It’s been a year since The Onion launched its new Buzzfeed parody website ClickHole, and to mark its one-year anniversary, Slate visited the ClickHole offices in Chicago to learn more about how the site was conceived, how it’s evolved since last year, and what’s in store for its future. It’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what was initially pitched as a “a broader clickbait viral-media parody spinoff” and also has some scoops on what kinds of websites ClickHole plans to target next, including Humans of New York and an upcoming science explainer video series inspired by Smarter Every Day’s “Poop Splash Elimination.” Here’s an interesting bit where ClickHole’s Jermaine Affonso and Ben Berkley share their thoughts on the term “clickbait”:
I asked the site’s editors how they would define clickbait. “Awesome,” said Affonso. “Incredible,” added Berkley. “To me,” Affonso said, more seriously, “clickbait, in the pejorative sense, promises something awesome and exciting and great, but it’s ultimately vacuous and empty and doesn’t fulfill that promise. Clickbait tricks you.” “There’s not actually that much of it,” added Berkley. “A lot of sites are accused of it, but I think most sites really come close to delivering what they promise. But a few bad eggs are hurting everyone else.” I noted that by that definition, ClickHole—a site satirizing clickbait—doesn’t actually post that much clickbait. “Thank you,” Affonso replied with a grin. “We don’t want to trick someone into clicking on something that disappoints them. If you click because you’re excited about it, you get either what you expected, or something even funnier.”
Read the rest over at Slate.