A few weeks ago I wrote a “story.” I put the word story in parenthesis because it was an April Fool’s prank. Well, that’s not entirely true. I also wrote it as a bit of a social experiment that ended up giving me the result I intended. You see, we read all of the comments on our site, and I was convinced of something, so I wrote the “story” to see if what I thought based on those comments was right. To my dismay it was. People don’t read!
We’ve absolutely, without question, turned in to the Twitter generation. We want our news in 140 characters or less, and that saddens me. People read a headline and made a judgment or an assumption based on just that, a headline. There are so many problems with that.
Headlines are a few words carefully chosen to make people read on, but the problem is, very few are reading on. In my Lamar Dixon gets bought out by Ikea piece, I clearly stated it was an April Fool’s prank, but many didn’t bother to read on and find that information out.
The comments were unbelievable.
“How dare Lamar Dixon do this. Where will we hold graduations?”
“You have angered us horse folk, Lamar Dixon. I’ll never use your facility again.”
Well, it seems to me you didn’t read it all in the first place if that’s your point of view.
Then I got the personal attacks.
“Charlotte Guedry is despicable. I almost had a heart attack until I realized she was lying.”
“Damn you to hell, Mrs. Guedry. Damn you to hell.”
Ummmm….okay. There’s not much I can say about that other than it’s not really a place I’d like to visit, but really? Damn me to hell for pulling the same kind of pranks that newspapers have been pulling on one day specifically set aside for pranks? Seems a bit harsh to damn me, but it’s your right, just as it was mine to write what was obviously a joke
We’re lazy when it comes to gathering information. Perhaps the internet is to blame. I remember having to go to the library and actually spend hours there gathering research from a number of different resources just to write term papers, but that’s no longer the case. Now, with sites like Wikipedia, the work is as easy as a few clicks of a button. Essentially, the work isn’t our own and we’re not retaining the information. Simply cutting and pasting doesn’t leave an imprint in our minds. So, my question is when did we stop thinking for ourselves and rely on tiny bits of full stories to base our opinions upon?
Let’s look at headlines as a few examples; headlines I’ve seen today.
CNN has a headline that says “Pistorius prosecutor’s unusual move.” Well, when I actually read the entire article, it isn’t an unusual move at all. The man is going for a psychological evaluation. That seems pretty usual to me in a murder trial.
Fox News states that “South Korea says North Korea must disappear soon.” Well, that’s not what I got from reading the entire story. Basically, there’s no reliable source quoted as that being said, and it goes on about worries between the two Koreas. No one seems to have said anything about anything or anyone disappearing.
We write headlines to grab your attention, because we want you to read. And trust me; read you did, when we told you Lamar Dixon had been sold. But most of you only read that far. You have to read further. You have to read everything to garner your own opinions and see if the story is something that will ignite a fire within you. You never know, you may read an entire piece of something and find the passion in you to change the world.
We don’t write headlines, though, to simply expect you to read them and stop there. We put about 100+ hours a week in combined man power to write the stories we post. We don’t write them for us. Trust me, we have tons of other things we’d like to be doing, ie. spending time with our families and friends, or simply taking a well-deserved nap. But we do it for you. Every single day, at all hours, we do it for you. It’s a bit of a blow when you don’t seem to care.
So do us a favor, just one tiny favor. Read. It really is that simple, and you’d be surprised at what information we can give you that is factual and pertinent to your day to day lives.
A prank is a prank is a prank. It’s time to get over it and start reading again. We do a damn fine job, and you should all be paying attention to that!