Why I’m Disappointed by Clickbait

If you’ve been on the internet for longer than 20 minutes, then you’re likely aware of clickbait ads for articles that say little more than the bait they used to pull you in: “The Internet is Freaking Out over This Mindblowing Textbook Cover,”  “Mind-Blowing But True Things Science Just Found Out,” “12 Mind-Blowing Stats Everyone Should Know About Infertility.” These are articles respectively from Buzzfeed, Cracked, and The Huggington Post, and it took 3 googles searches and a total of about 30 seconds of research to find these and a lot more. Now, I will not discount the possibility of your mind being actually blown by the content of these articles, but I have to ask if that’s a possibility for every article with “Mind-Blowing” in the title. Clickait is something we’ve all learned to live with, or if you haven’t, then you’ve probably read some short and poorly written articles designed only to get you clicking on a page. It’s not so much the clickbait that I’m worried about; it’s what that clickbait represents.

Someone asked me how I was doing, and I said I was okay. Then they asked me what was wrong. Now, I know I wasn’t terribly specific, and I could have gone into more detail about just how adequately I was doing, but I didn’t. I’m thinking now that maybe being just okay isn’t enough anymore. You have to be mind-blowing. Your life needs to be in a state of constant hyperbole. I wasn’t okay. I was fucking incredible, the bee’s knees, the pinnacle of my decade. Louis CK had a really clever bit about language in this vein, and I’m going to include it because I like him and if he noticed it, then that would be an appropriate time to say my mind is blown. 

In essence, he talks about two youths calling something hilarious when it was really just kind of neat. It might be silly of me to get so worked up about an unstoppable trend in language, but I’m annoyed–I’m not infuriated, I’m not grinding my teeth, and I’m not overwhelmed–I’m just just annoyed and a little disappointed. I like being alright. I like feeling adequate and like my life is going sufficiently well.

It seems like the constant hyperbole that’s used in conversational language and advertisements is saturating or vocabularies enough that it makes my friend concerned if I’m actually accurately stating how well I’m doing. It’s an inflation of our language exactly like in our money: smaller values are worth less until they’re confusing and forgotten; who needs a penny anymore, and who wants to be just okay. I doubt there’s anything that can be done to necessarily stop this trend in language, but I’ll miss being okay.

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