Sunday, June 7, 2015

This 1 Reading Hack Will Change Your Life

No particular reason for the Buddha. I just like him a lot. 

Any writer knows that a great headline makes all the difference. You’ve got about two sixteenths of a second to grab someone’s attention, or not. Attention spans are about the size of a gnat brain these days, and just as flighty, so those well-oiled headline hacks are part of the game sometimes. But it’s getting a bit ridiculous out there, folks.

Baity blog post titles give me a twitch, and not a happy kind of twitch. You know the ones. They read something like, “… and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!” or “ … When I Saw, it My Mouth Fell Open!” And a personal favorite, “ … After Seeing This, My Life was Never the Same!” 

When was the last time anyone’s life actually changed because of a post about rubbing coffee grounds around the eyes, or how different a girl looked wearing makeup, or a recipe for blueberry lemonade? 

For that matter, has anyone’s Mind really been Blown because of a way to keep a doorknob from slamming into a wall? Isn’t that why some genius invented these things about a thousand years ago? 

I fell for all of it at first. Hook, line, and proverbial sinker. It was different. Sometimes it was even clever. And clever is good. But now, the whole thing is pretty much a guarantee that I won’t click. Why? The answer will ASTOUND YOU!

Because the copy never lives up to the title (sorry, not sorry about that).

If my life had ever been changed by any of those life-changing posts, I would be all over it like my crazy dog on my cat’s latest deposit in the litter box. Ew. But it hasn’t. 

She really is smarter than she looks. Except when it comes to the cat box.
Have I seen anything in one of those posts that I thought was interesting? Of course! It really is clever, I think, to fold over the top of a potato chip bag to make it easier to reach into. And now I know that if there’s ever a power outage AND I happen to have a bag of corn chips in the house, I can set them on fire and burn them like adorable little triangular candles. 

Weren’t tips like that usually something Heloise would tell us about? If she wrote a title about a “Mind Blowing Way to ___________” you’re damn right I’d click! But that’s because Heloise has developed a reputation for being straight up, smart, and to the point. She’s genuine. If she told you that you could remove a ketchup stain from your wedding dress using motor oil (Please don’t try that, because she hasn’t. And why are you eating French fries on the way to the church anyhow?), you’d better believe that it would work. 

I guess that’s what’s so bothersome. It’s false advertising. All of it. Click here to have everything that you ever thought you knew about life permanently changed … by a dude who tells you to cut a basketball in half and duct tape it to a wall to prevent the door knob from crashing into it. 

You need a springy door stopper thingy. Now. 

I realize that I sound grumpy. I guess I am. But it really is getting so ridiculous out there. A great headline really is important. Without it, most people won’t even click at all. But if most of the effort is spent on the headline while the copy is as soggy as yesterday’s salad, I’m just not buying it. I’m smarter than that. 

And despite what the people who churn out this crap by the ton want you to believe about yourself, you are smarter than that, too. 

So what's that one reading hack that will change your life? Be skeptical. Always be skeptical.