News is about more than a catchy headline, but in an age of Twitter and Facebook shares, people need to create something that grabs your attention so you’ll click. In an effort to remain topically relevant, writers scramble over one another, trying to produce “hot takes” of an issue, or breaking stories with incomplete information.
You can’t blame them.
We reward this kind of content. We click on it, share it, and get angry when our favorite websites don’t cover that hot button issue we care deeply about, moments after it starts trending on social media.
More importantly, we live in a world that’s saturated in information. With the entire world only a search away, we’re increasingly less likely to accept it when someone professes ignorance on any topic we care about, and we care about hundreds of topics.
It’s a vicious cycle, because in a world that demands instant opinions, we’re also expected to have perfect knowledge, to understand now every word we choose might be interpreted by the more than one billion people currently online.
Having a long history of advocacy or a nuanced political position has no weight in the culture of NOW. Allies switch to your accusers based off of single misspoken word, or the discovery that twelve years ago you enjoyed something you now abhor. We demand perfect consistency, and no one is perfect. That one moment of imperfection is captured and shared.
If you’re a person of interest, soon journalists, some of them former friends, perform “hot takes” on your fall from grace. Years of reputation, carefully cultivated, ends with 140 characters. This causes us to radicalize our online persona’s, to adhere completely to a viewpoint we know has flaws.
Nuance is weak, anger is strength. Better to continue saying something you no longer agree with than risk being labeled a flip-flopper or sellout. So we shout at the “other,” terrified about the inevitability of becoming “other” ourselves.
I’m tired of hot takes and ideological opinions. I’m tired of clickbait.
Positions Subject To Change
I don’t know what exactly this site will be, other than a place for me to try and flesh out the political/social/economic/etc issues that are too complex for quick posts on social media. I grew up in a fairly conservative home, went to one of the most conservative universities in the country, and consider myself a “progressive” today, but I see disturbing trends in the culture I left behind, as well as the new one I’m beginning to step into. Sometimes I’ll talk about stuff making the headlines, sometimes I won’t. Because society is about more than just our news cycle.
I’m not perfect, and I’m certainly not unbiased. I’m a person trying to figure out the world I live in, one word at a time. If you find my journey interesting, I’d love to hear from you. Right now, the best way to contact me is via my Google+ profile. (yes, I use Google+)
Welcome to Counter Clickbait.