Clickbait: I'm Being Robbed (And You Are Too!)

7952981_orig This morning, I opened a new page in my browser, and there in the corner to the right hand side of the image, was something that moved. I didn’t focus on it. I wanted to read the article, not the adverts. But it persisted – over and over again. Finally, I glanced over and saw that it was indeed just an advert.

By now, however, the damage was done. I had interrupted my reading.

Some years ago, Paul Hemp reported that we lose on average 10% of our IQ score when we are constantly interrupted. I warn my audiences about this as we discuss how email alone can be more than disruptive to our workflow. If we constantly turn to it, we lose mental capacity, too. I say it’s better to schedule times when you do email so that you remain focused. But I digress.

I’m sure you have noticed those videos that begin playing when you open a page. Sometimes silently, but always showing movement. When I reduce the size of the window in an attempt to cover over the videos, they just come along with the margin. This morning Fast Company said, “They’re hard to ignore… They’re clickbait.”

I protest!!

We live in an age when information is readily available to us. In fact, we can easily be overwhelmed with it. Decision and effort are called for to manage this for ourselves (Check out my book Riding the Current for ideas to do so.), and I resent this further disturbance to my time just because the technology makes it possible. I click on adverts that interest me. I watch many videos as I read through the newspaper. But I don’t like being interrupted visually while I am trying to focus my attention in order to be productive in my reading.

So, again, I protest.

How have you experienced clickbait? How has it impacted your focus? What are you doing about it? 

Photo by Joseph Wu courtesy of Flickr