This Headline Left Intentionally Boring
from the does-it-work? dept
Of course, a few other interesting thoughts come out of this. One is the basic worry that things have gone horribly wrong when we're writing headlines for computers, not humans. The computers should be adapting to what the humans want, not the other way around. The other idea, though, comes from Clive Thompson, who relates a story from Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow crediting much of that site's traffic to their boring, but straightforward headlines. Of course, it would be helpful if there were more of a control to compare it to. In our case, over the years, we've found that the catchier headlines definitely tend to receive more traffic (though not necessarily more comments) than straightforward headlines. Of course, much of that depends on how catchy the headline is. Sometimes, in trying to be too clever, you end up in some obscure world where almost no one gets what you were referring too (though, those who do get it seem to appreciate it even more). Catchy headlines also have a second benefit: it's easier to spot when someone else copies your headlines as well.