Cutting Bait

I noted a recent post on my social media site that seemed to be innocuous – if somewhat foolish.

I have no problem with this – I post folly every day and am proud of it. This one begged a response and when one was given, the real reason for the bait was revealed – to ridicule someone the posting agent regarded as a political enemy.

Small? Foolish? Puerile? Yes to all three, but a surprisingly good illustration of a technique for obtruding an opinion – gull people into responding. If one lays a bait that is inflammatory, foolish, tawdry, or maudlin enough, they can get readers to engage with it and then deliver whatever the real message is.

It’s cheap stuff, indeed, but effective. Many people will not realise that it is a bait until they take it; the 1040 of the internet. One can also do it with gross pictures of heart-rending tragedy and then demand that people respond with a like or subscribe. It may seem a nasty way to conduct social communication, but then social communication was designed to be nasty.

Would you like to see a legless beggar and then have me cleverly tie it into the recent federal election and my socialist politics? Wait here while I go fetch the images…

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