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The future of the internet - you wont believe how this will affect you.

We are at an age where internet access is as a necessity to the home and the workplace as running water and electric. In 2015 the estimated internet usage across the world was half the population and accessibility to the internet is constantly growing.

So what for the future of the internet, in the post I want to discuss the latest trend that drives what and why we browse what we browse. Yes, I am discussing "clickbait". Before I go any further let me clarify what clickbait is:

(on the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.

By definition clickbait is advertising, it's what we all as web users see every time we fire up our favourite browser and start searching. However the darker side of this is the use of manipulative titles in order to engage in the users curiosity. Take the title of this blog for example, "The future of the internet - you wont believe how this will affect you." The title is simple, it shows what I want to discuss in the post, but then the second part suggests there is something you must know within the article and it will have impact on you, immediately you're subconsciously curious as to the what and the why.

So why discuss the technique? Is there anything wrong with using "clickbaiting" to drive traffic to a site or article? Well its a tough question to answer, as easy as it is to spot its also equally difficult to resist. The problem with the technique is that it often doesn't drive relevant content and would normally provide you with information you don't need or stories that don't “live up” to the excitement that the link promised you. At the same time it clearly works to drive traffic, from personal experience alone I've noticed a massive increase in this type of article presence on the web over the last few months and will admit that I've been caught out several times by the pointless articles purely because of curiosity in the title.

The increase of this sort of advertising (lets just call it what it is) has lead to major companies like facebook releasing aides to users to help spot “fake news”

So lets jump back, why are we discussing this, is it really an issue? Yes, its a problem we need to fix! As the popularity of clickbaiting increases it is likely to be picked up big larger sites and overtime would leave to a very misleading internet experience, curiosity killed the cat, now its after the average web user.

How can we stop it? Honestly I'm not sure we can, curiosity will always win out and as long as the sites using clickbait are seeing the high volumes of traffic they are getting there is likely to be no change in the methods used to acquire the traffic.

So come on, how will this affect you? It has already, you've made it this far but hopefully unlike most articles this will have sparked some thought the next time you see a headline reading “You wont believe what happens next....”.

MSC Consulting UK
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