Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Clickbait Conundrum

In a market of oversaturation, what does one have to do to stand out and would also be the most rewarding? Creativity? Nah. Hard work and commitment? Please. Be unique? Even that term is oversaturated now. No. You know what Youtube rewards the most? Clickbait. The art of pulling people in under false pretence, not delivering what you claim your content would deliver, and pasting sexy-babe.png into your thumbnail and highlight specific ass-ets with those shiny, totally not annoying red arrows. And you know what the best part of it all is? It has been accepted.

"98% will not see the difference!!!1!!1!" False. "GTA 6 giveaway!" False. "Half-Life 3 gameplay uncovered [super rare gone wrong in the hood]!" False. False. FALSE! The real question isn't why it works, because I think we can all agree on why this pestilent method works (you just wanna click on it, ya know?). No. The real question is why it's still on this damn site. Why? We'll get to this later, in more detail, but it's the first question that I continue to ask myself. Every day. Till my head hurts. Does Youtube think so little of their own status? Is our culture just fucked?

Seeing as I hold extremely little merit in the dark pits of the site that is called, no one performing the aforementioned arts will read this and even if they would, they damn sure wouldn't change a thing. And why the hell should they? Revenue, increased watch time, subscribers, views; they all mirror one statement: clickbait is good, clickbait is rewarding, and clickbait is the way to go. Clickbait no longer sends out a negative resonance, as it sends out a positive one. No longer is it frowned upon, as it is widely acclaimed as profitable. No longer is clickbait used by scummy channels with an already questionable positioning, as it is used by some of the biggest channels now. And the worst part of it all? Everyone seems totally fine with it.

Clickbait excels at one key aspect: the potential to go viral. And you know what 'viral' stands for in Youtube HQ? "Mad money, yo." I wouldn't blink twice if I saw an actual poster with a similar wording, hanging over Susan Wojcicki's head, as she ruthlessly tells her 10 secretaries to leave her be as she is counting her stacks of hard-earned cash. In a whole different topic, one that I am dying to discuss in the near future, Youtube is a company. Plain and simple. It needs to earn money, and it needs to be profitable. Down the line, and the end of the track, that's what Youtube is about, and what it should be about. You think Youtube is doing everything from the kindness of their blackened souls? You think Youtube will stretch one limb to stop this revenue-train? Because viral not only means more views, but, most importantly, it also means new visitors. New visitors on their precious toxic dump site of content. Visitors that will potentially bathe in that very waste for hours on end. No. Don't count on the company to change, because they are doing exactly what they need to do. Instead, count on the users. But nothing has ever felt more unrealistic than that statement.

There are numerous reasons why Youtube's visitors have apparently accepted clickbait as a normal method of communication, and there are different levels of clickbait as well. One of the biggest reasons why I personally think clickbait is normal, is the humor that accompanies it. Nowadays, specifically the bigger channels, employ clickbait, claiming it's 'funny', because that way, nobody will blame them. "You can't get veews without clickbeet anymore!" or they just use an equally oversaturated meme. It's this culture that has made it acceptable to use clickbait. After all, it's just for fun right? Nobody should take it seriously!

Remember that slur I used not too long before, where one can claim he or she is not able to gather views if he or she does not use clickbait? Well, sadly, it's getting pretty damn close to actually being exactly that. The current need for relevancy is ironically achieved by irrelevant content. The need for a higher quality of life is received by a mirrored pile of poo of lower quality content. I feel it's important to highlight the different forms/levels of clickbait. There are low levels of clickbait, like a GTA 5 video mentioning "Epic" in the title while we all know there is nothing "Epic" about anything in that whole video. Harmless. Time-wasting? Yes. Heck, I did that. Come at me. Or the always annoying "I QUIT!" video, where you leave with the message of that person leaving for week, but you'd wish they actually would quit. Originality? Nowhere. Harm done? No.

But there are also higher levels of clickbait. Shall we call it... AzzyBait, by AzzyLand, gladly showing you her enormous bosom for a quick but insane stack of money. Or ClickJimmy, by LispyJimmy, well-known for "humorously" dubbing GTA 5 videos as GTA 6. But it's funny, you know? Countless of others have mastered, nay, perfected the arts of clickbait. The only kind of satisfaction I get from any of, if you don't count Azzy's bosom, is the comment section. Shredded. Every single one of them. But seeing as their screens are blocked by dozens of stacks of Benjamins, who really gives a shit?

The head of LispyJimmy is one that I would want to take a look into. Just to take a poke at his brain to see if A) it still functions, and B) if there's any section that would control his feeling of guilt. Stupid questions, both, I know. But as I stated earlier, in relation to Youtube, is there no feeling of remorse. No feeling of losing respect of others. No feeling of betraying yourself as you are spitting on the hobby you so enjoyed doing while only delivering one cancerous video after another? Seeing as his brain would probably overload from feeling two emotions at the same time, I'm guessing the answer is a solid "No". Just as solid as the claim that he steals every bit of 'his' originality.

Here comes the real ranty bit. Ranty isn't a word? Neither is clickbait. Deal with it. Youtube, as a platform, is getting close to being a cesspool, where bacteria thrive, and normal functioning organisms perish. I know I'm breaking the number 1 rule, but Youtube is now a fight club, where the one kicking his opponents in the nuts will emerge victorious over the person playing a little more fair. A pond, filled with Scrooge McDucks, where simpletons like myself, have very little to pick from. Going back to RetardedJimmy one last time, how is someone like that still allowed to post content? Besides the fact that I know why, and we all know why, it grinds my gears. It grinds my gears so hard it makes me want to not buy GTA 6 anymore when it comes out. That's a lie. But still.

Thankfully, as always, there are content creators, bigger ones too, that have set out to do what they wanted to do, and still do that same thing. No tricks. No shitty methods. Just passion. Jesse Cox, Vanoss, Milimate (huehue), you name them. Thing is, for this to change, we need to change the way people act. Which is impossible. Almost just as impossible as finding a decent GTA 5 video. And whether you like it or not, clickbait will become the standard. I, for one, will never choose this path. Not because I'm some social justice warrior, but because it would kill everything I've worked for, including my principles.

Youtube is often mentioned as the successor of TV. But TV is censored as -beep-, so Youtube would have to be censored right? How did it come to the point where it is acceptable to earn lots and lots of money, and lots of it, by plain lying to your audience. Crux of the matter is, content creators often complain about Youtube not taking responsibility, and that their creating is their job. Get real. Please. Can you imagine going to a plastic surgeon because you saw an ad somewhere that said "Enlarge one boob, get the other boob enlarged for free", only to find a fat, hairy and little man sitting there to just touch some boobs? Basically the same. Not really. Clickbait's probably more vile. But with that statement I'll conclude my blog. I just really wanted to get the word 'boob' in here. Because clickbait.

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