Thinking Out Loud

October 1, 2020

An Entirely New Type of Website

Filed under: Christianity, internet, technology — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:05 am

There’s an entirely new type of website out there. Perhaps you’ve seen them.

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I first became aware of them less than a year ago, though I suppose they’ve been around longer.

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They appeared as “Promoted” posts in my Twitter feed. I’ve been on Twitter since 2013. Generally, I like using it.

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A lot of people have Twitter. It’s a very popular service. I’ll bet you either have it on your phone or computer, or know someone who does.

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So maybe others have seen them, also.

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The Twitter posts begins with a provocative question or revelation or a picture that might pique your interest.

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“The most interesting things that ever happened in world history.” Or, “The most bizarre thing you’ve ever read.” 

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You say to yourself, ‘This will just take a minute.’ You really believe that to be true. It won’t be a waste of time.

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I don’t usually click on promoted posts, but sometimes curiosity gets the better of me. Perhaps you, too.

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The first paragraph is a reiteration of the headline or question or issue at hand. That’s pretty standard journalism. Introduce the topic in the first two or three sentences.

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Then there is an advertisement, but that’s okay, because the information is all going to come in the next paragraph, right?

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But the second paragraph is a bit of a teaser. Or filler. Things like, “I’ll be you’ve often wondered about this, haven’t you?”

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Then the information starts to flow, but it’s not exactly what the Twitter post mentioned, nor is it containing the photo image in the Twitter teaser.

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But it’s close, so probably a few more scrolls down the page and we’ll get to what it is that I was made to want to read.

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But the topic appears to offer a number of variants, rabbit trails and diversions. Each section is on-topic, but I’m pretty sure the substance of the topic is just around the corner.

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Except it isn’t. The paragraphs seem to be self replicating. The more I see, the more there is to see.

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I wonder if there is an end in sight. Or if my phone has the capacity to keep loading more.

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Because of the advertising, the page is getting graphically heavy, but I’m sure my phone has the storage to load more adverts and more paragraphs.

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I’m realizing the people who dreamed up this format are rather clever. They can promise advertisers — and actually deliver — eyeballs to match their pitches.

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And of course, they have to find writers who can be trained in writing this type of endlessly teasing copy.

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It’s a whole new type of journalism.

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But I’m also beginning to be able to sense these before clicking. Sniff them out, so to speak.

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So I’m thinking that you’re getting the idea by now, aren’t you.

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There truly is a whole new type of website out there, and I’m not so sure that it, like so many other aspects of the new technology, is doing us any good.

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1 Comment »

  1. I go to the comments immediately and read what everyone is saying about the content. You save yourself a ton of time by hitting comments first.

    Comment by Troy Lee West — October 1, 2020 @ 11:21 am


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