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’I Urge You To See This...’. Clickbait as One of the Dominant Features of Contemporary Online Headlines



With the arrival of the Internet the already-existing mass media have undergone a complete revolution. Among the most affected subtypes one could easily distinguish the press, which had to find its own place within the new medium. The fierce competition in the realm of online publishing has engendered a number of idiosyncratic linguistic devices used to lure the readers. One of the most popular ones is the phenomenon recognized as clickbait, i.e. an umbrella term for a number of techniques used to attract attention and arouse curiosity. In the following paper, we shall investigate the presence of the said phenomenon in online headlines. In order to do that we shall perform a corpus-based analysis of the data acquired from the most popular American social news outlets on the Internet, namely Buzzfeed, TMZ and E!Online. Apart from establishing the extent to which clickbait has dominated online headlines, we shall also pinpoint and discuss the specific linguistic techniques used to attract potential readers.