Click-bait and Culture

Reclaiming Creative Integrity

Fishing for attention using the lure of sensationalism.

The Internet is a land of many facets, and differing levels of quality and integrity can be found amidst the sordid strands of the Web. Much like mass producing cheap products, many content creators find themselves funneled into the click-bait mentality.

Quantity over quality is a short-term economic strategy that seems very tempting in the modern era. If I can write a swathe of sensationalized articles in a short period of time, perhaps my views and my bottom line will increase accordingly.

This plays into the fake news epidemic that we face today as a culture. Out of desperation for online attention and online dollars people can be tempted to create hit pieces, slanderous articles, and drama-heavy content. These headlines seem to just beg to be clicked on in spite of potential inaccuracies, misleading ideas, and outright lies within the body of such writings or videos.

Creative integrity is a rare commodity in today's marketplace. If I look into the undulating abyss of online activity it can be quite tempting to imitate "successful" content creators rather than follow my own inner guidance.

The higher road is to truly tap into and cultivate my own innate creativity and resist the temptation to create articles titled: "You won't believe what this person just did..."

Ironically, the titles to pieces such as these hint at the integrity of their content; we won't believe what this celebrity did, because it is likely exaggerated, taken out of context, or outright fabricated.

If we take a moment to reflect on the most powerful and meaningful interactions we have online, what type of material has had the most beneficial impact on us?

I've read articles where I vehemently disagree with the author's points and yet find myself resonating with the integrity and passion with which they present their case. I have watched videos where people pour out their heart and soul and refuse to bow to the consensus of public opinion.

We crave authentic, human expression- in whatever form it may be. The world seems to be telling us how we are not good enough and how we should change. Perhaps we need more voices affirming that we are already worthy of contributing and that we are valuable assets to the world.

The click-bait formula basically asks, "How can I get people to pay attention to me?"

Contrarily, a creator of high integrity may ask, "How can I best be of service with my creative gifts?" A key aspect of this is learning to create primarily for the joy of doing so rather than the expected result.

An artist that is hit with inspiration cannot help but paint from their heart and soul and create a masterpiece. The only danger is when we ourselves interrupt the creative flow with limiting judgments and beliefs while trying to cater to public opinion rather than being true to who we are.

The online marketplace will continue expanding, and we all have the ability to shape what it becomes. In the same way that we seek quality products and services in the real world and vote with our dollar we need to be conscious of how we spend our precious time and click-power.

A good rule of thumb while online is to endeavor to find a balance between being a producer and a consumer. If we are always at the receiving end of information it is easy to lose ourselves in the constant stimulation. If we meditate on what we are called to offer, then we can bring forth ideas and content that will truly enrich the lives of others that come across our work.

We don't need a culture of click-bait and shallow, repetitive ideas.  We are all worthy of bringing our true creativity to the table and letting the world respond as it will.

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Michael Thielmann
Michael Thielmann

I am a counselor, spiritual mentor, and writer living on Vancouver Island. My passion is to help people get in touch with their own love, creativity, and empower them to live in alignment with their highest wisdom.

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