Is This Clickbait?

Clickbait is one of those words that rocketed in popularity so quickly, many people started using it before they really knew what it meant. The overuse of the word is threatening to strip it of all meaning. So, in the interest of language preservation, here are a few examples of headlines you might see around the Internet. Some of them are examples of clickbait, some are not.

###4 Ways You Can Use Facebook for Good

NOT CLICKBAIT.

Just because something is in list form doesn’t automatically make it clickbait. Lists can be great. As long as the article actually delivers on what it promises, this headline is in the clear.

###One Girl Decided to Read One Page a Day for a Year. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next.

CLICKBAIT.

The phrase “you won’t believe what happens next” is a notoriously clickbaiting line, mostly because it’s almost certainly not true.

###10 Photos of Laughing Raccoons That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity

CLICKBAIT.

If you really have lost your faith in humanity, it’s unlikely any number of pictures of raccoons will be able to restore it.

###Which Mad Men Character Are You?

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NOT CLICKBAIT.

A little stupid, yes, but clickbait is all about sensationalism. And while the quiz may be a completely inane ego-trip which will feed you a highly suspect personality breakdown, it’s not clickbait.

###Shocking! Obama Tried to Shush a Reporter, but the Reporter’s Response was LEGENDARY.

CLICKBAIT.

Always beware superlatives like “shocking” and “legendary,” especially on the Internet where “legendary” generally means “not completely boring.”

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