#1: Take it seriously.
But anyway, it’s becoming more and more common that news headlines have to try harder to get your attention. After all, we have been in a 24/7 news cycle for quite some time now and with more and more “reporters” out there trying to generate clicks on their articles so they can get the fractions of pennies for their efforts, well, desperation sets in. (FYI, “Desperation” is a word I’ve been using quite a lot lately.)
It seems to me that advice articles have tried the hardest in the click-bait ascendency. You used to have articles that wanted you to do things correctly. Headlines like:
“Best Ways to Cook a Turkey”, “A Dozen Crafts for Kids”, or “How to Paint a Room”
Ah, the good old days. Then, as competition heated up in the clicks department, the authors – or more likely the editors – had to get more stealthy. It actually didn’t matter if the article was useful to you anymore, just as long as you clicked on it. That became more important than providing relevant, useful information. Now you had:
“You Won’t Believe How These People Cook a Turkey!”, “Incredible Crafts Your Kids Will Love You For”, and “You Must Do This In Every Room of Your House!!!!”
It should not be a surprise that all news now is driven by fear. (It’s not true, people!) So, keeping in step with the times, headlines switched to a negative tone. So then:
“Don’t Make These Mistakes When Cooking a Turkey”, “No More Crying With These Kid’s Crafts”, and “Is Your Room a Disaster?”
But then, a bit of fear just didn’t go far enough. Like building up a tolerance to a drug, the news peddlers had to up the dosage. Enter the adverb “never”.
“You Should Never Do This When Cooking a Turkey”
And then, when that wasn’t enough, they added another adverb, “ever”.
“Never, Ever, Think About Cooking a Turkey.”
And once you reach that point, don’t you realize you’re talking to people as if they’re children? Maybe that’s the point, that no one will heed a warning unless it is smacked upside their head? They will never, ever heed a warning. Never, ever.
And the thing that has irked me as of late is how that wording has infiltrated the most benign articles. Things that shouldn’t ever (never, ever) need such treatment. Here’s a quick list of actual titles:
- 4 Alarming Shifts In Your Sex Life You Should Never, Ever Ignore
- 10 Things That Good Houseguests Never Ever Do
- 8 kids’ songs that I never ever want to hear again
- Why You Should Never, Ever Order This Drink at McDonald’s
- Apparently you should “never, ever” brush your hair in the morning.
And I could go on and on. There’s already “never, ever, ever” starting to creep in. Fucking hell.