On clickbait

This is a nice short talk about online ‘ugliness’ and ‘changing the way you click’. Clicking is a public act, Sally Kohn argues; it’s no longer the case that the media is produced just by big corporations. Now everything we blog, tweet or click is a public act, and this makes us the media editors. That means we decide what gets attention based on what we give our attention to, and this shapes our whole culture.

The tyranny of the loud, she argues, encourages the tyranny of the nasty. And we need to change the incentive before our whole culture gets burned. What gets the most clicks wins – and so we need to change what we click, to stop engaging in the things we don’t like.

I disagree with Kohn on a few things: I think it’s a little naive to consider the public consumers of media as the ‘new media editors’: I believe there are far more insidious forces at work determining what we see and learn about. Some of her advice about dealing with online ‘ugliness’ too makes me pause – I’m not sure it’s a simple as she makes out. But what I do really like is that Kohn does a really good job of finding and calling out the visible implications of algorithmic culture in our media consumption and in the way information is presented to us.