WARNING: Post contains whining fueled by wine regarding modern media.
Scanning my facebook feed, I see a variety of empty articles and boring shares. Shares with titles like, “7 Intelligent Women Making History,” “Jonathan Jackson’s Return to General Hospital,” “5 Ways to be a Body Love Activist,” or how about we try this one, “9 Signs a Guy is a ‘Relationship Type’” blink up at me, short and sweet, clear and straightforward, enticing me with their quantification to CLICK.
Ok, ok. So some of this is my fault, shame on me for following sites like Elite Daily and sure, not all of these titles are completely bad – ‘Body Love’ is super important after all. But, the thing is, on sites like Facebook, where some (dare I admit – where many) of us go for the latest news stories and trendiest topics, the titles are dumbing us down and the articles themselves? These articles are thin. They merely list out ideas and barely complete them, they rarely take on the challenge of plumbing the depths of any given issue. The part that’s really scary about the listicle titles and the thin articles? Not only do I write articles like these – some of which I like and am proud of, but these are the articles we, the consumers, are more likely to click on. Not all of these articles are piss poor or anything – really they aren’t, but they have to be quick, to the point, and they have to have these connect every-single-dot titles because our attention spans are rapidly dwindling.
It’s this never ending spiral – media engines on Facebook have to buy into it to get more clicks and more funding. If their articles are too long we won’t click them and pretend to read them, and each time we read a shorter and more obvious piece, the more we lose the ability and/or the interest in reading a long-form piece of true investigative journalism that actually exhausts the complexities of an issue.
This is a problem. Though I like sites like Hellogiggles, and Bustle, and even the occasional Elite Daily – I think all this sharing of articles whose titles tell their whole story or are carefully composed to garner a click without including much more thinking are hurting us, and hurting the way we express ourselves – but at the same time opening more and more spaces for us to express ourselves. Basically the whole thing is confusing and overwhelming and I don’t exactly know what the answer is.
I don’t mean to say that no good media outlets exist anymore, and I don’t mean to take down blogs like those I am describing – I just think that the attention to analytics, stats, clicks, and views, and whatever else, is taking away from quality writing and quality thinking and instead turning the focus to popularity. In today’s world, articles about being yourself and body positivity, for example, are constructed in strategic ways to accumulate clicks and likes. Carefully concocted and canned media marketing bluntly contradicts the intended messages of uplifting articles and listicles because the very nature of articles like these reinforces the overarching message of the internet and social media which insists that we need external validation in order to be valuable.
So what do you think? How do you feel about the constant and contradicting messages? Do you feel constricted and suffocated by today’s media landscape? For me, it feels wide open and free, but at the same time entirely too crammed.
I would love to read some of your thoughts in the comments.
I hope you enjoyed my Monday night thoughts.
Mull em’ over!