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You won't believe what happened next. Because you lack faith.
April 21, 2014 3:33 PM   Subscribe

Life Sentences: The Grammar of Clickbait
posted by oceanjesse (21 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, I really want to know what happened next, but the link isn't opening for me.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:52 PM on April 21


I rarely say this about stuff on the internet but I wanted this article to be even longer.
posted by jessamyn at 3:56 PM on April 21 [20 favorites]


Horace: It's an examination of Upworthy's headlines. Interesting read but nothing revelatory.
posted by Auguris at 3:56 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Horace Rumpole: "Man, I really want to know what happened next, but the link isn't opening for me."

Maybe because you didn't use that one weird trick the housewife discovered that modern science and media doesn't want you to know?
posted by Samizdata at 4:16 PM on April 21 [10 favorites]


Maybe because you didn't use that one weird trick the housewife discovered that modern science and media doesn't want you to know?

The OP left the thread wide open for Upworthy riffs. What this user did will surprise you.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:09 PM on April 21 [16 favorites]


The twitter account @UpWorthIt, though hit or miss, often captures perfectly the "Upworthy tone" of breathless inanity and pushes it to the point of absurdity, e.g. "43% Of All Americans Wish This Wasn't Possible. But It Isn't." or "I Think There's One Thing We Can Agree All Women Look Sexy In: GOVERNMENT."
posted by Bromius at 5:19 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


With the exception of this article (which I knew would be meta) I would never click on a link that starts "You Won’t Believe". As soon as I see words like that (or any other bullshit intentionally obfuscated nonsense titles) I just skim onward.

It has made reading cnn.com and slate.com a much quicker experience than it used to be.

I suppose that there must be a decent number of lunkheads out there who have nothing better to do than clicking on articles that are guaranteed wastes of time. I wish they'd stop clicking so the headline writers would go back to writing descriptive titles that actually make me want to read the article.
posted by HappyEngineer at 6:06 PM on April 21 [8 favorites]


I wish they'd stop clicking so the headline writers would go back to writing descriptive titles that actually make me want to read the article.

Universal Mutual Defense Treaty:
If ever any of us does click on something linkbaity shared on facebook or whatever, remember to return afterwards and leave a comment on the link - explain the content, spoil the manufactured suspense, and allow everyone else to move on in peace without clicking.
posted by anonymisc at 6:11 PM on April 21 [23 favorites]


A browser plugin which detects upworthy links on the page and inserts after the original tantalizing headline a banal, auto-generated answer in parentheses. "This art teacher was fired after school budgets were slashed. What her students did next will warm your heart. (They started a facebook group but quickly got bored.)"
posted by postcommunism at 7:10 PM on April 21 [8 favorites]


A browser plugin which detects upworthy links on the page and inserts after the original tantalizing headline a banal, auto-generated answer in parentheses.

Not quite what you're looking for, but Downworthy will make the titles much more realistic.
posted by cmonkey at 7:36 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


MY COMMENT IS THE BEST THING YOU'VE EVER READ ON THE INTERNET

READ THIS EPIC COMMENT

On a related note, I especially hate the types of heds like above, that sound like they were written by still-stoned-from-last-night 22 y.o.s . (Yes, they probably are.)
posted by NorthernLite at 8:25 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


For Twitter users with no patience for Upworthy: @UpworthySpoiler. (Similarly, and previously, @HuffPoSpoilers.)
posted by Lexica at 8:31 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


A browser plugin which detects upworthy links on the page and inserts after the original tantalizing headline a banal, auto-generated answer in parentheses.

If this isn't an XKCD comic, it will be within a week.
posted by emptythought at 8:58 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


I for one am all for Upworthy-style headlines: they make it easier to detect the banal syndicated content-farm crap websites are trying to pass off as actual content.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:10 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of grade inflation in school.
posted by telstar at 2:34 AM on April 22 [2 favorites]


But What Happens If You Don’t Click? You Won’t Believe What Doesn't Happen Next.
posted by univac at 2:38 AM on April 22


I hate having a netbook as my only PC right now (Though am thankful for it!)
It sometimes results in webpages, particularly text, display funny due to the tiny width of the screen.
Sometimes it makes for some gold though.

It’s also worth noting that this is the second Upworthy #trend (#upworthytrend?)
that focuses on (dis)belief. Is Upworthy indirectly addressing a crisis of faith that
internet users collectively feel? Is there something about the hyperlink that makes
us want to believe, or disbelieve, what is on the other side? Does clickbait restore
our faith or inspire our disbelief? These are the things I think about when high


I imagine that's probably the best time to deal with upworthy.
posted by ThrowbackDave at 2:53 AM on April 22


Read the above titles again, but without registering the hyperlink: now they read like Buddhist koans. You want to know how you might be a war mercenary, but can you know, really? Bask in the not-knowing.

Poignantly, this is a very effective means of transforming almost all linkbait into genuine truth.
posted by onwords at 4:52 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


Not Upworthy specifically, but the latest new thing on clickbaity listicles seems to be to call out a specific one in the headline. E.g., "37 Unknown Children Who Changed the World. #24 will melt your heart."

My inner curmudgeon replies by quoting Lewis Carroll: "Then it ought to be Number One."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:00 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


this is a great article, thank you for sharing.

I would love to see a website that reposts Fox News etc. articles with upworthy-style headlines, e.g.

The country is on a ship that is sinking! Listen to this desperate call for help!
Vets want jobs, but this MD Governor believes they aren't qualified.
Why can't these school kids pledge? This atheistic lawsuit will destroy your faith in humanity!
posted by rebent at 9:40 AM on April 22


Moneymorning, then?
posted by ormondsacker at 9:51 AM on April 22


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