The Curse of Listicles and Clickbait!

Posted: May 5, 2016 by Matthew Hanwell in OD, SEO, Social Media, Twitter


By Ian Gee:

In the past couple of months, I have been using twitter a lot more. In the main this has been to promote the Ilfracombe Film Festival a project I am volunteering on.  I have had the Twitter account @IanRGee for many years though have never really used it. So as well as starting an @FilmIlfracombe account I decided to breath some life back into @IanRGee and @AlbanyOD as well. It has been a fascinating, if occasionally frustrating experience!

Twitter has been a great way of connecting with people, sharing ideas, asking questions and having fun. It has not been without its irritations mind you! My biggest irritation and turnoff has been the amount of clickbait and listicles OD practitioners and consultancies are tweeting.

What do I mean by clickbait and listicles? If you have any kind of social media account, you will have seen posts which start; ‘This kitten tried to rob a bank…you won’t believe what happened next!” or “The top 4 tips for getting a flat stomach’ The first is classic clickbait and the second is a clickbait listicle! If like me you are occasionally curious, or in fact at times truly foolish (for that read bored!), then when you click on the link you invariably get inundated with advertisements, exhortations for things you don’t want or need and have to click through goodness knows how many pages to find out what on earth did happen when the kitten robbed the bank and what are the 4 things that will turn my belly into a six pack?! For me as I click through I find I am just getting more and more irritated! What interests me is how many OD practitioners and consultancies are using this approach to promote their businesses.

Clickbait and listicles are an obvious and on the surface, easy way of driving traffic to websites, gamming analytics platforms, raising SEO status and advertising products and services. If we have something to sell whether it be a product, service or our time then advertising is vital. However, the inherent problem with listicles and clickbait is that they very quickly move people from being intrigued through to disappointed and even angry!   Many of the OD listicles and clickbait have done this to me!

Here are a few examples of what I mean. One OD Consultancy posted this ‘The top 2 things to do to increase employee engagement” When I clicked through and eventually got to the page this is one of the bit s of amazing, stunning, and frankly incredible advice ‘Remember to say Hello to your employees when you get to the office!’ I actually decided to make a tweet comment on this and said ‘Gosh who knew” and got a reply that said ‘We really feel it is very important to remind people of things like this….’

Here are some more examples of Clickbait and Listicles:

“Click here to diagnose all your team’s ills…and cure them!”

“Click here for the 4 building blocks of change”

“Check out this cool visualisation tool designed to answer your toughest business questions’

“Click here for a free Free 110-page book download that makes managing change incredibly easy”

What do you think? Am I being unnecessarily critical of something that we now just have to accept as part and parcel of the market place? If you have a favourite listicle or piece of clickbait, then please share it with us all!

  1. Pat Moynihan says:

    Hi Ian, I agree, these are incredible time- wasters and rarely, if ever, offer anything new.

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