1. Is this click bait? Click bait can manifest itself in a number of ways.
Does the headline promise information such as “5 foods you should never eat again” only to lead you to a 30 minute sales pitch that only sort of answers the question but promises amazing results if you just purchase the program? This is click bait (This is only hypothetical…not an actual site that I may or may not have clicked on)
Does the headline read “You’ll never believe what this girl did…..” underneath a suggestive picture? This is click bait (This may also be spam or a virus. More on that later)
Is the headline just vague enough or spectacular enough that you are not sure what the article is about? This is click bait
2. Do I have time for this?
I have a little rule of thumb. It’s not very scientific, but goes something like this: If I click on the link and it takes more than about 2.5 seconds to load, I’m done. If the video is longer than five minutes, or the article longer than a few pages, I may lose interest. Which leads me to the next question..
3. Am I really interested?
Is this article/picture/blog/youtube video worth the time and mental energy I’m about to put into it? Once you start clicking, the internet sucks you into a black hole of lost time and opportunity you will never. get. back. (Hypothetically of course…not speaking from experience.)
4. Is this spam or possibly a virus?
Some of the more outrageous examples of click bait can be spam or malware. Next thing you know all of your friends are getting strange emails from you and social media is claiming you “liked” some horrible video you’ve never seen before. Be a good friend and let the poor victim know they’ve been hacked rather than being shocked at their online choices.
5. Do I want everyone to know that I liked, read, or visited this site?
You may think you are acting under complete privacy and autonomy, but as soon as you click that link, targeted advertisements and emails show up. Also through some mysterious internet algorithm (or possibly just the privacy settings) your friends can all see what you liked or read.
There you go, readers. Five questions to ask before you click. Happy and safe surfing!