Bad Titles in Social Media

Did you read the title to this post?  If you’re like me, you read titles.  There’s so much data every day, and a title, like an email subject, lets you quickly acquire the context for that item.

But there is a problem in the Social Media realm (I’ll get to the rest of the media shortly) whereby many users are able to submit or title content without giving it much thought.  The main issue from where I stand is the users do not take their audience into account.  That is, some types of titles are appropriate in some communities.

Humor communities often rely on the surprise of the punch line, and so it’s still appropriate to put some of the set-up in the title without giving a full title that would indicate the type of humor or content explicitly.

Communities centered on a particular viewpoint (eg, video games) need not avoid opinion in titles.  If their community agrees that bans on violent games are ill-conceived, they don’t have to avoid that (“Idiot politician wants to ban fun!” might be fine there).

But even in these places, ongoing responses to previous items should provide at least some context.  If there’s been a series of posts and you happen to have been busy that week, it’s a lot like coming out of a coma to find out that the robots have won.

And then there’s the media at large.  Often they have experience in making headlines that push agendas (mainly the agenda that you buy their media or keep watching it).  And they use that to the detriment of their readership.  That’s quickly becoming part of Social Media, too.

The solution I follow in dealing with bad titles is to ignore those items, just like I do items from unsavory sources and spam.  I’m pretty sure that’s the best way, as bad titles aren’t going anywhere, but they shouldn’t be encouraged.

Even if the content of an item is worthwhile, it’s like buying something packaged in that horrendous clamshell plastic: not worth it.  Either someone will submit the item in good packaging, or you’ll spend your money and time on something else.

In closing, I’ve recently got my drawing tablet to work in Linux, so here’s something I drew:

Mishmash of shapes and colors...