Picture this. You’re just scrolling along through Facebook, minding other peoples’ business, when all of a sudden an outrageous, compelling, and overwhelmingly useless article shows up. Maybe one of your friends shared it, or maybe it’s a sponsored post that somehow found its way to your newsfeed through the dark depths of your previous Google searches. Either way, the article is a can’t-miss and must be read now.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been here. I mean, there. However, there are secrets to avoiding the time-wasting joys of the new Internet sensation of clickbait. Here they are:
1. Don’t click on it.
This strategy is actually pretty simple. All that is required of you is to not click on the distracting article. Maybe you can close out of Facebook and go back to writing that essay you’ve been putting off. Perhaps you can go apply for that job that will be taken by tomorrow. You could even keep scrolling through Facebook if you want, but whatever you do, don’t click on that article.
2. Don’t click on any related articles.
There’s going to be articles on the side that claim to be related to the one you’re reading. Don’t read those either.
3. Remember that most GIFs are taken way out of context.
"Aww, what a cute little panda!" you say to yourself, unaware that this panda is actually being tormented by scientists researching a rare condition called Rocking Horse Vertigo Disease.
4. Hug your father.
Sources say that there is a strong correlation between a close relationship with your dad and a productive life free of pointless disturbances. When you get home, make sure to show your father that you love him just as much as you hate clickbait.
5. Don’t fall for anything that you might feel connected to or agree with.
Some of those distracting articles are written by some pretty clever people. They may seem to be on your side by saying things like “We’ve all been there,” or “This article is a can’t-miss,” or even “Don’t click on it.” They don’t actually relate to you, though, so don’t fall for it.
6. If you’ve gotten this far, you’re already failing.
Studies have shown that reaching number six in a clickbait article is a good indication that you’re a product of a corrupt government and will continue to be distracted from the evils of society until your clueless little mind is transported into a computer.
7. Don’t get caught up in crazy conspiracies made by Internet lunatics.
100001110111000011111001010111110010. When you are a computer, this will all make sense.
8. Were you ever on "The Office"? No? Then you are not a character from "The Office."
Successful clickbait can capitalize on your procrastination and your familiarity with pop culture to increase its revenue and decrease your productivity. Some online quizzes convince you that you are similar to someone from a hit TV show, when in reality you are a boring, forgettable person with absolutely no worth to anything.
9. Stay away from articles that belittle you.
You are worth so much. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
10. Don’t fall for any reverse psychology trick that the writer might be trying to pull off.
Sometimes, clickbait writers will tell you one thing but actually mean the exact opposite. For example, a clickbait writer may tell you that you'll never believe what will happen when a man and a crocodile get into a fight, but you really can believe it (the man kills the crocodile and sells the skin to the Steve Irwin Foundation).
11. Go outside.
Take that preoccupied mind of yours to a place void of social boundaries, where you can be free from the demonic construct of clicking and--just, get out here. Leave.