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SXSW 2017

Gone Fishing: How to Not Let Clickbait Reel You In

With a business model exceedingly beholden to advertisers, many media organizations feel they must rely on fishing in order to generate traffic and boost ad rates. Who are the fish? We the social media users, who gobble up all those bites of news and gossip that pass in front of our eyes as we swim through our feeds and streams. And what does the media use to catch these fish? Clickbait: deceptive, disproportionate, and disingenuous headlines, tweets and Facebook posts designed to reel us in. But a grassroots movement has sprouted up to push back against this fishiness, and some organizations have adopted strategies to earn clicks without resorting to nefarious tactics. Others...not so much.

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  1. If clickbait works, why should media companies resist the temptation? Why shouldn’t they be able to take advantage of all the tools in their toolbox?
  2. Some accounts manage to entice and entertain without falling into clickbait; how do they walk that line, and what can be learned from their examples?
  3. With the media consistently being forced to find new revenue streams and innovate to survive, what if anything can, should or will replace clickbait?



Alex Mizrahi, Copywriter, Razorfish

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