A few days ago I was scrolling, scrolling, scrolling when I spied the title to an article that grabbed my attention. “Ah-ha,” I thought, “Finally, something that sounds interesting.” I tapped the link and watched the little blue circle do its thing for a bit and then slowly, line by line, the title appeared on my screen. Within a millisecond an ad jumped onto my screen and covered the title. I tried to scroll around it and I tried to “X” out of it. I must have hit something wrong because suddenly a voice started over the speakers telling me about some kind of face-lift like cream that would scare all the Dr.’s in Hollywood.
I was startled a bit and so I shook my phone a little as if I could make the voice go away. Thankfully I knew where the mute button was. I could still see the ad but I didn’t have to listen to it. I continued to tap in several places and quite often a new screen would pop up. I tapped several places on the ad and scrolled around a bit trying to find the “no thanks” button or the X. I very gently placed the edge of my finger on the edge of the screen and tried to push it off the screen. Did not happen. I was afraid that if I did not get the ad off my screen then they would be charging me $39.95 for not just one, or two, but three bottles of this amazing stuff!
Well, hallelujah, I finally found it at the bottom corner in the lightest of light blues. An X so small I needed a microscope to see it or at least my other glasses. I had to press it several times, but I finally removed the ad and was back to my interesting sounding title. I saw a video screen right below the title and so naturally I thought that the video would go along with the article. NOT SO! I saw a large woman with overzealous stage makeup and other large assets walking up a driveway. She was squeezed into a tiny outfit and prancing around as if she owned the place. She did and is selling it for a mere eighteen million dollars! Whew! Got rid of her and finally got back to my title.
I decided that my preferred Title went with an article rather than a video. As I scrolled to find written words, I passed six video news stories each with increasing drama and alarming titles. I was careful NOT to press the little triangle in the middle of the screen. Hmmm… scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. No article. All I could see was ads for weight loss, ads for the 20 most hated men in Hollywood, ads for shoes, more videos, clothes, new cars, used cars, more videos, jewelry, Blue Cross Blue Shield and many more. Still no article so I scrolled back to the top. Maybe I missed the link. Maybe there wasn’t really a story.
Sad to say that I did not find the article, or any article for that matter. I clicked off my phone in frustration. For some reason, many writers today seem to think that if they create a catchy title then they are finished. 50 reasons for…30 ways to…19 things you absolutely do NOT want to miss… and so on. I would say that they are all just young, but I don’t think this is about being old or young. Actually I find it disappointing because we are teaching our young that substance (content) is not important. As long as the writer gets a “like” or “share” then the more ad companies will pay. And now it seems we are at the point that a complete story is no longer necessary. A title will get readers to the page and the ads will take over from there.
I guess I am old-fashioned because I like the words to tell a story not make empty promises. I want the words to make me smile or think. I want the words to fill in the blanks and give me something to chew on and perhaps to create changes in my own behavior. Words can persuade and words can inform.
Words can be powerful. Scrolling is merely a study in frustration.