This is not clickbait.

I have a lot of pet-peeves. You probably do, too. And I bet the Venn Diagram of our pet peeves would overlap around clickbait.

Clickbait: noun informal (on the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.

There's a lot of clickbait out there on the internet streets, and, not surprisingly, much of it is in two categories:

  1. Celebrity news
  2. Health

Here are some examples of clickbait spotted around the web:

  1. Vegans and vegetarians may think they're "eating healthy." They're not.
    1. This article explained how most vegans and vegetarians have a B-12 deficiency, which is a reality. But the headline, in my book, is sensationalism. [sensationalism: noun (especially in journalism) the use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy, in order to provoke public interest or excitement.]  A B-12 deficiency does not mean a person is "not eating healthy." A B-12 deficiency is a serious matter and, yes, B-12 is harder to come by as a vegetarian. (This is why I encourage bloodwork and a convo with your doctor to understand what foods are going to serve you well.) But most vegetarians and vegans supplement their B-12 intake (I eat meat and still supplement my B-12). A better title for this article may have been: "The Vital Vitamin Many Vegans and Vegetarians May Be Missing." Instead, it speaks to the Food Confusion consciousness we're constantly battling in which marketing measures twist things that are considered "healthy" and portrays them as "unhealthy."
  2. Your Butt is a Hero: Scientists Say Smelling Farts May Cure Cancer
    1. I can't even with this one. Go ahead and read why this is a load of nonsense here. Or save yourself the time and just know this one is definitely clickbait and you're gonna be real disappointed.
  3. Is drinking wine better than going to the gym? According to scientists, YES!
    1. Again. Hogwash. The original study that this claim stemmed from never even CLAIMED that, AND the original study was conducted on rats. And not humans. (Did anyone else just imagine rats on tiny treadmills? Or rats with tiny glasses of wine?)

So here's the thing, headlines are small advertisements of what the content of the article is, and, according to The New York Times, "the job of a headline is to get people to read the article in a manner that is true to the story."

It's noisy out there in the interwebs. You can click anywhere you choose (like on this article or not). So... yeah, I get it. There's some competition. Everyone wants you to read their stuff. Heck, in the entrepreneurial world, we can split test our email subject lines to see which one does better and track all sorts of data to get people to, you got it: click on our stuff.

Clickbait goes far beyond this to-be-expected-business-practice and creates headlines that often have VERY LITTE to do with what's within, or it exaggerates the content of the article so much that...  readers are left feeling cheated when they’ve finished the article.

This is why I so value empowering my clients (and YOU) to ask the essential question:

is that true?

Cause the truth is, many studies are done on rats and not humans... or don't even talk about correlation vs. causation... or fail to mention placebo effect.

Here's another thing I know:

you are smart.

So why does clickbait work?

Well, because we humans love things to be black or white. Good or bad. Healthy or not healthy.

But the truth is... my healthy isn't your healthy.

Some people thrive as vegetarians. Other people require some meat in their lives. Some people love red wine and exercise. Some people love exercise and not red wine. Everyone needs a little movement in their life. Not everyone needs to be a gym rat. 

No one enjoys smelling farts (so thank god that one's not true).

Health Culture tells us that vegetables are good (but not too many) and that anything that doesn't fit into a certain list of good foods is BAD (but if you have them, here's the exercise/detox/diet to get you back on track.)

Clickbait creates problems that aren't problems and solutions that aren't solutions.

In general, I encourage you to move towards accepting shades of gray and adopting Healthy Hedonism.

Hedonism has a negative connotation, but hedonism simply means prioritizing pleasure. And what brings us pleasure are the things that light our souls on fire and lead us to our path. The answer isn’t in restriction OR gluttony. True health is in discovering what you value, because what you value brings you pleasure.

Peace and joy in your body live within the pleasure not within the clickbait restriction and control.



Brittany KrigerComment