“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.” https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/clickbait
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)?