Spring Link Roundup: Clickbait, and Other Things We Should Stop Worrying About

springcleaning.jpgNow that we’ve made it through April Fool’s Day and the #HIMYM finale safely, it officially feels like spring. Since nothing is worse than cleaning, spring or otherwise, I prefer to take a long, hard look at my clutter. Whether its three pairs of the same Converse sneaker or media industry fallacies, we need to sort through and keep, throw away, and donate accordingly.

Here are a few ideas circling my Twitter feed that I think we need to deal with.

KEEP: The Idea that ‘Clickbait’ Isn’t a Dirty Word

Think about your spelling bee award plaques: it’s ok to keep them if you hang them on a wall, in your basement, and talk about them only when asked. This is where we should put the discussion about ‘viral’ and ‘clickbait-y’ content. Mathew Ingram does a nice job of summarizing the historical context of ‘clickbait’, as does Tim Marchman of Deadspin if you need more convinving. While the internet didn’t invent ‘viral’ content, it did make it seem like a problem: the speed at which information moves means that the quality of some information might go down. If something’s good, it should spread. If you use content — like quizzes — to keep readers around for other stuff, too, what’s the problem?

DONATE: How to Measure Traffic

Ever since Upworthy announced their ‘attention minutes,’ the  chatter about how to best measure traffic has increased. Let’s pass the buck donate this problem to the strategy guys, like Raju Narisetti who wrote last month in Poynter about why he thinks ‘vanity metrics‘ are sticking around. Note that if we are sticking to pageviews, we’ll have to become more comfortable with creating content that garners the aforementioned clicks. As journalists, we should understand and weigh in on business models, but until its more than just ideas, I like the idea of keeping analytics away from the writers, as Mary Claire Fisher wrote about in AJR.

THROW AWAY: All Your Negative Think Pieces

It’s hard to throw away any thing when it pertains to journalism or the media industry. What was not true yesterday could be useful to us tomorrow when it comes to talking about how to innovate in digital media. Now that Project Thunderdome is closing, there’s bound to be lots of talking about the ‘future of news media’ all over again. It’s not easy to change the status quo, but the sky isn’t falling either.

What are some links and articles you’ve been thinking about recently? Share them with in in the comments or @10,000Words