Clickbait and Listicles: not a universal panacea

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Charlie Brooker:

Now, here, in the present day, it’s clear the internet wasn’t a fad. More or less everything else was. Newspapers, for instance. They used to be sombre dossiers issued each morning, bringing grave news from Crimea. Now they’re blizzards of electric confetti, bringing The Ten Gravest Crimean Developments You Simply Won’t Believe. The art of turning almost any article of interest into a step-by-step clickbait walkthrough has been perfected to the point where reading the internet feels increasingly like sitting on the bog in the 1980s reading a novelty book of showbiz facts that never fucking ends. This trend will only continue.

Yes, I know I risk mockery by taking what was basically a humorous piece and responding to it seriously, BUT:

The above only holds is we assume that all online media will be the same. That hasn’t been the case for print or broadcast media, so why should it be the case for online media?

Sure, we have a problem with too many publishers chasing the “one, true way to internet success”, but the reality is that many different models will emerge, and just rushing to copy the latest online thing will not guarantee you success.

Anyway, you may now return to “having a laugh“, as the kids call it.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.