We live in an age of buzzwords, hashtags, trending phrases, and heightened hive mentalities.
This means that when things catch on, they're suddenly on the tips of everyone's tongues (or should I say fingertips since people don't like to actually speak anymore?). One that's very popular at this moment, especially because of the polarizing election season we all just endured here in the states, is the term "fake news." During the election season, there were dozens- if not hundreds- of sites that profited directly from their ability to hoodwink you. They'd entice you to click, give you some sort of non-information- or worse, fictional information- and before you could go running to yell at your friends on social media about your latest epiphany, the owners of the site were laughing all the way to the bank.
Yes, there certainly are nefarious figures out there who seek to make a profit at any cost and regardless of the collateral damage.
LRM, and sites like it...do not fall into the category.
We're a film blog. Our duty is to share the day's hottest news and rumors with you, and we specialize in bringing you our own fresh, passionate, unique take on what's being said out there. I've always said it: If you want straight, "Just the facts, ma'am" reporting...then stop coming here! Go to the "hard news" sites like The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Deadline. Reading those is the entertainment equivalent of reading the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. It's an informative, but mainly clinical experience.
When you come here, expect something far more lively. Our writers work hard to not just regurgitate the news because, let's face it, if you go to any random sampling of 10 movie blogs out there at any given time you're going to find the same exact stories. Some have a fleet of 25 writers sitting at different cubicles, spamming you with 29 stories based on the same newly-released Marvel trailer ("Let's rewind it! Let's slow it down! Let's fast forward! Let's do a VIDEO! Let's do a PODCAST! Let's do a side-by-side! Let's flip it!") and others have four or five dedicated writers carefully curating a reading list they think you'll find interesting.
There's a ton of variety out there, so find the one that suits you. Here at LRM, we're For Fanboys, By Fanboys This means we want you to feel like you're hanging out with your friends, talking about your favorite geek properties and getting all excited- or working up a Nerd Rage Hulkout that's going to consume the internet.
I bring all this up because, lately, as a by-product of all of this #FakeNews chatter that's going around out there, it's become popular for folks to label anything they don't like as "Clickbait" and/or "fake."
Check out this exchange that took place this morning on our Facebook (which is an awesome place that you need to go "Like" and visit, by the way. Ahem.):
The poster at the top? Doesn't get it. The poster on the bottom? Totally gets it.
Yes, it's true. The popular trend now is to go, "Hmm...I disagree with your premise. Never mind that you totally backed up what the headline claimed/asked, and that you gave solid grounds for feeling/stating what you said...I'll just type 'Clickbait' while on my way to the next post that hopefully tells me exactly what I want to hear!"
In the example used above, the commenter who accused us of "Clickbait" was responding to a post by Drew Carlton, who wrote the provocative post "ARROW Midseason Trailer & Are The CW Shows Doomed To Fail? Our Readers Answer."
Is that provocative? Yes. But does he explain, in the post itself, what he means and where that question comes from? Yes. So the choice for you, as a reader, becomes: "Do I want to engage in this conversation?" That's it! That's all it is. You either go, read it, then chime in telling him what you think. Or you just...scroll the hell away from there.
There's nothing nefarious at play here.
But that's the unfortunate climate we presently live in. The instinct has become to shrug off anything we disagree with as being totally without merit, or completely made-up, instead of understanding that different people interpret different things...differently. Or that others may know way more about a given subject than you do and so, even if it challenges you to think with a more open mind, that doesn't make them wrong. It may actually mean you have...*GASP*...more to learn!
And let's not forget why the term "clickbait" was coined. It came from internet posts that baited a hook with some sort of sensational headline, enticed passersby to bite on them like hungry fish...before revealing to them that instead of a yummy worm for them to eat, they'd really just been tricked because the post itself doesn't live up to the headline at all. The post would end up having nearly nothing to do with the headline, or just have zero meat on the bones of its premise, and was a transparent grab at your clicks for ad dollars.
And make no mistake about it: We want you to click on our headlines. All of us do. EVERY SITE DOES!!
Shocking, I know. But nothing in life is free. You weren't born entitled to everything you want for free. People have to work hard and earn a livable wage creating entertainment for you. So when you click on a headline and spend time at a site, remember, you're supporting a business. You're showing appreciation towards those who work hard to bring you good material to ingest. So when you post on a Facebook link and say to other readers, "I'll save you a click. The director they're referring to is Steven Spielberg," you're not being a hero or a crusader for your fellow man; You're basically doing the equivalent of standing in front of a store and pushing prospective customers away before they can enter.
So we absolutely do want you to click, and read, and visit our site regularly. And that doesn't make us evil. When we write a headline that's especially intriguing, we always strive to answer these questions first:
- Is it accurate?
- If the writer's POV is kind of "out there," are they backing it up?
- Will this be an interesting conversation for our readers?
The "sneakiest" thing we'll do, admittedly, is make the headline a question and make it so you have to click on it to find the answer in the post itself. But, again, that's cause we're a business and we want to bring consumers inside. Everyone would go out of business if someone just stood outside throwing products onto the street.
Our promise to you is that we'll always make your visit worthwhile. We work hard to not write crazy headlines just for the sake of crazy headlines. We desire to give you something to think about or analyze, and then come back at us whether you agree or not. We want to create and fuel passionate conversations with fellow fanboys, and make this a destination for you to come and use LRM as your sounding board. It's why our Podcasts are so interactive; why our writers almost always take that extra time to visit you in the Comments of our posts; and encourage things like Reader Submissions for Monday op-ed columns.
We don't care if you agree with us. We just love talking about all of this stuff.
Call me an optimist, but I'd like to think that many of our neighboring film blogs could Copy and Paste this post and replace "LRM" with their own name and have it all be true. You can be the judge of that. I'll just keep my focus right here where it belongs.
Last thing I'll leave you with:
It's important to factor everything in. Before you comment or put on your Keyboard Warrior Camo Paint, ask yourself:
- Is this a news piece?
- Is it an op-ed, meaning it's based on the writer's opinion?
- Is this an "LRM Rumor" (meaning we are its place of origin) or just a general rumor we're passing along in order to make sure you don't miss anything?
You'd be amazed what these distinctions can do for you, and your general mental well-being.
Thanks for reading!
Now I'm off to go write my next piece:
Zack Snyder's New Look At BATMAN Will Bring Forth The End Of Mankind! (Photo)