You Won’t Believe What These Child Actors Are Doing Now.”
“Eight Things Your Doctor is Lying About.”
“Make $1,000 a Week Working From Home Using Just This Trick.”
“One Mom’s Trick to Staying Fit on the Go.”
“What This Kid Says Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity.”
We probably see 100 headlines like these every day while scrolling down our Facebook timelines or reading local new sites — or maybe even going straight to the source with sites like Huffington Post. And the most amazing (infuriating) thing is the more we click on them the more they show up.
No matter how much we talk about hating click bait, accuse it of being classless or turn up our noses while claiming we focus on the Wall Street Journal or New York Times, 50 percent of us will click on some click bait today.
Two people reading this article are dying to know what these eight former Disney stars are doing now and at least one of them is going to act on that curiosity when given the opportunity. That opportunity will likely come while lying in bed. One of us will go to set an iPhone alarm clock but get distracted by the little red notification badge on a Twitter or Facebook app, begin scrolling and then get sucked in.
The reason the other half of us don’t click on such compelling click bait is our knowledge of what awaits us on the other side. The articles are so often vapid and unfulfilling. I can guarantee you one video isn’t going to restore my faith in humanity, and these three recipes using quinoa aren’t going to blow my mind and change my diet forever.
The reason I’m so sure the articles aren’t going to deliver is because I’ve clicked on so many of them.
How many? You don’t want to know.
We’ve programmed our brains to operate in these quick decision formats. When we interact with something new, we know that a list or article with lots of bullet-point information is easier to read. Next, throw in visuals that make the content easier to absorb. Finish off with the secret sauce that really adds appeal — the prospect that we can be the first to share with our peers.
Is it a list?
Will I have to read too much?
Is there going to be an attractive celebrity involved?
Do I get to learn a secret?
Cool; that meets all the criteria.