Asking for Controversy: Titling Articles and Blogs

ID-10094997Stuart Miles

On Friday, September 7th, Mashable published an op-ed piece titled 5 Reasons Why Social Media is Ruining Marketing from guest writer Alex Goldfayn. With a title like that being posted on a social media marketing oriented website, you are bound to attract a lot of controversy (and page views).

The average Mashable article receives less than ten, or perhaps even five, comments. 5 Reasons Why Social Media is Ruining Marketing has received over 60 comments as of September 12th, 2012, so it can be argued that the op-ed piece was extremely successful in attracting conversation. However, the majority of the 60+ comments on the piece disagreed with the writer’s opinions. Some were civil with their arguments, while others were blunter with their criticisms of the opinion piece.

Misleading or intentionally provocative titling has been around since the advent of newspapers, but there is a fine line between an eye-catching title and a blatantly provocative or misleading one. Given the title, the editors at Mashable and the author were most likely aware of the attention that this piece would receive. They ultimately decided to go through with publishing it, which is a decision that they may be regretting.

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