The Reason We Fall
Admit it, you’ve clicked on one of those slideshow links from Twitter, stumbled on one from a news site, followed one that was shared on Facebook by your best friend – not random friend number 436 – your honest to goodness best friend who was the reason you signed up for Facebook, to begin with, friend.
Each link started with: “The most surprising ways to (blank),” or “21 most shocking answers to (blank),” or “The twelve most amazing ways to (blank).”
You’re Not Alone
We’ve all been sucked in. We’ve all clicked the links. Heck, we’ve all found one or two ideas that we’ve never heard of and would like to try. However, those ideas are not really amazing or surprising or shocking. They’re just “Oh that seems like a good idea.” Never has one rocked my world to the point I was happy to have invested thirty minutes of my life reading it.
These slides are obnoxious. It’s gotten to the point where I’m losing respect for people. And I’m not sure whom I respect less, the authors who create these wretched things, the editors for publishing them on their sites, the readers for getting sucked in, or myself for being one of those readers who gets sucked in.
When Nifty Idea Goes Wrong
These slideshows start simple enough, a picture with a caption. If there were seven items, you clicked through seven slides. It seemed neat… at first. Then it became more common. Now it is an endless nightmare.
You follow a link to the “25 Most Amazing Cooking Hacks” shared on Facebook by that best friend (see paragraph one), who insists #23 is the “Best ever.” You open the link. Picture number one pops up. You click the arrow to get the caption to appear. The caption mentions how you may currently do x,y,z. You click again, you get more text that tells you how the tip is going to change your life. You click, yet again, to get the actual tip. And that was all for tip number one.
Productivity Goes out the Window
By now your antivirus has begun its daily scan and it’s Wi-Fi rush hour in your neighborhood. You endure the longer-than-normal load time for each slide and the extra three clicks of information because your friend insists #23 is the best.
By the time you reach slide #23 you’re sure your friend hates you and has no respect for your time. You bounce between hatred for your friend and concern that she’s losing it mentally. You don’t learn one darn new surprising, shocking or amazing thing. But you read the final two slides because you made it this far and you still hold out hope something will have been worth the time suck. And, when those last two tips turn out to be fruitless, you’re mad the rest of the day because it really wasn’t worth it!
You de-friend your friend. You don’t answer her calls or her texts. And you swear you will never ever open another one of those wretched slide shows from time-sucking Hell again.
The next day, best friend number two, who moved into best friend number one position, sends you a link on Twitter for the 33 Most Shocking Ways to Brush Your Teeth. She insists #29 is unbelievable.
Do you click?