Monkey skulls from outer space

May 7, 2018

Wendy Parker

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Who can resist a headline from outer space?

OK, maybe I’m more apt to click on a headline from outer space than most folks, but the question of clickbait still remains pertinent.

Two categories reside in the clickbait universe. One is the true definition – a headline compelling you to click on a story about orphaned elephant swans. You can’t possibly imagine what an elephant swan is, or why it might be orphaned, so you click. Turns out, there is no such thing as an elephant swan. The article leads to a website in which you’ve won a new I-phone 22, and partial ownership of a small Mediterranean island in the South Pacific.

I call this, “crap bait.”

The other is a headline sensationalized to the point of obfuscating the real point of the story. A lead-in indicating a brawl between opposing biker gangs is ripe for clicks. You know you’ve been had when it turns out to be a piece about kids in a BMX competition.

I call this, “the reason we can’t have nice things in journalism.”

Trucking news is not immune to it. We are seeing it with ever-more increasing frequency. The sad reality is worthy news we need to know about oftentimes is drowned out in the sea of all of the sensationalized nonstories.

Point in case, the electronic logging mandate caught way too many people by surprise. I put a lot of the blame on the enticements of those clickbait headlines. People are just more inclined to be interested in Big Foot than a “notice of proposed rulemaking.”

The author of the piece is not always to be blamed for clickbait headlines. Numbers are where it’s at in the online news game. The drive for numbers has unfortunately become more important than the drive for accuracy in headlines and content.

Crudely put, bullcrap pays the bills.

It also keeps a lot of people from getting the gist of an article or story, because all they read is the headline, take it for Bible truth, and spread the word, regardless of whether or not it’s correct.

So before you go out and tell people Wendy Parker found alien monkey skulls from outer space, read the piece.

And just because I can’t help myself, “Ha ha! Made you look!”

Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker has covered the trucking industry since 2012 after she says she “lost my mind and decided to climb inside my husband’s big truck to travel with him as an over-the road, long-haul trucker.” Her unique writing style that ranges from biting satire to investigative journalism coupled with her unbridled passion for fighting round out a wildly talented stable of writers.