Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Scanning the clickbait

 If you do news searches for Sherlock Holmes related headlines, or really, are just interested in anything at all and look at a news aggregator like Google News, you know clickbait -- those lovely headlines that only exist to lure you into clicking on them in hopes of something you want. Season five of Sherlock is very popular with clickbait producers.

A second level of clickbait is the "Well, duh!" headline that directs you to an opinion piece, like "Netflix's Best New Sherlock Holmes is Lupin, Not Enola Holmes" from a site like Screen Rant. They like Netflix's Lupin right now, and also have a headline "Lupin: Why Sherlock Holmes Can Appear in Part 2," an example of a third level of clickbait headline -- the one that might supply a tidbit of info you didn't know, but is fairly common knowledge among longtime fans. (Yes, Lupin and Sherlock Holmes had crossovers in Lupin's original books -- but in this series, Lupin is a fictional character that the main character has based himself on, so, hmmm . . .)

Some clickbaits look at other clickbaits to create their headlines, like "New Lupin Theory Says Sherlock Holmes Could Appear in Season 2," where someone plainly had to do nothing more than scan the headlines was just creating their own clickbait based on the others out there.

There's the teaser headline that you know is just there for you to argue with if you're looking for a reason to have an argument with the air: "Sherlock, Mycroft, or Eurus: Who The Most Intelligent Holmes Sibling Is." (Not clicking it, but guessing Eurus, unless one wants to debate the meaning of "intelligent" which is something for a field more professional than Sherlockiana.)

And, of course, Hollywood gossip where the headline is all the info you need: "Robert Downey Jr. Reportedly Pushing For R-Rating On Sherlock Holmes 3." Do I care why? No. Am I worried that it might be R-rated and my parents won't let me go? Or that I can't send my under-age kids without accompanying them? It seems like you would have to be a very specific sort of Holmes/Downey fan to click on that one.

And eventually we come full circle with the other Hollywood gossip headline, the celeb opinion: "Martin Freeman Thinks Sherlock Season 5 Could Definitely Happen." Good for him, but again, do we need to read past the headline? I'm surprised those season five Sherlock clickbaits still get enough clicks to exist at this point. Is there just a handful of desperate, over-caffeined Sherlockians out there biting on that bait every single time? Or folks that just finished binging the series?

Once you wade through the clickbait, you always get local theaters putting on Holmes plays, or some feature from an actual news source, but it's a long scan. I don't know how often I would do it if I didn't check for news nuggets for the Watsonian Weekly, since it's all pretty much the same week after week. 

But it's a part of Sherlockian life that's definitely something Sherlockians of old didn't have in their quiver of activities. Ah, the internet.

1 comment:

  1. Its simple follow the discussion group


    More Sherlockian finds show up there than anywhere else... and its not limited to screen productions...