Clickbait Trauma

I think that anything can be a viral hit. It’s a random process, lightning that you can’t trap in a bottle. It rains down and strikes one random video every now and then, and suddenly one grouchy cat is making millions. And then you go to Me-Straw, there’s a new video from Tabby Crawshaw, and the thumbnail is just…so tempting. There are giant red words, and a red arrow, and a red circle highlighting…something. I must watch the video, to see what the red circle is highlighting! I am compelled! And the red words, promising that I won’t believe what’s about to happen…well, that’s my free will down the drain.

That’s how they get you. A video could pop up in my feed saying ‘Arch supports fitted, live footage- you won’t BELIEVE how much foot fungus this person has!’ The thumbnail would have a picture of a person making an exaggerated shocked face, one of those hypnotic red circles highlighting something blurry, maybe even a red arrow if they really wanted to seal the deal. 

I have no problem with podiatrists, obviously. Great work, helping people get orthotics fitted and everything, so I don’t think I’m being unkind when I say that most people don’t want to look at foot fungus. All medical jobs have unpleasant parts that probably shouldn’t be filmed. But when uploaded to Me-Straw, with red circles and exaggerated shock faces?? I’d click on that, in a heartbeat. I’d spend all evening free-falling through the recommended videos tab, watching one video after another, knowing that each one won’t be quite as satisfying as advertised.

I’m starting to think I have issues with self-control. Like, this is how I spend ALL my evenings: cycling through a billion videos. No foot fungus as of yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Yeah, I definitely need a spine, or I need to go back to university and study podiatry, get a job at a foot specialist clinic near Cheltenham, the home of podiatry.

Then I can watch ALL the foot fungus videos I like, and it’ll be fine. I’ll just be one of those medical professionals who enjoys footage of trauma victims. Like it’s a hobby.

-Soren