Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The word I learned today. It refers to running controversial articles in the hope of high readership or clicks. Those increase advertising revenue, and in the current messed-up situation advertising revenue is hard to get and hard to hold on to. Political websites and newspapers are suffering. Linkbait is one answer to that.

It's so very sad, especially the linkbait aspect of it all. It means that only certain types of pieces get widely read, those that get our adrenaline levels bubbling as much as possible, those that give emotional highs of some type. Hence the clear movement towards more extreme stories, more focus on people who are in some ways scandalous, less clarity and more steam.

But of course linkbaits can be delicious! Fun to read! Fun to watch! Pay attention to the "most watched/read" section on various sites when you cruise, and the top ones are almost always on something like "a man beheads himself", "the tits of some famous celebrity fell out" and so on. How can a political geek piece compete with those?

By focusing on outrageous statements by Sarah Palin or the question whether Assange is a saint or a sinner. By releasing from the writing stables of old someone guaranteed to write incendiary stuff (Paglia) or by closely discussing the deranged ideas of Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh. Feminist-bashing always works to create anger or approval clicks, things like "sex by surprise" are worth thousands in advertising revenue.

I'm bitter, I am. Because my style of writing cannot be turned into linkbaits and because I need to eat, too. I could write scandalous (pretty sure on that) but I don't really want to. I guess I'm not hungry enough yet.

At the same time, what my writing often does miss is that emotional connection. I write from the head when I should write from the belly. Will try to do better in the future.