Garage run by Attendant with Three Headed Dog

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Garage run by Attendant with Three Headed Dog

That headline is known as clickbait. You simply had to read this article, since the headline was so intriguing. By now, you realize that you have been had. There is no story about a Three Headed Dog and you were suckered in to reading this by a false impression. But, since you are here, why not read on?

I just read a headline that 500,000 fewer jobs were created over the past 18 months than previously reported. OK, that sounds like an horrendous error. But if you divide 500,000 by 18, you get just under 28,000 and since most months saw in excess of 250,000 jobs created, the actual number was an error factor of about 10%. Not great, but certainly not the horror a half million error represented. Clickbait.

The goal of headline writers is to get you to read the story, not communicate facts in any way. I love this one:

“Scientists develop blood test that predicts whether you’ll die in next 10 years”

Well….If you read the article, you find that the test isn’t really peer reviewed, and has much more work to be done. The headline says, not infers, that its real, now, not later. Why would one want to take it anyway?and in my opinion, don’t take it. Who want’s to know?

“Time to Rethink Taboo on Cannibalism?”

Read the article and you find the answer is “no”.

What if I changed the headlines on the following blogs:

The Sincerest form of Flattery to “Parking is a Necessary Evil”

A Parable- Farmer Smith and Farmer Brown to “You Have to Spread the Fertilizer”

Dog Days of Summer to “Will that Dog Ever Catch the Rabbit?”

My guess is that a few more people would have read them had I spent a few more minutes on the headline. But…do you as a reader feel conned or tricked? Tough. Madeja look.

JVH

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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