It’s hard to keep up with all the crazy new trends happening on the world wide web, but let’s take a look at a couple of the biggest:
Wacky headline teasers
Are you old enough to remember the days when headlines gave you basic information on the content of that article? A quick glance at the headline told you the important information, and then you could decide if you wanted to read the article in full. There’s an ‘old-fashioned’ newspaper in the city where I now reside, and they still use these types of headlines. Here’s a couple of examples:
‘VN urges joint action on mines’…..’Water shortage hits central region’….’Lao Cai Police nab drug traffickers’……..’Water pipe breach hits Ha Noi again’….
Each of these headlines is clear and concise. I can skim through the paper quickly, get an idea of the day’s stories and use the headlines to stop and read the articles that I find interesting.
However, website designers, publishers and marketing companies have discovered that it’s better to use teasers- headlines that give only a tiny (and insufficient) bit of information on the content, sprinkled with a tantalizing word or phrase. Often these new headlines serve a dual purpose of dishing out needless fear as well. If you want to get an idea of the cutting edge of this trend, look no further than the website for the ‘weather channel.’ They have perfected this loathsome trend and unashamedly splatter their home page with juicy headlines such as:
‘Beware, THIS is invading the U.S.’….’The View you will see’……’One third of the world INFECTED’….’Volcano ready to BLOW’…’Are they INVADING us?’…..’An endless winter, can you imagine?’…
For a more in-depth and hilarious listing of weather.com’s idiotic headlines, check out this article on college humor:
Another website which is quickly gathering readers and fans and which posts many interesting articles is called upworthy. com. My best friend in California recommended this site and while I enjoy many of the articles, the editors have certainly embraced this teaser headline trend to a fault. Nearly every headline uses this format and it makes me a wee bit nauseated to scroll through the home page with examples like these:
‘Dear straight people, we have to talk’…..’If I told you what this is about, you almost definitely would not click on it’ (I didn’t click on it anyway, nice try)….’If you’re too grossed out to share this video, then you’re exactly why it exists’ ….and on and on.
‘Recommended for you’
By now, everyone who regularly uses the internet has come across the ubiquitous links at the conclusion of articles that are ‘recommended for you.’ Or, they might read ‘Around the web.’ Typically, you will see about a half-dozen links with photos which are often tangentially related to the article you just finished. Here’s the rub: those innocent looking links to web articles and blogs are nothing more than advertisements. They are cleverly disguised as news articles , of course, as all good corporate PR is, but a closer look reveals them for what they are. Beware.