They’re totally onto your clickbait

Image: Redd Angelo

I just spent the weekend with a group of teens for a writing/blogging workshop, and I noticed something quite interesting and revealing...

Gen Z is totally onto clickbait headlines and fear-based marketing.

I’ve been seeing a lot of it on Medium. The discussion seems to be heating up. It’s a puddle of mud that I don’t care/have the time to jump into right now, but I’ll just state what I saw…

This was no internet marketing seminar where the word ‘clickbait’ was even a topic. I was with a group of about 10 high school kids. Varied backgrounds. Various schools around the area. A pretty diverse crowd. And clickbait seemed to be a regular topic of discussion among them. They knew the term and it was utterly clear that they despise it. They totally ignore the stuff. They see it as a deceptive, commercialized, cheap move. One girl even wrote about it in a poem of hers!

There may be a large demographic out there right now who clickbait seems to work ‘well’ with. But there will come a day when the mass majority of the market will take you as a fool if you lean too heavily on these scare tactics.

I love this. I was so happy to see that these kids were so damn savvy, so true to themselves, and so unwilling to buy in to the fear-based marketing of the past. These kids have bullshit detectors as finely-tuned as any I’ve seen. I was blown away by how well they can sniff out any trace of phoniness or inauthenticity (yes, Hillary and Donald came up a lot).

I pried a bit. I asked what kinds of emails and articles they tended to click on. What they said was, just be real. Just show the reader what they’re about to read. Sure, evoke a little curiosity. Be interesting. But they’re so over the clickbait.

I could probably have an audience that’s three times bigger if I used more clickbait. But I’d rather have a smaller audience full of people who enjoy what I write because it consistently serves them and it connects with them on a deep level rather than a huge audience of fear-based, knee-jerk, lookie-loos.

To get Jonasshort daily meditations delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they’re live, click here.

If you enjoyed this piece, proclaim your love to the world by recommending it below. Thanks!