With just a quick scroll through Bloglovin feed and I’m faced with a vast Sahara of lifestyle hacks and blogging tip articles all promising to make my life more SuCcEsSfUl. Suddenly, it feels less like I’m looking at features written by real individuals with personalities and opinions, and more like I’m spending my lunch break on Buzzfeed with a billion listicles laden with self-help advice and spewing out psuedo-wisdom. 275 easy ways to make your dream a reality! Like, what the fuck does that even mean?
It’s not just on the explore pages of Bloglovin, but in my own feed of what I actively chose to follow. It’s on Facebook. It’s on twitter. And being spouted from every digital orifice, from bloggers to hugely respected publications. And all of this begs the very serious question: when did everyone become a lifestyle guru? And obtain a PHD in how to win in the digital world? Or is every blogger, or to use the new term du jour, influencer, simply becoming aware of the fact that clickbait blog posts = an excel in their page views and therefore a nice inflation to their google analytics? Suddenly the only thing on my mind is 10 reasons why the blogging world is doomed to become choked by cookie-cutter clickbait *content*.
One of the first things in the royal book of blogging commandments that I learnt was the power of numerical list blog posts. 5 ways to X, 7 reasons why Y, 8 simple tips on Z… Couple that with handy self-help or self-improvement advice on positivity and chasing the goal of happiness and success and you’re on to a clear winner in the page views race. I’m not here to piss on anyones parade of happiness spreading, but my major issue is the fact 90% of these articles never offer up any new information, they simply repackage everything you already knew, pulling you in with cutesty-cum-inspiring title using words like the best! the top! must-see! life-changing! (this is definitely not a statistic I just made up…)
Here’s a little example featuring a recent title I came across:
Who doesn’t want more hits? Because in today’s modern world of writing, success is measured entirely in page views, no? So with the click of my mouse, I took the metaphorical jump into cyberspace to try and better myself as a blogger and become more SuCcEsSfUl. Let me summarise what I learnt:
We know how it works, it’s manipulative, traffic-driving tactics that have spun our digital media platforms into flux, pulling us in with a snappy title that play on our emotions and desires to better ourselves, then follows up in the body of the post with something utterly underwhelming and far from groundbreaking. And we’re falling for it, hook, shitty headline, and sinker.
Success. Money. Fame. Popularity. Sex. Votes. Likes. Hearts. Immortality. Winning! – Digital writing has fast become a race to stand out in the eternally-scrollable news feeds, and in doing so, searching for the holy Mecca that’ll teach us 8 top tips to truly smell like Beyonce, all we’re doing is wasting more time sitting at a computer screen that could have been spent doing something far more active and inspiring.
I’ve been there. I’ve written how-to’s and I’ve written listicles knowing full well that they’ll get hits. But each time I’ve done so, I’ve sought to give a fool-proof piece that actually sheds a little more light on the situation by answering unanswered questions in similar-style features. There’s no problem with sharing actual advice when you’re doing just that – sharing advice rather than digital word-vomiting some inspiring pseudo-wisdom phrases.
Everyones looking for success, but I can tell you now, you won’t find it reading clickbait posts about how to be more successful. It tricks you into thinking you’re being productive, when in reality, there’s nothing less counterproductive then wasting precious time reading about productivity. Read some hard-hitting fiction. Some fluffy fashion article. Go to a museum. Learn something. And leave the pseudo-wisdom firmly on screen.