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7 Ways To Ensure I Regret Clicking: A Meta Rant

by T. J. Ward 9 days ago in social media · updated 7 days ago

If you're trying to lose [my interest], do one of these every morning...

Clickbait is one of my guilty pleasures. It takes a big person to admit that, and I am that big person.

I consider myself reasonably sophisticated and blah blah blah, but even I, an intellectual, occasionally enjoy the noncommittal, mindless indulgence offered by an article that conveniently compiles a bunch of entertaining screenshots for my effortless consumption. Hell yeah, I wanna see 32 texts sent to the wrong person or 14 times Karens made a scene or 23 and a half memes that everyone with an idiot boss can relate to, because one is good, but more is better. But I have limits to how much I’ll tolerate from a website, and if your goal is to get clicks from me, here’s everything you’re doing wrong:

1. Slideshows and Galleries

NUMBER ONE PET PEEVE! If I click on the feculence you're passing off as "entertainment" and it’s a slideshow or gallery, I am SWIFTLY closing that tab and blocking your website FOREVER. There is no laugh or lifehack or secret to the universe that is worth it to me to click through 47 pages in rapid succession of ads stacked on top of ads stacked on top of ads. There are few things on this earth I hate more than a slideshow article, and I don’t care how gripping the headline or thumbnail is, my interest goes from rock-hard to flaccid in a matter of seconds. I take it as a personal insult and hope you die in a fire.

2. Reddit Plagiarism

If I get there and it’s just a compilation of answers to a specific r/AskReddit, I leave and go to the original Reddit thread. If it’s just a single Reddit post such as something from r/AITA or r/MaliciousCompliance, I scroll right past it without even clicking. Unintended side effect, YOU just reminded me how much I enjoy Reddit, and I end up spending hours on there after that. So that was dumb of you.

(...Maybe I should have listed this one last.)

3. Popup Hecc

I’m no fool, I know ads are impossible to avoid completely. Over the years, I've developed some sizeable horse-blinders for those popup ads that form an insulated cocoon around the contents of a clickbait article like layer after layer of spit-saturated silk, swathing the mushy wriggly larvae that will one day emerge as the dirty little moths in my open box of pancake mix I forgot about in the pantry, forcing me to throw it away and eat a frozen waffle instead... but I digress. Keep it reasonable and I’ll keep coming back like a good little capitalist zombie. But if your popups keep reappearing after I close them, if they make noise, or if they overlap the text making it unreadable, I’m just done. Close tab, block website, hold grudge.

4. Blurry and Unreadable

Closely related to my last point, make sure the format and fonts/font sizes are comfortable and the content you’re blatantly ripping off from other websites is at least a somewhat crisp screencap. I refuse to strain my eyes to decipher a puddle of pixelated alphabet soup. Close tab, blocked.

5. Bait and Switch

This offense is almost as bad as a slideshow. If an image in the link thumbnail catches my eye, and I follow the link in good faith but I make it all the way to the end of your clickbait garbage without getting the whole story behind that sneak preview, I’m closing the tab, blocking your website, and officially putting a digestion-related hex on you and your pets. That explosive diarrhea you had last week? That’s me, baybeee! And wait til you see what Fifi did to the hall rug.

6. My next complaint may shock and surprise you...

Also, I have less-than-zero interest in a headline that claims I won’t believe what happens next. I’ll tell you what I can’t believe. I can’t believe anyone still clicks that nonsense. I already admitted I click on dumbass lowbrow bull-malarkey, but THAT donkey-brain manipulative phrasing is just plain insulting and I scroll right past it every time. Can you believe I did that?

7. You have (1) free bullet point left

Last but not least, if your website requires signing up for a “free account” to view it or asks me to turn off my adblocker, miss me with that ish. I didn’t get where I am today by wasting valuable moments of my life filling out forms for obscure website accounts that I will immediately forget the password to. No, I got here by wasting my valuable time mass-consuming dank memes.

Even I have standards, so just put a little bit of effort in, ffs. I know for you it’s just an algorithm and numbers game to get paid from all your ads and you have no interest in the actual content you’re carelessly barfing out into the void, but if I prostrate myself to play your scummy game for a couple cheap laughs, you’re going to have to give me a little bit of respect in return. You have to remember that the entertainment you’re offering is already bottom of the barrel and I’m doing you a service by inflating your click numbers and exposing myself to invasive malware, so give me what I want or I’ll go to the clickbait article across town. Screencap THAT and put it on your enraged Karen list.

Tune in next week to hear me b*tch about how your YouTube videos are trash and I won’t be liking, subscribing, or clicking that notification bell.

Is this meta enough for you?

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T. J. Ward

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