If you have eyeballs and use the internet, you’ve seen them. There are hundreds, if not thousands of articles and posts with “ you didn’t know” as the hookline.
“11 things you didn’t know were true about werewolves” (Picture of Vladmir Putin picking his nose in public attached.)
Me: Holy crap, Putin is a werewolf? CLICK
“7 things you didn’t know about Brad Pitt’s bathroom habits” (Grainy screen shot of video containing a person in a rabbit costume with a blindfold on, holding a basket of golden eggs)
Me: Omg, what the heck is that weirdo doing in his bathroom? CLICK
“Eleventy-twelve things you didn’t know about made-up numbers” (Close up shot of Miley Cyrus’s left toenail, twerking)
Me: I’m sick of Miley Cyrus, and I pass it by.
Here are five things to know about the “Things you didn’t know” articles that your life will not be complete without:
1. You probably already know most of the “facts” presented, but have never seen them coupled with a picture of Whoopi Goldberg‘s intricately tattooed armpits, so your interest will be piqued, and you will likely click on the link.
2. Telling the reader they don’t know something contained in the article is issuing a challenge from the get-go. It’s like the author is saying, “I know something you don’t know, nyah nyah nyah!” And human instinct forces you to respond with a resounding, “I’ll bet I do, I’ll show you! CLICK!”
3. Much like the ever-popular and thankfully waning “Life Hacks” articles, most of the information is regurgitated, rewritten and redundant. Every great once in a while, something new and improved pops up, but mostly these articles are a rehash of something original, and a great many of them contain misinformation and downright filthy lies.
4. All of these observations are based on my personal inability to pass up a picture of Millard Fillmore in a spaceship, and I should probably work on my own impulse control before preaching about clickbait.
5. I did the “Things you didn’t know” articles before they were cool, and my pictures actually matched the stories. I feel slightly redeemed about the impulse control.
Remember, the more you know….