Why Stupid Sells
Why we love stupid stuff
If you are a dedicated internet junkie then you know as well as I do that for some reason some of the stupidest things attract so much attention. Even here on Hubpages it never ceases to amaze me when I see something that appears to be ridiculous getting more attention than an article about a possible cure for AIDS. Alright I may be stretching it a bit when I say a cure for AIDS, but you get what I mean. Even I have had moderate success with a ridiculous article I wrote about zombies. I never had intentions of the article ever gaining many views, but before I knew it I was getting several hits a day. You'll never believe it, but I actually wrote in in about 10 minutes just to test out the hubpage feature of answering a question by writing a hub about it. Since I didn't have much knowledge about the subject I decided to be a wise guy and write something ridiculous. The original question was, "How do you kill a zombie." Instead of answering the question out right I gave 5 different ridiculous tips on how one could scare a zombie away from them, ranging from ideas like playing a lot of classical music to dressing like a hippie to get the zombie to leave you alone. To this day that article is still one of the most viewed I have posted on stumbleupon. So what makes people want to read ridiculous nonsense like this?
Three reasons we love ignorance
I was sitting in the recliner, surfing the web on my laptop today, when I asked myself why people do this. I'll be darned if I wasn't on a website 5 minutes later reading about why young children eat glue. So now I ask myself the question, "Why on earth do I want to read about why children eat glue?" While the question is somewhat rhetorical I was able to come to a few possible conclusions.
- Throughout the day we all work and are all so very happy to get home where we can be ourselves and do whatever we want to do without being judged. If we want to read about the reproductive cycle of leprechauns or watch a youtube video of a kid getting hit in the head with a basketball at a high school basketball game, we can. It gives us a break from the stressful part of life and gives our brains time to rest.
- Authors have been using a process for many years that inserts a brief period of comedy or a joke during a very tense thriller paragraph. Writers do this to bring down the level of tension and set your expectation for the next twist or turn in the next scene or chapter. It's the same method a boss or manager will use with their employees. The boss may give you 5 different things to do and all of a sudden crack a joke then give you 2 more things to do. It gives us time to take in all that has been set up for us to do and process it. The joke, in a sense, helps lighten our load.
- The third conclusion I came to was maybe these people are just better writers than I am. So many times I will be reading something that has no benefit for intelligence or reference to everyday life, but the author's words are so well placed that I just keep on reading until I reach the end. Almost every time I get to the end I think, "Why did I just waste 5 minutes of my time on that?" But overall I usually get a little entertaining laugh and a short story to tell my friends or an interesting non-sense topic to talk to people when trying to break the ice.
Whatever the reason is for the demand of useless information I encourage everyone that blogs or writes here on hubpages to test out this theory. Think of the dumbest thing you can, give it a catchy title and see how many views you get. Chances are you will get a view from me. Oddly enough I am sitting here watching Tosh.0, a television show that is exactly what I am talking about right now. It's a syndicated cable television program that gets outstanding ratings each week by airing feats of ignorance from youtube and other internet sources. Go figure. I hope you enjoyed this little ranting and don't say to yourself, "Why did I just read all of that nonsense." Remember to take a break from your serious topics today and write something stupid. It's actually quite fun to do.