The world is full of interesting things. Wonderful creations that change your lives, make it easier to reach for the stars or talk to your loved ones. There are countless people toiling away in garages, labs, offices, and corners of public spaces, working on their masterpiece. They will soon release their creation into the world and you will wonder, “how was that even made? What was the process of the creation of this marvelous thing?”
In comes a journalist. She’s got a wonderful tool called ‘access’. She brings knowledge and seeks enlightenment. She interviews the maker about their invention. She then goes on to write a glowing article about the wonderful and surprising process that needed to take place in order for this amazing thing to exist. Then, she goes on to hit publish. But there’s one step left – the title. She carefully chooses an interesting title and sends it off to the editor. The editor publishes. The reader reads. But in between, a magical, almost mystical process happens –
The title of the article changes from meaningful to crappy. The description changes from something interesting to “You’ll never believe…”. Oh, silly goose. But I will believe.
One such linkbait is the “Secret History” title. I hate those. They’re so ugly and uninformative. It’s really not proper for journalists and editors to use it. Yet, they do.
The secret history of women‘s football
The Secret History Of Seal Team 6
The secret history of 19th century cyclists
The Secret History of Ultimate Marvel, the Experiment That Changed Superheroes Forever
The Secret History of Wonderland
Heirloom tomatoes’ bizarre evolution: The secret history of the tastiest summer treat
Seriously, what’s wrong with these people?
There’s even books out now –
Someone needs to tell them to quit while they’re ahead. I wonder who that someone will be? Hmmmm. Maybe it has to be me. OK, let’s take care of this once and for all.
Say hello to the @SecretHistoryOf twitter account. Every once in a while, when an article that misuses this stupid linkbait-y title will come out, we will shame them. Go then, follow the account, join in the fun.
Let us begin.