Let’s talk about clickbait. I had not planned on doing this post but when Hazel Hayes made a video with Daniel J Layton calling people (no one specifically) out for using clickbait an huge uproar occurred. If you’ve not seen the video in question, please go and watch it because this post is a response to it.
I hate clickbait as I’m sure many others do. I’ve been watching YouTube for years and for the past 2/3 years I stopped watching the YouTuber’s whose videos I used to enjoy because of their excessive clickbait use; I’m sure I’m not alone in this either. As Hazel said in her video “it’s like the boy who cried clickbait.” If you cry wolf (or clickbait in this metaphor) enough times without a just cause, eventually people will stop falling for it.
I didn’t want to name names but I will say that in my experience the people who are the worst for clickbait are a lot of the Gleam people. Is there a section in the contract people sign with Gleam that says you must use clickbait in as many videos as possible? I do still watch some videos that Gleam managed YouTuber’s put up - despite the excessive clickbait - because I do either, like the people, or like the content that they put up and surely that should be enough. Why do people resort to clickbait? If you’re creating quality content then surely the views will come?
I have read a few of the responses to Hazel’s video on twitter and people had taken it way out of proportion. One person said “who cares about clickbait?” and that really got to me. People should care about clickbait because creators who use clickbait are essentially manipulating people and making money from it. A lot of other responses were along the lines of “if you don’t like clickbait then just unsubscribe!” ARGHHHH!!! Clickbait isn’t for the benefit of the subscribers! Clickbait is used to lure in new viewers and new subscribers and as a result, earn more money.
Have you ever bought a product because it was advertised to be absolutely fantastic and exciting and in reality it’s a load of crap? For me, that is the same as clickbait. You may click on a video because the title is “I WAS IN A CAR CRASH?!” and you think “oh my god, are they okay? What happened?” and you watch the video and the person had just bumped their car. That is just bad advertising and it is taking advantage of viewers. It may not seem like it to you, but your view, like, subscription or comment is precious to creators in the same way you are precious as consumers to large corporations.
The one thing that bothers me the most is that people are still falling for clickbait. To me it seems like common sense to not play into the hands of clickbait, it’s almost like giving in to a child who’s having a tantrum; if you do it once, they will think they can get away with it all the time and keep doing it.
Before I end this post I wanted to briefly talk about another thing that bothers me. When a YouTuber talks about a controversial topic such as this one, many people are unable to see it as an opportunity for a discussion, instead they take things way out of proportion (ironically it is almost like what creators do when they use clickbait) and start attacking people whose views differ from their own. Personally, I am a very stubborn person and can hold an argument until the sun goes down but if somebody was to tell me a negative comment about something or someone I loved I am capable of understanding where that person is coming from with that comment. Unfortunately, many people online are not capable of doing this. Before today I used to believe it was the young teens who were the ones more likely to behave in this way because they’ve not had the life experience to know any better. However, after reading tweets and looking at the tweeter’s profile I’ve seen a lot of people in their late teens and twenties behave this way and I was shocked. Instead of trying to start a fight with others and making a fool out of yourself, have an open discussion about the topic and you may just learn a few things.
So to summarise this post: Clickbait is bad and people are silly.
, by Beth French