Over the past few days, I’ve seeing a link to a video pop up on my facebook feed occasionally. It was usually tied to some click-bait headline like, “You won’t believe what happens in this video!” So I, of course, scrolled right past. I seriously hate that type of manipulative headline, because usually it’s written to drive traffic to an otherwise pedestrian video or article. It seems every time I click on one of those links I’m left disappointed. Hell, sometimes the content is even something I would normally enjoy, but I’m still left with a sense of irritation that whatever link didn’t deliver the insane level of magnificence the headline promised.
Today I was reading through one of my favorite blogs when the video popped up there. That made me actually interested in knowing what was in that video. With all due respect to my facebook friends – all of which I love – they tend to post a lot of stuff that doesn’t interest me in the slightest. This blog, however, is run by somebody I trust. When he posts something, it’s usually something I’ll be interested in. And if it’s frivolous, he will freely admit that right up front, giving me the option to skip past if I’m not interested.
Unfortunately I was reading on my phone while at a restaurant, so I couldn’t play the video right then. (Side note: If you play videos or music in public places like restaurants or coffee shops without headphones, you deserve a place in hell. And that’s coming from a guy who started a blog to discuss how ideas like hell are harmful. Don’t fucking do it.)
Getting back on track, the blogger was discussing an advertisement he came across that he thought was noteworthy. When I got home and got the chance to watch it myself, I couldn’t agree more. Here it is:
Hey, that was cool. It’s saying that families are families, even those that don’t look like a Norman Rockwell painting. A gay couple with a baby? That’s a family. An interracial couple with a few kids? That’s also a family.
An idea like that shouldn’t be too controversial. Don’t we live in a world of vast diversity? Don’t we celebrate our differences as we notice those little things we have in common?
The unfortunate answer to those questions are disappointingly predictable. Here’s some of the comments found below that ad on YouTube.
“Some school teachers and many TV programs are corrupting the minds of our children and grandchildren. They hear evil called good and good called evil on a daily basis (Isaiah 5:20). We are now living in a world where the wickedness of man is great and it is getting harder every day to bring our loved ones out of it.”
“i dont give a fuck if you are gay but you cant raise baby without a MOM”
“The mixed MARRIED couple is honorable in the eyes of GOD!! But the gay couple is dishonorable. Seriously. Butt sex? Two penises? Ugh. Why do some equate these differences as the same? Keep the Gay stuff UNDERGROUND!!!!!!”
I know I shouldn’t hope for much, especially in the comments section on YouTube. To paraphrase something I heard Wil Wheaton say once, YouTube comments sections are the place on the internet that makes people say, “Woah, I’m going back to fourchan where people are reasonable.”
But still, I was disappointed in humanity. To take such a simple and beautiful concept, and turn it into something so ugly… It’s moments like this that I remember why I started a blog in the first place.
Apparently, Honey Maid, the makers of the original ad, agreed with me, and weren’t willing to let that ugliness stand unchallenged. So they put together another little video, the one I kept ignoring on facebook, and now I’m sad that I did. This video brought me to actual literal tears. Watch it, and feel a little better about the world. I know I did.
Shit. I think I need to go buy some Teddy Grahams.
I don’t want to take away from the beauty of that ad. It’s amazing, and I’m proud to write a post highlighting it. It’s my way of giving it a significant spot in my little corner of the internet.
However, I do want to make another small point here. And I will admit that this is a silly, superficial thing to rant about, but I’m going to do it anyway.
I would’ve seen this video sooner if it weren’t for click-bait websites. I’m sick to death of every little mediocre listicle and wannabe viral video being touted as the greatest, most life-changing experience you’ll ever have. It not only insults the intelligence of those of us who actually do spend a lot of time on the internet looking for meaningful, important, and impactful content. It also makes it harder to find the worthwhile stuff out there.
I understand the idea of generating traffic. Sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy make their money by selling advertising based on the number of hits they get. It’s in their best interest to get as many as possible, and they’ve found that headlines like, “This Little Girl Got a Cut, What Happens Next Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity,” will draw more hits than, “Man Ready With Band-Aid When Girl Gets Cut.” In the realm of the internet, pageviews are the most valuable currency.
Hell, I’m no different. I love following my own stats page. I love to finding out how many people have been reading my work, and even how many different countries they come from. But I refuse to misrepresent what I’m offering. This is a blog with the opinions of one (awesome) guy who doesn’t like religion very much and enjoys the occasional sporting event. That’s all you’re gonna find here.
Misleading headlines, hyperbole, and click-baiting tactics are only diluting the quality of content on the internet, and that’s disappointing for all of us. Especially when there’s amazing stuff like what I posted above waiting out there that people aren’t going to find because they, like me, get too jaded by seeing one too many pedestrian articles touted as the greatest thing ever.