This Guy Hates Clickbaity Headlines. Here’s Why
Anyone who has ever scrolled through a Facebook newsfeed knows what “clickbait” is—the internet is awash in headlines promising a photo cuter than all other cute photos, an outrage-inducing news item more outrageous than all other news items, a piece of celebrity gossip juicier than all the previous undeniably juicy gossip bits. The key is that these headlines always withhold that critical piece of information: who the best guitarist in the world is, what the bad Republican man actually said, which nutritional supplement will cause spiders to grow in your stomach and eat you from the inside out.
Jake Beckman has achieved a modest amount of internet fame by ruining these headlines and saving people clicks in the process with his aptly named Twitter account @SavedYouAClick. Inoften hilarious fashion Beckman retweets links to stories from websites and publications like theNew York Times, Salon, the Atlantic, Slate, the Huffington Post, Forbes, Upworthy, and Buzzfeed, among others, with a pithy summary of the article’s interesting bits. His tweets save everyone time by boiling down stories into single words (“The World Cup is days away but is Brazil Ready?”“Nope”), but they also should shame people who write misleading or insulting headlines and tweets in the service of drawing traffic to uninteresting stories. @SavedYouAClick has apparently struck a chord, amassing 90,000 followers in just over 400 tweets, and last week, Beckman even got the opportunity to save his followers a click to a story about himself. How charitable of him:
VICE: You told Jack Shafer of Reuters that you don’t have a problem with headlines that ask questions, which leaves only teasing, “curiousity gap”–exploiting tweets in your crosshairs. But you don’t appear to be going after some of the worst clickbait offenders—sites like Upworthy and the God-awful Facebook mom feed, Elite Daily. Are those sites just too easy to target?
Jake Beckman: It’s not that headlines with questions are always OK—sometimes they’re legitimate, and sometimes they’re not. What I’m targeting, though, are the tweets: how these articles are positioned on social media in an attempt to score easy traffic. I definitely include Upworthy, and just recently followed Elite Daily—I’m always looking for more publishers to follow. Usually it’s just a matter of timing—when I’m looking for tweets and how recently the offending tweets were published.
Running a Twitter feed doesn’t pay, as much as we all wish that was the case. What do you do for a living?
I run @SavedYouAClick as a personal side project. I work for RebelMouse, a publishing platform with a focus on social content. I used to work in breaking news and editorial at ABC News and Bloomberg TV, so I’m very familiar with how newsrooms work.
Which Pop Star Should Be Your Best Friend? – Taken by Westboro Baptist Church member Rebekah Phelps-Roper.
Q. What would you like to do for a night out?
A. Go see some live music. (“We sing a lot of parodies of popular music. I sing the Lorde one, you can hear it on our Soundcloud.”)
Q. What do you usually talk about?
A. How to make the world a better place. (“By preaching, because that is the only way anything can get better.”)
Q. What should your best friend do if you get dumped?
A. Try to make you laugh. (“I don’t date, so I’m answering as though a man at a picket yelled at me.”)
Q. How do you feel about gossip?
A. Haters gonna hate. (“That pretty much describes everyone who talks about us, including the media.”)
Q. Which show would you binge watch?
A. Adventure Time. (“I haven’t binge watched a show since Grey’s Anatomy.”)
Q. And what would you like to eat while you’re watching it?
A. Popcorn and Diet Coke. (“Whatever you’re going to eat, make sure it’s in moderation, because that’s how you’re meant to live your life.”)
Q. How would your best friend celebrate your birthday?
A. Bake you a cake. (“I love celebrating things with cakes, including birthdays.”)
Q. What should be the tone of their toast at your wedding?
A. Earnest. (“Because weddings are, of course, solemn things.”)
"We picketed Taylor Swift! She would not be my best friend, because I would tell her very kindly and gently, ‘you have to stop sleeping around with men, girl.’ The Lord hates that."
See more Buzzfeed quizzes taken by Westboro Baptist Church members
We Got Members of the Westboro Baptist Church to Take Buzzfeed Quizzes
As I’m sure you’ve heard, Fred Phelps, founder and head-dickhead of the Westboro Baptist Church, has died.
Presumably this has been a game changer in the Westboro world, and I wanted to get to know the new them. And what better way to get to know someone than making them do a bunch of Buzzfeed quizzes? They have told me many, many things about myself and others that I never knew (and also probably didn’t want to know, TBH.)
Below is how the members of the church answered the quizzes I sent to them. The answer they selected is presented with a short quote from them explaining their choice. Enjoy!
Which Sex and the City Guy Is Your Soulmate? – Taken by Westboro member Mara Phelps
Q. Pick a dress color for your first date
A. Black ("Black is the color of the human soul. We have no good in us.")
Q. Pick the activity for your first date
A. Dancing (“King David danced in the street after seeing the Lord’s divine rule acted out.”)
Q. Where do you want to sleep right now?
A. A four poster bed. (“It reminds me of Roman times, when people had the word of God with them.”)
Q. What would you want for your anniversary?
A. A dog. (“Because dogs are loyal.”)
Q. Pick a dog
A. A terrier. (“It reminds me of a dog called April that we used to have. And someone, in the middle of the night, broke in and slit her throat.”)
Q. Pick a flower
A. An iris (“When we first moved to this house, we could see these flowers outside.”)
Q. Which New York City tourist attraction would you actually like to visit?
A. The Empire State Building. (“It couldn’t have been made unless God had given the engineers and the people who built it the ability to do so.”)
Q. Pick a romantic comedy
A. Pretty Woman (“She was supposedly a prostitute with a heart of gold. This generation has been raised to think being promiscuous is something to be proud of. And it is not.”)
Q. Which word makes you squirm?
A. Ooze (“There’s a sickness to it. The Lord has cursed fags with AIDS which causes them to have sores that ooze.”)
Q. When looking for a boyfriend, which of the following is most important?
A. Loyalty. (“It’s important for people to have loyalty to one’s brothers.”)
Q. Pick a brunch dish
A. Grapefruit. (“It looks really healthy.”)
"I’m not familiar with this character or the show at all. It says he expects the perfect wife. A lot of people expect things to be perfect for them even though they don’t deserve it."
That DUI Coma Prank Is Probably Fake
By now you’ve seen what Buzzfeed is calling “the most elaborate prank-with-a-message of the year”: Tom Mabe’s “Epic Don’t Drink and Drive Prank.” It was blowing past 1 million views when I started writing this, and by dinner time your grandma will have seen it.
In the video, a gruff-looking guy wakes up, ostensibly after passing out drunk, and finds himself in an elaborate hospital set, where he’s told that he’s been in a coma for ten years because of his bad decisions. We all learn a valuable lesson. Share if you hate drunk driving. Like our page for more inspiring vids.
Hi, I’m Lasagna Del Ray and I’m the worst thing you’ve ever seen.