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I Am Looking for Reasons Not to Click On Your Title

A title from my favorite writer caught my eye, and I had a surge of relief: It wasn’t interesting at all! It was a generic life lesson I could do without.


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Nihan Kucukural

4 months ago | 4 min read
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Here are a few factors that help me pass your story

I had a realization this morning. I was looking at my home page created by the algorithm that aims to crush me under a waterfall of content.

A title from my favorite writer caught my eye, and I had a surge of relief: It wasn’t interesting at all! It was a generic life lesson I could do without.

I realized that I didn’t feel the urge to click on the title — it was such a happy moment. I was free! My eight sparkling golden minutes were still mine to spend on something else.

But the moment didn’t last long: Just before I could scroll down, the subtitle jumped at me, causing me to hesitate for half a second.

I don’t even remember what it was, but it said something like, “You think this article is a generic life lesson you could do without? Think again! This one really will change your life if you just click on it. You’ll see! Come on!”

I tried to avoid the cheeky subtitle: “Yeah, naah… I know what’s in there, you can’t fool me!” and it was like, “Well, how do you know?

Maybe it will shift your mindset. You can afford to spend eight minutes on this! Imagine how productive you can be for the rest of your life!” Once I start an inner dialog with a nasty subtitle, I know I have already lost the battle.

Eight minutes later, I closed the tab with a sense of guilt, the same way I close the fridge door. Let’s not talk about it.

I don’t want to spend my whole day scrolling!

I have a million other things to do; writing is one of them. That was the whole reason I came here today. But I accidentally opened the main page, and boom! Ten times eight minutes has gone by already.

Who am I kidding? I love spending my whole day scrolling down the stories. I love your titles. The vanilla, the strawberry, the garlic, dirt, and mud, I love them all. The days I open my home page and see that most titles resonate with me, I am in trouble.

When I am on my binge mode, I press the control button and open all the recommended stories in an infinite barrage of browser tabs. I know it’s impossible to read them all. I know it’s a waste of time, like placing buckets under a waterfall. I can’t go on like this! I need a solution to my addiction.

Help me not click on your title

I wish everyone wrote titles I could easily pass without question or regret. That would save other addicts and me so much time from getting their shit together.

It would be much easier for me to leave titles behind if they had one of these qualities:

Uninteresting

I don’t know what to say about uninteresting titles. I just don’t notice them.

When I scroll down the whole page, if I put mental marks on just one or two titles and don’t remember any others, congratulations! You must have written some bland titles. Or the algorithm must have mistaken me for someone else, which is also great. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen often.

Bragging about the writer’s great life

When I discover a writer with a perfect life, I often feel motivated and inspired. I binge-read their articles for a couple of weeks, hoping that their success and calm attitude will spread to me.

But after the third week, if everything is still perfect in the writer’s life, I find myself yawning. Don’t these writers have any real moments in their lives?

There was a young writer I found inspiring at first. But after a while, I began ignoring their stories. One day I saw a title confessing that they had tears. What? I immediately clicked on it, curious about what happened.

I hoped to read an emotional piece about loss or growing pain or something like that and shred some tears myself.

Did I find what I was looking for? No, the tears mentioned in the title were happy tears because of how successful their life was. I happily put them back on their neat shelf, and I no longer have trouble passing their stories.

Full of pain and no hope

On the other hand, I also love pain porn because I can skip that happily, too. They are generally easy to tell from the title.

In Turkish culture, we love tear-jerkers. I know because I have written plenty of TV dramas and watched how the ratings went through the roof. But I am over it now.

Now I value narratives of painful experiences only when they offer a solution. Stories of transformation are great. Tragedies are also okay because people consciously make stupid decisions, refuse to grow, and fail as a result. But the potential solution is in sight.

Narratives of suffering and victimhood of characters with no agency? It just means more time for the fun stuff.

Too confusing

I am not a native English speaker. I can’t understand everything I read. You can’t believe how much time this saves me.

If there are more than three words in the title that would require me to look up the dictionary, I will pass even though I have the dictionary open at all times.

Conclusion

I appreciate when people write dull, uninteresting, and incomprehensible titles that brag about how everything is terrible. This helps me keep my addiction in check.

Tell me in the comments if you think I am good at this myself.

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Created by

Nihan Kucukural

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Turkish copywriter and screenwriter, lover of stories, living in New Zealand


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