Keeping Media Modest

How Clickbait is Damaging the Credibility of Content Creators

Luke Harpring, Opinion Writer

When publishing any form of media, one of the most important things to consider is the title. Titles condense an entire work into a phrase that generalizes the topic and gains the attention of a potential reader.

While an interesting title is sure to grab more attention on an internet full of users searching for alluring articles and videos, the dilemma becomes apparent: at what point is the exaggeration of a title misleading and dishonest?

The current phenomenon of ‘clickbait’, exquisite titles promising an interesting story causing readers to view the media, only to be disappointed to find a bland video or article shortcoming of its title.

This dishonesty is apparent mainly on social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram, where many people simply want to accumulate views.

In video formats such as these, extreme and overly simplistic titles are partnered with misleading thumbnail images to attract viewers.

The major issue that clickbait causes is that it crowds out quality content so that honest and interesting articles are outweighed and marginalized by low-effort, inaccurate reportings.

When authors put time into an article or video, they deserve to be able to gather interest by creating a catchy title. However, when some content creators abuse titles and thumbnail images, they effectively raise the standard of what is “interesting” to the point that authors who are modest with their reportings are ignored.

Online media platforms use a suggested algorithm to promote either content related to what the viewer is watching, or content that is popular at the time.

This means that videos that generate many views for having attractive titles tend to generate more appearances in recommended lists, allowing videos with no wholesome content to rise in popularity quickly.

The bottom line is that in order to preserve the integrity of digital content, creators need to be honest with themselves and label their media with accurate titles, while also providing wholesome, quality content.

Otherwise, the internet could fall into an irreversible trend of false advertising.