"Click Bait" is a way to make money using the emotional reactions of people who post on social media. The fish runs into the bait or title (containing a link) stating some claim which shocks, horrifies, disgusts, angers or arouses some other emotional response. Clicking on the "bait" sends the user to "find out" what that title (or link) is about. Naive, fervent and the emotionally vulnerable are used in this way to make a lot of money for those using the bait..
Real examples? Sure! How about "Obama Running Shadow Government" (actual title)? Is it also possible that the former president is remaining proximate to the government to help maintain what he thinks are the good policies he had when he was in office? Is it true that "Trump Making Money Off Children with Cancer" (actual title)? Could it also be possible Trump is providing facilities or resources for a fee like hospitals, doctors, nurses and pharmaceutical companies do? Is "Bill Belichek Fired In Shocking Shakeup" (actual title) actually true or is my interest in the New England Patriots being used to get my click? (I am from New England and a huge fan of the coach Bill Belichek).
In fact there are websites on the internet that I call "click bait farms" with a huge collection of articles designed for the purpose of having visitors exposed to advertisements on the screen. The advertisers are also aware of the likely emotional state who view these resources and tailor the advertisements for maximum persuasive effect. These stories may be complete fabrications, somewhat false, out of context, not in temporal sequence, fabricated, slanted, twisted or distorted even if there is something true about them. While the bias and facts may vary there is ALWAYS something that ignites fear, anger, horror, disgust or some similar motivating emotion. After the social media users are "baited" they flood the social media screens with links to the bait (called "shares" on facebook). This "traffic" generates huge amounts of income for those who know how to skillfully push "emotional buttons". Some people make a living generating "click bait" and they become VERY good at it.
Anything to get that click (and the money!)
Generally good advice:
If you feel strong emotions regarding a purchase or an action
then you may want to pause and ask yourself:
Why do I need so badly to click on this link, do some action or buy some gizmo?
Why can't I wait? Why can't I stop clicking? Can I live without this gizmo?
"Clicks" happen when one places a cursor over an advertisement on the screen. Each click earns money for the web page that is displaying the advertisement. The most important factor in garnering the clicks (or money) is TRAFFIC. The goal of "click bait" is to get as many people to the web page where the advertisements are as possible. In order to get the maximum traffic all manner of claims, promises, lies, slanted interpretations, miracle cures, fabricated stories, twisted facts and fake news are utilized just as "bait" is used on rainbow trout (see image above).
The most fertile ground for highly sought traffic is social media are the hordes of people who are fervent, emotionally challenged or naive (or any combination of these traits) often unknowingly provide links to the bait. These social media users may genuinely want help persuade others of strongly held personal beliefs. The bait (article, video or image) is totally created to inspire disgust, fear, horror, anger, grief, frustration, indignation, offense or any strong emotion that will yield user response, more links and more traffic to the site of the article (and or video, music or image). The more fervent, emotional or naive the user then the more posts that user will generate and the more traffic that person will provide to the bait. The content of the bait is designed to maximize emotion and generate multiple posts pointing to the bait if at all possible. Why? Because it works!
An army of people inspired with emotion "point" friends, acquaintances and others who see the posts to the bait site. That means more traffic and more clicks and more money for the creators of the bait content.
Once at the "bait site" information is exchanged in the form of cookies that detail interests and information about online activities. Targeted adds will appear but also other "bait" will be presented as well. Stories, videos and media designed and targeted will also be provided. Truth matters some but not nearly as much as emotion. The newly targeted information is now be used generate more emotion, more disgust, more horror, more frustration or some other new strong emotion. Advertisers hit the jackpot when the user continues to post links to the bait on the social media sites.
Tired of Click Bait Yet?
I am but I may need to develop my thinking on this more. The blog will get longer with more detail, insight and facts. Who is ever going to click on that?