Plato warned us about. The tyranny of the masses. And it’s not just pornography. It’s the Kardashians, it’s Instagram models at large, it’s the Clinton News Network and FAUX News. All of these garbage-peddling Charlatans know how to command an audience and to evolve quickly in a changing digital landscape.

So, while I’m terrible at getting eyeballs on my writing, I commend those who are able to attract and sustain an audience. It’s SOMETHING. I tip my hat. (I seldom where a hat)

Just as clicks were replaced with impressions and many content creators are shifting towards subscriptions, there will be a continued evolution in how content is supported and selected. These will be the forces driven by taste and money, as well as the legacy-type powers that be (The 2019 Grammy’s brought to you by the Kardashians? Travis Scott’s (live?) voice was so synthesized he sounded like a robot??).

So for now, I salute all the innovators in this online land grab. For those like me, who just enjoy the ability to self-publish and the benefits of social pressure to maintain this discipline, I commend you, too. Hopefully, overtime, we’ll see more unlikely stars like Joe Rogan and Cole Escola through the digital collective and it will become easier and easier to skip past the garbage.  

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