11 Points

Have You Heard of Betteridge's Law of Headlines?
written by Sam Greenspan

Bettridge's Law of Headlines is one of those tongue-in-cheek life aphorisms like Murphy's Law or the Streisand Effect. It states: "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered with the word 'No.'"



Questions in headlines have historically been frowned upon -- at least until clickbait was invented, they became a necessity to compete. Now every website uses them; still frowned upon, now just mainstream. Like the use of "irregardless." Or people openly discussing their "brand."

Bettridge's Law is a reminder and a subtle omnipotent judgment, reminding quality writers to craft quality headlines. After all, if you ask a question in a headline and the reader's answer is instinctively "no," your article is thereby rendered useless.

I've certainly fallen victim. I've pumped out such articles as: Am I ashamed? (No.) Wow, it works.

Well, maybe. Blogging is a different animal with a different set of mores. It's a medium that requires a direct action (a click) to earn a reader. Compared to a newspaper, when the headline's job is to inform and the reader's only required action is slightly shifting the position of their pupils, headlines take on a monumentally different sense of import.

Plus headlines have evolved so much -- to the point where Facebook was overrun a few years ago with the Upworthy-style "He Thought the Woman Was a Turtle, But Watch This Video. 19 Seconds In, Wow. I'm Crying" -- that questions are almost an oasis. From a trusted website, they might even be an indication that you're going to read something surprising, enlightening and well-reasoned.

But that's not really why I'm writing this. No, I'm here because I just beat Bettridge's Law of Headlines.

How? Read the headline of this post.

Now try to follow the Law.

BOOM. WarGames computer status: Destroyed.

Ahem.

For reference, I've been sick all week.


This post was originally published on Friday, October 21, 2016 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Misc.

Facebookery?
11 Weirdest Imaginary Wars Dreamed Up By the Computer in WarGames

Is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Secretly a Sexist Term?

Four Philosophy Professors Got Feces in the Mail -- Is a Rival Professor to Blame?

11 Tremendously Bad Mistakes on School Signs

11 Least Addictive Drugs (and Other Bad Substances)

Archive of all Misc posts
There Are Now 17 Different iPads on Sale -- Which One Should I Get?
There Are Now 17 Different iPads on Sale -- Which One Should I Get?
Published Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Web & Tech
The 11 Worst-Tasting Beers in America (According to Statistics, and According to Me)
The 11 Worst-Tasting Beers in America (According to Statistics, and According to Me)
Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Food & Drink
America's Anti-Oxford Comma Dogma Just Won Some Workers a Court Case
America's Anti-Oxford Comma Dogma Just Won Some Workers a Court Case
Published Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 08:00:00 AM under the category Books
11 Books With Lesser-Known (and Generally Disappointing) Sequels
11 Books With Lesser-Known (and Generally Disappointing) Sequels
Published Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Books
11 Pictures of Absolutely Disastrous Mix-Ups
11 Pictures of Absolutely Disastrous Mix-Ups
Published Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Misc
A Boyfriend Got Caught Cheating in Burger King's Instagram Comments?
A Boyfriend Got Caught Cheating in Burger King's Instagram Comments?
Published Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Dating & Sex
Full Archive
Follow
11 Points

Mailing list


Twitter


Facebook


YouTube


Pinterest


RSS