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Trying to Avoid the Curiosity Click

November 7, 2018

Content warning: negative mental health experiences, alcohol

I wish there was a way I could click on a clickbait youtube thumbnail just to see for myself what bullshit they’re talking about without giving the video another view. I know that’s exactly what they want me to wish. They want me to wish so hard that I eventually just give up and grant my own wish by giving the video another view, and thus granting it 0.0001% more fake legitimacy, because it’s not a big deal.

Well, it is a big deal, to me, and I ain’t falling for it. I know whatever satisfaction my curiosity gets out of it is meaningless, because there’s an infinite amount of bullshit in the tank for them to spray me with after that. It’s literally never going to end. People will be trying to make money from me by lying to me to make me mad until the day I die.

I need to put youtube thumbnails in the same mental category as supermarket checkout line tabloid magazine covers–I never for a second even peek inside an issue of Us Magazine or The National Examiner, no matter how outrageous the claim on the cover is or how perplexed I am that they’re still somehow allowed to get away with this. The supermarket tabloid is an anti-object; it occupies the same brain space as the homeless jesus sculpture, or roadside sign-spinners, or the horoscope page, or clouds of vape smoke, or military camo T-shirts, or cops, or red baseball caps with white text–just background decoration for the dystopia. It automatically gets caught by my brain’s internal junk filter, and other than occasionally having to clean it out (an activity that happens once or twice a month and involves a lot of sobbing and/or alcohol) I’m mostly able to get through my day without thinking about them.

But for whatever reason, bullshit clickbait youtube thumbnails are harder to ignore. I guess it’s just the extremely low barrier to entry: I just finished watching a video, and it’s now time to find another frequency to distract me before I can tune back into the howling emptiness that would otherwise devour me. I have to click on something. Here are some things to click on, why not one of these? Clicking the bullshit thumbnail is just as easy as clicking anything else on the screen, so why not? It’s just one view out of eight hundred thousand, it won’t hurt anything.

But even if that were true, it definitely won’t help anything! I already avoid 90% of youtube “recommendations” by going directly to my subscription feed (bookmark this page instead of going to youtube.com, it’s a lifesaver); I’m just going to have to copy the URL for videos I want to watch and download them with youtube-dl from now on.


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