This post was first published by Melissa Drozdowski on Interprose’s blog, Interprose Voice.

You’ve seen a million clickbait headlines, just like the one at the top of this post. They’re catchy. They’re clever. They’re abrasive and punchy. They pique your interest enough that you go ahead and click through to that article you had no intention of reading. And when you do click through, that cheesy, clickbait-y headline has done its job.

Humor. Emotion. Sensationalism. Call it the Buzzfeed school of headline writing. Media sites like Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and ViralNova have all mastered the art of crafting seductive, provocative headlines that bring readers in, sometimes against their better judgment. Here’s just a small sampling of their recent headlines for your consideration:

  • “We Ate Every Cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory and OH DEAR GOD” – Buzzfeed
  • “A Cop Picked Up A Donated Helmet On 9/11. Months Later, He Found A Note Inside.” – Upworthy
  • “Here’s How A Parenting Dispute Ended With A Mace-Filled Fight In Walmart” – ViralNova

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