Friday, January 17, 2014

Titles Titles Titles....

I have the hardest time with titles.  As in I myself have a hard time putting titles on things; be it paintings, drawings, blog posts, poems, short stories... well you get the gist.  This has always been the case for me.  I was always able to write great papers for all of my English classes and get high marks on them- but titles were the hardest thing for me.  There were several times when I wanted to just put the title as 'Paper #3 of Term 2' or something equally lame. I'd often just find a phrase that I liked in the paper and throw that up as the title.  I really don't know how people come up with clever titles.  It is simply something I have not yet mastered.

Along these lines I've found a recent trend in Blogs that I really really do not like.  It is the 'gotcha' titling mechanism.  I think whomever started it must have read a lot of those cheap gossip rags you can get in line in the grocery store.  The anatomy of one of these titles is as such: "I'm doing <something incredibly shocking and not very moral> because of <something that sound moral and reasonable>".  The two extreme statements often send a person's mind into a fit of worry... the sad thing is this: the title works- it catches your eye and you do click on it- why? Because you cannot believe that "I'm getting a divorce in 2014 because I love my wife".  The title sounds insane, stupid and builds curiosity.  It also plays on the trend of consuming depressing and terrifying media that we've let into our culture.  (this is in no ways commenting on movies and books- it is a comment on our 'news' and the fact that we dwell on the worst things- and make things worse through gossip- I diverge)

SO you click on the title- you end up with a 'viral' article- that within the first paragraph completely dispels your worries that the title created.  From there I've noticed that one of two things happen to me- I read through their thesis and end up reading what is intended to be a heartfelt story of whatever revelation they have had- or I get bored because they simply wanted viewers and used a very silly mechanic to get them.

In either case I find the tactic more than a little offensive... the first with the heartfelt story/trauma or whatever I get annoyed that they would belittle their own story by using a 'gotcha' title in the first place.  People go through some really very big things in their lives- and they end up coming away from it changed.  I love talking to friends and finding out what they have overcome- or even reading it on their blogs.  The thing is though- they are telling their story- something near to their heart.  They aren't blasting the world with a desperate plea of 'look at me!'.  Maybe people who use the titles are sincere- and like me, have a hard time coming up with a proper title.  It doesn't feel like that to many readers... Admittedly I myself am guilty of sharing one or two of these trick titles- because I did end up liking what the person had to say.  HOWEVER I've shared many blog posts that had great stories or messages who did not use a gimmick- they were just honest.

I'm afraid that this makes me sound a bit bitter.  I'm not- my blog is for me- if people read it; awesome- if no one reads it; well that is ok as well.  I love getting comments and seeing my little counter go up- but ultimately I'm not writing this for fame.  So I'm not bitter- I'm just frustrated and frankly a little confused by this trend. Lying or shocking people shouldn't be the way we share are heartfelt struggles.  If you want to share your struggles and subsequent triumphs with the world- do it! But please; be honest about it- ask people to share your story, promote it.  Don't just shock people into visiting your page.  It's not really fair to anyone.  Especially you.

Honestly though- what do I know?  I'm just some random chick who writes a silly blog.


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