pinnochio nose growingSomething new has started happening online. And it’s making me want to stay off of the Internet all together. It keeps me from clicking on links, liking posts, or even trusting online friends’ judgment. No longer can I rest at ease with their web-based decisions. Why? Because there’s an abundance of crap. Articles that promise you’ll “never believe” what comes next, or that something “amazing,” “incredible,” and “absolutely breathtaking,” is about to be seen. Only the content – video or blog – is never any of those things.

It sucks in comparison to their titles.

The first few times, of course, curiosity got the best of you. You clicked. We all did. Only to be disappointed. Not only in whatever we’d just wasted our time on, but in the “friend” who posted said content. In months since, however, these disappointing posts have only become more popular. They’re shared on the regular, by sites of all kinds. Now it’s to a point where titles don’t even match their accompanying content in the slightest; it’s all about getting clicks. Sometimes whatever video is promised isn’t even included. Or photos have to be arrowed through one at a time, gaining a website even more traffic. These and other sleazy tactics just keep popping up. And, apparently, they’re working. (That is, until Google comes out with their latest algorithm for a BS meter and docks for such content.)

Things have changed. With the ease of posting, recording, taking pictures, etc., there’s simply so much more that can be shared on any given day. But what’s so wrong with sharing more the legit way? That is, without prepping for amazing, jaw-dropping reactions? It might not draw as many clicks, but it’ll also show readers you’re a source with integrity, and who shares legitimate information.

And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of those pop-up like reminders, or the questions like “I think the world should be a better place. Click if you agree.” It’s because of these types of tactics that I’m so stingy with likes in the first place. Let’s do us all a favor and quit guilt-tripping the public into supporting your online business.

Since when did journalism – in the loosest sense of the word – trick its readers? Aren’t we, as writers, supposed to entice an audience with legitimate claims? Not those that can’t follow through? Aren’t we to properly display facts, not sugarcoat or place arbitrary adjectives on every single human event? Satire is one thing (and obvious), but that which sensationalizes is better left unwritten for any medium. Even the Internet.