Not Too Old to Learn New Tricks

“Clickbait” is an Internet slang term for online media or news content with sensationalist headlines that are produced by websites for the sole purpose of accumulating page views to generate advertising revenue. It is typically used as a pejorative for viral media and stories that spread through social networking sites despite their perceived lack of depth, quality, authenticity or accuracy.”

When I retired from teaching about four years ago I felt pretty confident about my command of a limited repertoire of computer skills. I knew, however, that there was lots more I didn’t know. In retirement I have had a fairly active email life and of necessity I have just begun to be able to text. My son just told me he was proud of how fast I’d learned about emojis and how adept I’d become at using them!

Other than texting, my technical skills really haven’t expanded much. I was able to create my own WordPress blog and have been blogging now for three years, once a week, on a site for teachers. When anything goes wrong with WordPress it causes me enormous frustration and I am miserable for days until I figure out how to fix what went wrong. But I have made a new discovery which I fear will become a dreadful habit; in truth, it already has.

Just before I go to bed, when the household quiets down and I am often the only one still up, I check my email. That was ok until I began clicking on the distracting news and entertainment stories filling up the screen. Now what was a five-minute ritual before bedtime sometimes becomes a 30 to 60 minute side trip through the junk available on the Internet. My daughter caught me doing it one night and said, “Mom, are you responding to click bait?”

In the month or so since I began my click-bait journey  I have learned about so many things I once knew nothing about. For example recently I read a fairly long story about a middle-aged man who has devoted his life to saving lions who can no longer be returned to the wild. I am deathly afraid of large cats, so I was glued to the screen as I saw him lying in their cages with them, stroking their heads and they in return wrapping their shovel-sized paws around his body and licking his face. I know intimate stories about politicians and movie stars who I normally don’t even care about. Do I want to know the source of tension between Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle? You bet I do!

Before I retired the thing I most looked forward to was being able to read the NY Times at leisure with a cup of coffee. I still do this every day and feel pride in keeping myself well informed about global business, politics, social issues and so on. But what is this sudden fascination with things and people I attach no importance to? I am a fairly busy person so it’s not usually a matter of having too much time on my hands. This is a very new, very bad habit that has made me realize why I hear so many inane comments in public. This flood of pseudo information is taking the place of having real conversations about things that really do matter; it is much easier to absorb this junk than to search out real facts and information and come to grips with what it all means.

I must get a grip and go cold turkey tonight.  Meanwhile, I’m dying to know, what is your dirty little secret about using the Internet (please use discretion when responding)?

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barbara suter

I'm a retired teacher who enjoys writing and sharing in this; unique blogging community.

21 thoughts on “Not Too Old to Learn New Tricks”

    1. Random links are click bait, and that is exactly my problem, too. I wonder what it is that is making us all do the same thing. Someone has really got the human race figured out in a scary way.


  1. Thank you for writing about click bait. 🙂 Just once in a while I click on some link to know what is happening but fortunately it is just once in a while. But night I have to go to bed before 10.30 so I switch of the computer or mobile phone by 10. Regards

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My bad internet habit is signing up for emails from shopping sites when I know I need to curb my spending habits! Doesn’t help to see the many, many subject lines of “SALE!” in my inbox each day!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can get caught in this as well. I have always really like random facts and information so this little side articles catch me. After spending time I begin to wonder how much of them are true and then what should I have been doing instead. I am working hard to move away from the computer so that I can do more creating and less watching. Thanks for sharing – a good thing to think about!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are definitely not alone! I cringe each Sunday when I get my “social media” report. Yikes. I tell myself it’s ok because I use social media for professional reading too! Kinda sorta!
    Thanks for being vulnerable.

    Liked by 1 person

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