In the Internet We Trust

Internet we Trust

I belong to the generation that grew up without the benefit of the internet and google searches. Nowadays,  I guess it’s pretty much all of us who simply grab whichever keyboard’s nearest to hand when we want to check the derivation or meaning of just about anything on the planet. I privately console myself with the thought that my university degree would have been a lot better if I hadn’t had to haul myself off to the college library every time I had to check some facts, dates or generally read up on a subject for some badly needed inspiration!

What got me thinking about all of this was when I recently learned of an internet-related term called “clickbait”. For me it’s one of those words that manage to subtly but quite unwittingly convey quite a deep insight into the dangers of the internet.

Clickbait is something I’ve been responding to, like millions of others, for a number of years. Tired at the end of a long day, it’s easy to be lured in to the kind of internet twaddle that promises everything and delivers nothing. You know the kind of thing – “two things only terrible bosses say” or “the one word that ruins 90% of all CV’s”.  Our curiosity draws us in and in some cases we may even click further as there is often a trail of “clickbait” for the unsuspecting victim.

For me there are three reasons why this practice sullies the internet for all of us, especially business people:

• The practice is often concealed within a respectable looking blog or tweet so is little more than deception
• Offering more than you deliver is entirely the wrong way to go about business
• The concept of clickbait is now so overdone that it is generally seen as imitative and to be avoided at all costs

I have another internet term I love to hate and that is “lead magnet” which, like clickbait, is exactly what it sounds like. All these terms are transparent and rely on not being spotted if they are to work.

Clearly, they are commonly spotted, do not work and represent abuse of the internet. They unfairly detract from genuine use of what is potentially a marvellous tool for us all if we exercise caution.
By the way, the title for this piece is a very poor pun on the words “In God we trust” which I’m sure you knew. I checked my sources first on the internet so I know I’m right. I can also tell you the phrase appears on US banknotes and replaces the earlier phrase “ e pluribus unum”. Much as I love my Latin, I have to say that was probably a good call.

And for those of you who are thinking that google wouldn’t have improved my degree performance by much you’re probably right – the college bar was not very far from the library so I would simply have spent more time in there too!

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