Biz Tips: Another Clickbait Headline, Backed by Science

Biz Tips: Another Clickbait Headline, Backed by Science


Another Clickbait Headline, Backed by Science

P.S. — You Are Not a Scientist

Another photo that doesn’t correspond to your story by Rex Pickar on Unsplash

Please, from the bottom of heart, shut up. I am so tired of seeing everything that you have written that is backed by science. Are you serious? Wikipedia isn’t science. Neither is Google. And P.S. — you are not a scientist.

Side note: To any scientist who wrote an article and included in the headline, backed by science, come on. You don’t even need that. You are a f*cking scientist. Your username is Science Bob. We get it. It’s overkill. And clickbait.

Let’s just stop the madness. Nowhere in the history of literature did any writing professional ever say:

“One of the best titles you will ever write will include Backed by Science.”

That is called clickbait. And it’s really annoying.

But Why?

Why are you doing it? Are you insecure about your writing skills? So much so that you have to back what you write with science. Are there a lot of people out there who like their reading science-backed?

I’m not against science. I appreciate it. But I don’t want to throw on a lab coat, look through a microscope and examine mitochondria in a petri dish. That pretty much sums up what I learned in high school about science. Oh, and bunsen burners. And beakers. And NaCl. Maybe I am a scientist.

By putting “backed by science” in your headline you are just saying you couldn’t get the job done by yourself and you need Bill Nye’s help to get some eyes on your piece. Because they didn’t teach you that in English Lit.

It evolved in the blogosphere. As a creation of marketers, not writers. Writers don’t score their headlines for maximum clickability. And they don’t add:

  • Backed by Science
  • Here’s Why
  • Must-Read

Why This Headline is Less Important Than You Think

Because their writing, in and of itself, is a must-read. They don’t need to tell you that you must read what they just wrote. Because the truth is, they wrote it for themselves and the last thing they want to do is beg someone to read it.

Read it or don’t. But f*ck science. That’s why.

What Backed by Science Is (and What It Isn’t)

It’s corroboration for your story. Strength. Or is it? It’s just headline fodder. Built to generate a reaction in the reader that this particular article is more researched than the one next to it. More reliable.

But it rarely, if ever is, because if it was truly backed by science it would be in a scientific journal, not on Medium.

Science isn’t you read six books. Haha, who are you kidding? You didn’t even read those six books that you quoted from as your scientific research. You used Google. Google isn’t science. Your story about your bedtime routine is backed by Google. The science isn’t yours. You found it on the Internet.

You know what’s backed by science? Scientists. Who went to school and did experiments. Not your think piece on How I Got Ripped in 30 Days, Backed by Science. FML.

Unless you did the scientific research, is your article really backed by science? Or is it backed by some science related articles you found on the Internet in five minutes because Google is good. How does your headline look now?

How I Got Ripped in 30 Days, Backed by Shit I Looked Up on Google in 5 Minutes


It’s Like a Meme

You know that, right? Backed by science is a gimmick. It’s clickbait. Your headline is like a meme. Is that what you want? Maximum exposure at your expense. Maybe it is. What do I know? I certainly don’t know science. I am not backed by science. But Bill Nye is.

Why do you need a gimmick to support what you just wrote? Shouldn’t the writing speak for itself? And what do you get out of tricking people into looking at something backed by science when it was really backed by 13 minutes of Internet search.

Don’t be a meme.

I Fell Prey Too

You aren’t alone. And I am not all high and mighty. I succumbed to a cousin of this evil beast too. I never used “Backed by Science,” but I surely used a headline analyzer to judge what and what was not a good headline. I may have used bla, bla, bla, Here’s Why. Maybe.

But then I realized it was stupid. Because there was no point. Followers?

Why You Should Be a Curator, Not a Collector

It’s just part of the learning curve. And part of our own education into what we want to get out of writing on the Internet. Do we want to use catchy headlines to attract people? I mean, maybe you do. If that’s your thing, go for it. But I don’t see how it serves your writing.

If you are saying, “Well it gets eyes on my work,” then take more time and create a better headline, but not one that is clickbait. The headline needs to match the writing and when you advertise your story with a clickbait headline you are giving off what you want people to receive.

You are telling them, “Click here, click here.” Is that what you really want? Maybe it is. Like I said, I am not backed by science. I don’t know a lot. But apparently, neither do you. And that is definitely NOT backed by science.

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