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July 20, 2022

The Positivity Clickbait

The Positivity Clickbait

Have you ever clicked on a “Secrets revealed” video? 

These stories make us think that no kindness is left in the world anymore. Stories that are branded shocking and jaw-dropping. These are the tales that hold us back from the truth. From the good and the kind.

In today’s video, I share the story of how I've tried to point out the good in the world... all around us.



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Transcript

Hey everyone! And welcome back to the latest episode of the podcast and which I'm going to discuss a lot more of the context and thought behind the essay: There are Good People all Around us in Spite of what the Headlines Want us to Believe. That is the title of the essay. And in this podcast and this video, I'm going to talk about. What was left out, what was my thinking behind it and what inspired it, really. So let's begin. A couple of days ago, my daughter's car got stuck. It's been stalling. It's been messing up. It's been turning off on the road. And that's what happened this day. She called me freaking out. She was supposed to be on her way. To do some things. She called me saying she can't make it. And in that moment, I can also hear her boyfriend grunting, trying to push the car because it had stalled. He was trying to push it off of the road. It freaked me out. I can hear my daughter's sadness and fear because they're in the middle of the road. I told her where I was on the way in. I hung up with her and I sprinted it over there. By the time I got there, the car had already been parked in a parking lot nearby. And apparently a couple of people had jumped out and helped get the car moved over and they both were pleasantly surprised. They were really surprised. We just jumped out. People just helped. I wasn't surprised because in moments like these people always show up. People always show up. So then we decided to get the car towed by her boyfriend's dad. He has a big truck, so he started hauling it. Put some straps on it and we start taking it down. But there's a hill on the way there as he turns, right. And the straps came off, the car is now just kind of parked on this little hill, parched stalled on this little hill, they had to hit the brakes. Her boyfriend, and I jumped out. We couldn't get it up the hill. It literally felt like we were trying to push it up a mountain, but we weren't, we just couldn't get it. It's a big, it was a big enough car. But, at that moment, a truck pulled up three guys jumped out and helped. So now there's five of us and there's actually too many people to push the car to get behind there and push. But it's a good problem. We push it up past the little hill, reattaches the straps. And off we go. Get apart, we start planning everything. And then, we're leaving, I'm leaving with my daughter, and she says out loud that there is a lot of really nice people. There's a really, a lot of kind of people. And I agreed. I said, absolutely there are. But the thing is, they're always here and they're everywhere. There are a lot of nice people in the world. I wanted to just kind of highlight that for her because I want her to start believing that. She's 19 years old. She's raised in the internet age. Raised in the social media age. And it can be a little hostile out there. Right? And if we believe all the negativity we see. If we believe all the media we consume, then the world is falling apart. Now granted, there are things that I don't want to dismiss and don't want to diminish it impact. There's obviously a war going on the other side of the world. But all in all, especially for us here, we have it well, and there are a lot of good things happening. There are a lot of good people that will show up and help you out, in your own family, if you just tell them that you need help. But I'm reminded of something that as a marketer and a person that has studied communication, media, publications, news, everything. I've studied all that extensively because it's partly as my career and I'm just fascinated by it. But there's an old adage in the journalists community that I'm always reminded of. That's been around for a while, so it's not new. So as much as we want to pretend that social media is all at fault, but the truth is it's not social media. It's us. It's us as consumers, as readers as human beings. But the phrase that is said in the journalist community is: " If it bleeds, it leads." So to me that says a lot. And the fact that it's been around for who knows how long at this point says even more. It says that somebody figured out years ago, probably 80 to a hundred years ago when newspaper was in massive circulation. People buy more newspapers. If you have more stories about murders and crime and stuff like that. That has always been the case. It's no different today and it's not necessarily that media is terrible, although we can agree that in many cases it is because they're feeding it to us, but they're feeding us what we want to eat. And that's on us. We love conflict. We love hysteria. We prefer that over good news or happy news. Somebody on Twitter actually mentioned to me that she prefers positive news and not negative news. And I agree. I mean, I'm the same way. And I think most people will tell you the same thing, but the problem is that we won't, we don't click with the same level of engagement. A positive headline written well and a positive story put together well will get attention. We all love that feel good story, but the truth is isn't it doesn't not get as much attention as headlines that are negative, that are telling us the world is going to end, telling us that our neighbors trying to kill us. Those are the headlines that will actually get more clicks, more attention. And then which further gets us to believe that everyone actually hates us, that everyone is out to get us, that the world is imploding. There's a popular. Meme and a popular quote that's thrown around from time to time whenever something positive happens and we appreciate it, we share it.

And we say:

this thing, this story, this graphic, this whatever, restored my faith in humanity. And as much as I can appreciate it. I'm saddened by the fact that their faith in humanity has been diminished that much. Moments like these with my daughter, remind me that people will always show up. And actually most people are really kind and really willing to lend a helping hand. But we, if we continue to consume the content that is being fed to us, then we're going to see more of it. The algorithms are going to give us more of that crap. I did read an article today that said Facebook is actually going to punish any articles or videos that create that kind of empty promise or hysteria. They call it Video Bait based on the same ideas of clickbait. Cause that's essentially what all this stuff is. They create this massively over a hyped headline or title to a video that gets us so curious because they leave out certain details that create a curiosity gap that we then click on it. And most of the time it's not even related or as bad as they make it seem, most of the time. Other times it's just hysterical over the top crap. That is not based in any truth. And even if it is, it's just a story in a very large world. So to lose faith in humanity, to me is sad. We can walk outside today and I guarantee you, if you trip and you need help, or if you, I guarantee you, if you get stuck on the side of the road today, someone will show up. When I was younger and I was about to get divorced, my car broke down on the way to work on the freeway. I was able to pull off to the side of the road in the center lane. And I remember the story vividly because I was in a lot of pain. I was in a lot of hurt at the time, and I was furious at myself, because the car broke down and I told myself: "I'm just gonna walk." It was easily another five or six miles with screw it. I was going to walk. So I'm walking, minding my business and someone pulls over and I waved them off. I say, thank you. But I got this. I'm mad. I don't need any help. And they drove off. It happened again, waved them off. A third person pulled up and refuse to drive off. He said, let me give you a hand. I know what this feels like. It's okay. We'll get you a help. Let me get you to your job. I mean, I even told him my story because he was, he kept on asking questions. So I jumped in the car and he took me to work. It's actually a smart idea. It was way too far to walk. I was going to be really late and it was stupid. It was just, I was in my head. But the point is I had three different people pull over and asked to help, this is not something that happens every once in a while. I shared this essay on social media. And I got other people that also chimed in and said the same thing. It happens all the time.

What I begged you to do:

One is to maybe reconsider how bad the world is. It is bad that there is a lot of bad but. We're in a good place, especially if you live here, come on. Let's, let's re recognize and realize that we are privileged in that we have lights and electricity and running water, plumbing. These are good things and we have a lot of privilege. But the other thing I would invite you to do, this is my big tip for you, is if you see an overly sensational headline coming across your feed, don't click on it. It's up to us as citizens of the world and the internet to stop clicking on that crap. This is a very ambitious idea and it probably is not gonna work, but that has been my mission. If I see something overly sensational, I just keep on scrolling. If I need to know the news, I'll go look for the news. I don't need to be digesting it all day long in any of the feeds anymore. I don't go online to get news. I'm going to find out the news. But don't click on the crap and especially, crap that is just over sensationalized. Man is exposed. Truth is... I actually have kept a list. Because I am a marketer. I started to create a list a while back of words that are commonly used in overly sensationalized articles, essays, videos, content. Right? So here are the words. Scary truth about X... The truth about... The secret no one is sharing... X reacts about Y... So this person reacts about, about that person or about this situation. The real reason... Don't X until you Y... The truth about X... Exposed! Or any conjugation their in. The secret. Okay. I'm guilty of that one. Reaction! With the will Smith thing that happened recently, slapping Chris rock, the reaction videos, and like anybody that's a celebrity that has any clout is getting to my shoved in their face. And they're being asked to give a reaction. Because that reaction will create more content to propagate the entire damn internet with more crap. The situation in itself is enough but now we have to get everybody's reaction. Come on. After a few it's all the same. The truth! Revealed! Gets chills! Goes crazy! Disgusted! ...lied! Hidden X. Hidden truth. Warning! Now some of these are meant but if they're using, these are really trying to pull on those emotions that get you to click. And to me, it's not worth it . My attention is worth a lot And much more important than that is realizing that I don't want to lose my faith in humanity This is a world filled with a lot of greatness and a lot of great people. And I don't want to click on everything that I come across, ruined my mental health, because if I keep seeing that crap, I'm going to believe everything I see. And it's not true. Find the good stuff. Look for good news. If not create it for yourself. Find the good people. And if you're ever in a jam, someone's going to show up. One, if you ask, and if you're stuck on the side of the road, they're just going to show up and insist to help. That's it for today. Thank you for listening to today's podcast. Our appreciate your attention. I hope I'm delivering something positive and uplifting and not any negative stuff. Until next time, have a great day. Buh-bye!