Tag Archives: Health

The Internet is lying to you. The rise of clickbait headlines.

James Bond: Superman Henry Cavill on replacing Daniel Craig as 007 “Very, very exciting”

Phil: This headline popped up on my tablet a couple of days ago. From it, you might conclude that Henry Cavill has bagged the job as the next 007. You might be surprised, having read that Tom Hardy was already lined up for the role a couple of days earlier.

What has happened?

Basically, the newspaper who “wrote” the Cavill story has turned an old quote saying he would like the role, and was the second choice to Daniel Craig*, into some words online. What they want is for you to click through and read.

The title is “clickbait”.

Clickbait: content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.

OK, so you might not think this matters. It’s only an entertainment story, and since you know it’s going to take you to the Daily Express, not likely to be something of great importance.

Why do they want your visit?

Advertising. Land on their page and you’ll find loads of ads as well as more clickbait headlines to try to keep you on the site. Your visit will also raise their traffic levels, making the page more appealing to advertisers.

In publishing, this is called “reach” and it’s valuable. Very valuable indeed. Greater reach means you can charge more for adverts. It creates greater demand for your ad space. Sometimes it’s as valuable as actual sales.

Which is why media outlets look for people with headline writing skills. Yes, there will be a story of sorts behind the headline, but it’s all about the clicks, Don’t get me wrong, writing lots of clickbait headlines is a serious skill. Short, snappy and containing what the marketing world terms “a call to action”. If you can churn out a few dozen of these a day, stick it on your CV, it’s a saleable skill.

Does this matter? I think it does. At the moment, every news outlet is vying for your eyeballs and the best way to do that is shout the scariest news imaginable. Bad news sells, it always has done, and the worse it is, the better the “sales”.

In the middle of a pandemic, you’d like to think accurate information would be easy to find, but what we are served with are ever more apocalyptic headlines. Whichever numbers look worst, those are the ones we are told are most important and the figures are then twisted to suit the narrative. And those headlines keep coming. Endlessly.

As I write, more people die each day in the UK from suicide than Covid. Does this get reported? Of course not, because then someone might suggest that the endless stream of bad news is killing people.

Clickbait is deadly.

*Humourous book note: In our first novel, Dave is compared favourably to Daniel Craig emerging from the sea in a Bond film. I did not write that bit. I might have suggested we didn’t need quite so much detail in the description.

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Holidays, Holidays, Holidays…

 Candice:  As I mentioned in my last blog I been doing my favourite thing, swanning off on holiday.   I LOVE going away, partly because the weather in the UK is crap, but mainly because it’s a break from life/work and the general treadmill of life.  For 1 or 2 weeks, I don’t have to work out where the cash is coming from, check my bank balance, pay any bills, feed the cat, deal with emails or phone calls or even look at the web, if I don’t choose to.

I am amazed at some of our friends who don’t go on holiday, or holiday at home.  I can’t understand how they can’t survive with out a switch off.  I suppose it is because I run at 100 miles an hour when I am at home so I need the total escape from everything.

One of the books I read when I was away was Kiss Heaven Goodbye by Tasmina Perry.  I’ve read another book by her recently, which I enjoyed, so I thought this would make a good holiday read.

The premise is a group of friends who do something stupid at the age of 21 which then follows them through their lives and impacts on their life choices.  Two come from a rich family and the others from middle class or work class lifestyles. They all go off to have successful careers in business, fashion and music but have major flaws and can’t forget this incident. It reminds me of a Jackie Collins in some ways as its a bit of a ‘bonk buster’ too.

I have to say I didn’t really sympathise too much with any of the characters because they were all nasty pieces of work.  I suppose the one I liked at all was Alex, the boy from the North who became a successful musician but then drank himself out of a job.

I always struggle a bit with books written about people with amazing lifestyles as I can’t relate to what they are doing, though I suppose this is meant to be escapism, not making me jealous!

However, it does romp along at a good pace and jumps from year to year in such a way that you are dropped into the person’s life at salient points, but effectively covers 20 years.  And there is a good twist at the end, which I did work out but only just before it is explained to the characters. Actually, it’s probably very close to the kind of thing I’d be writing if I had publishing contract!

Out of curiosity, I had a look at Tasmina’s website  before writing this article, and I have decided, sod escapism, I want her life!  She is an ex-journalist who now writes books and then travels the world writing travel articles.  Can you see the resemblance?  I’m going to contact her and see if she wants an assistant….

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Stealing our Thunder!

Candice:  Phil has a particular bone to pick with Celebs who seem to get their books, what ever drivel they are, published really easily.  I remember him coming to me particularly annoyed after hearing Tess Daly on the radio, talking about her latest book, and saying the whole process had been particularly easy and then she was off to the next thing while she had her publishing deal ticking away in the background.

Now, I don’t dislike Tess, she seems like a nice down to earth sort of girl, but in between presenting Strictly and sorting our her husband’s sexts, she’s whipped out the obligatory 80,000 words and then carried on, while the rest of us are struggling to get a deal and hold down the day job.  Phil is convinced you have to be a celeb to get published.

I don’t particularly agreed but I do think swishy hair and being on telly can’t hinder.  I’m trying, I have the hair (when I can be bothered to straighten it) and I am on telly, occasionally, but of course you only see my arm, leg or back most of the time ( which can’t help!).

However, the final nail in the coffin is an article I caught over the weekend, how she was in LA to discuss the film they are planning to make from her book.  “WHAT” you cry.  I want to be wandering around in the sunshine on someone else’s dollar, please.  And to cap it all, she’s been pictured wearing the green dress from M&S Limited Collection I was going to get for my birthday party, and I can’t find it in stock anywhere now.  Hum, maybe I don’t quite like her so much any more!!!

But, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.  I’m off on holiday soon, so I’ll do some research while I relax.

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