Clickbait does Sustainability no good…
Please, save us from Clickbait.
As a blogger, I know the value of a compelling headline. I also try to challenge standard practice wherever possible, both to add value to our readers and to make my writing interesting. But I would never write a piece entitled ‘The efficiency hack energy companies don’t want you to know about!’ or ‘This man tried to pollute a stream – what happened next will astound you!’
Yet here are some genuine headlines I have read recently:
- ‘Save us the smugness over 2018’s heatwaves, environmentalists’ – as called out by James Murray of BusinessGreen, environmentalists haven’t been ‘smug’ about the heatwaves – and the alternative solutions proposed by the authors are hilarious gobbledygook.
- ‘Everything you’ve been told about plastic is wrong – recycling isn’t the answer’ – there’s a whole shedload of wrong in this article, and recycling is a big part of the answer.
- ‘Forget carbon, it’s all about plastic now’ – the last thing we can afford to do right now is forget carbon. It’s not carbon OR plastic, but carbon AND plastic.
I know we live in a world where web traffic is king, but one of the big problems in implementing Sustainability is confusion amongst the general public and decision makers as to what they should do – and when people are unsure, they revert to business as usual. Writing misleading headlines might get you a few more clicks, but at the expense of amplifying that confusion and setting Sustainability back.
Everything we do in the Sustainability world should be aimed at making the world a better place. Nobody will lie on their deathbed wailing ‘If only I’d got a couple more hits on that blogpost in October 2018.’
We’re better than this.