Click of the Wrist

Viral Headlines

Tired of those desperately overblown headlines designed to get more clicks for Upworthy, Viralnova, and other purveyors of procrastination? This week’s links explain the trend, poke fun at it, and?best of all?show you how to keep the headlines from popping up in your feed. You won’t believe what happens next.

One Weird Browser Extension That Will Change Your Life
If the constant influx of so-called Viral Headline English is making you consider renouncing the Internet, give this new Chrome browser extension a try. Called Downworthy, it searches for popular headline terms and substitutes words to tone down the hype. For example, ?Incredible? is changed to ?Painfully Ordinary,? and ?Will Blow Your Mind? to ?Might Perhaps Mildly Entertain You For a Moment.? You Must Be Mildly Curious to See How This Painfully Ordinary Extension will Barely Affect Your Life At All.

Read What Happens Next
Classics, schmassics?if the greats of literature had really wanted their books read, they’d have made their titles much more clickable. Fortunately, culture magazine The Millions has done it for them. From Watch This Kid Burst Into Tears When He’s Refused Some More Porridge (Oliver Twist) to The Most Powerful Dark Wizard in the World Tried to Kill Him When He Was a Baby. On Page 4,305 You’ll Find Out Why. (Harry Potter), You’re sure to find something worth clicking?or reading.

Ancient Secrets to Twitter Success
What is it that makes headlines and stories go viral? How are social media experts using these elements to get more clicks? This New Yorker piece examines the truths behind viral marketing?from Aristotle to the modern day.

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