Friday, February 28, 2014

5 Reasons I hate Clickbait (and 1 Why It Works)

I may have made up some words in this post.

I'm not sure when it all started. Somewhere around the time I started following @mamamiaspoilers (so I couldn't have to actually follow or read their site) and Buzzfeed coming to prominence, Internet article headlines got unbearably enticing. And I really dislike it.

  • Reason 1: Over-sensationalism. The subject of the article itself is often way less interesting than the headline. Its pretty easy to spot by anyone who uses the web nowadays, but when this technique is starting to be used by traditional media outlets like newspapers, we've reached a tipping point.
  • Reason 2: Obviousness. By now, I should be completely immune to the power of the sensational headline, because its so very obvious its been carefully crafted to make you want to click. And yet...
  • Reason 3: Irresistability. Sometimes I still click. And mostly hate myself for it.
  • Reason 4: Lost Legitimacy. When a worthy and informative article is whored out with a bait-y title, it makes me cry inside.
  • Reason 5: Laziness. If an article sounds like it will be a quick way to get up to date on the latest scandal with a list, we time-poor folk will love it.

Why it works:

BECAUSE WE'RE ALL CURIOUS CREATURES. It's like being told not to push the big red button. You know you shouldn't but you still want to. A lot. So you eventually do.

And as long as we do, websites will keep on doing it. Even the ones you used to trust to bring you the REAL news.

What do you think of the whole trend toward "clickability"?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why I Don't Put Money in Your Charity Tin

This morning it was the Guide Dogs. AND THE GUIDE DOG PUPPIES WERE THERE JUST SITTING AND BEING SO CUTE AND OBEDIENT. People were throwing money.

On Fridays, it’s always the Salvos – both at my local train station and where I get off.

Other times it’s World Vision, Unicef, Doctors Without Borders. Amnesty. RSPCA. WWF. The Starlight Foundation, Red Cross or a local radio station hospital appeal.

On ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day it’s the treat of Defense Force guys in uniform (woot woot!).

And then there’s the special charity days. Bandana Day. Daffodil Day. Pajama Day. Pink Ribbon Day. White Ribbon Day. Teal Ribbon Day. Red Nose Day. World’s Greatest Shave. Cupcake Day (personal favourite because it involves food).

And so we come to the fundraising MONTHS. Febfast. Dry July. Octsober. Movember...

Online, on TV and on the radio, other charities are jostling for my attention via ads and social media. There are wonderful, worthy causes to support such as Buy A Bale to help our struggling farmers (which I really, really which I could give to!).

I’m not saying these charities and fundraising activities are bad or annoying things. They are not. They are great things.

My problem is I can’t give money to them all. I often don’t have money to buy myself a Coke, let alone throw a few bucks in the tin.

And so I don’t give money to any of them. I’m sorry. I intend to give when I have some to spare, but for now, I will continue to suppress my irritation at always, every single day, having someone with their hand out to me, asking for a donation. Because where else are they going to get it, if not from the public?

Do you give to charities? Do you give when asked or prefer to do it privately?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How you know you're getting old

Yesterday afternoon two very loud youths got into my train carriage. They weren't really misbehaving in any way, just being quite boisterous and talking at a high volume. I got the irrits. Thought about how rude they were and didn't their parents teach them any manners? Them I realised what a fuddy-duddy I was. 

Yep, definitely getting 

Here's a few more warning signs of those of us of advancing years:

- you carry a cardigan with you wherever you go. Even in summer. 

- you no longer listen to commercial radio. ABC all the way, baby. 

- music videos shock you.

- you have opinions about stuff like politics, economics and foreign policy. 

- you walk right past any clothes store playing loud music. 

- shoes are chosen for comfort, rather than aesthetic value. 

- you mute the ads on the tv. Just like grandpa used to. 

But it's not all bad. In fact, I rather like the older me. I've learned stuff. I'm more confident in who I am, and what I believe. But I still keep a spare cardigan AND an umbrella in the car. 

Are you exhibiting signs of age? Tell me! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sochi Problems

I have never been a sports-type person. Sure, I watched footy with my dad, played netball and softball at school, and cricket was the soundtrack to every summer of my childhood. I know the rules, vaguely who the players are. But I don’t follow it. I don’t care who wins, except that Queensland beats New South Wales in the State of Origin (that’s some kind of genetic Queenslander thing, I suspect).

So every Olympics, I try to tell myself I’m not interested. It’s not like these elite athletes are curing cancer or anything, after all…

But then I get sucked in. Because humans doing stuff they’re good at is always something to marvel at. You don’t need all a slow-mo montage set to sweeping orchestral strains to do it, but it does help.

What has really drawn my attention to the Sochi Winter Olympics this year has been, of course, Russia’s controversial human rights record (a whole ‘nother blog post to be written by someone more knowledgeable than me), but also the plight of the poor sports journalists who have arrived to find some facilities not yet completed. Some might say that they should stop whining about your First World problems, but when you’re hosting an event that has the eyes of the world on you, perhaps it is best to try to keep the reporters happy?

Anyways, I won’t be staying up until the wee hours every night to watch the snowy goings-on, but I will be watching the nightly recaps. After all, it is a good feeling when your team wins.


Will you be watching the Winter Olympics?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Does it really matter?

Asking the big philosophical questions here on the blog today. No, not really. But it is about perspective. 

My workplace has been very stressful lately. A combination of problems that haven't been fixed, short-staffing and general idiocy has resulted in a perfect storm of craziness. I have been hoping things would get better in the new year but they haven't. 

I work in accounts. Accounting, if you didn't know, has a monthly cycle. I am a collector. That means I make you pay your bills. (Yes, it's as fun as it sounds!)

Yesterday, being the 31st, was our last collection day. It had to count. I had to get as much moola in as possible. My life depended on it...

Except it didn't. Yes, my monthly bonus depended on it but not much else. My workmate, seeing me freaking out at a large debtor not paying at the last minute, asked me - "Does it really matter? I mean, really really?"

Our boss looked sharply at us but I still took a breath, thought about it and said "No."

My personal pride may take a beating. Our team results may not be as great as last month. But really, I won't lose my job. The world won't end. 

So, this weekend I am attempting to put my work into perspective. I'd love it to be a place where I am learning and being professionally fulfilled every day, but lets face it, sometimes it's not. It's a job, that I do to earn money, so I can have a nice life. 

It matters, but not as much as I tend to think it does sometimes. 

Do you care too much about work? How do you put it into perspective?


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