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Let's assume that there is a magic that can push information directly into people's brains. However, that magic has some limitations:

  • It can only "push" single sentences of 15 words or less
  • With a thought, the person can "expand" the text and give the reader more information
  • It only works within a 1/2 mile range
  • Magic "adblock" can stop the info from coming.

If a person expands the info, the sender gets one IP (Iron Piece, roughly 1 cent.) from a advertising corporation.

If somebody were to send a piece of info like "This One Weird Trick Summons Demons!", would a person be likely to "expand" the info?
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    $\begingroup$ Is this a shot at the famous question badge? Might just work. (In an ironic sense). $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2021 at 13:25
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    $\begingroup$ It's almost impossible to resist... >:( How dare you exploit this curiosity! $\endgroup$
    – Lemming
    Dec 6, 2021 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ "7 Reasons why you are thinking this thought" $\endgroup$
    – GFA
    Dec 6, 2021 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, your title is longer than eight words. Didn't notice it. $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2021 at 15:17
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    $\begingroup$ my personal opinion: a world with this happening would, very quickly, have a genocide against all magic-capable individuals. you might title this question as "would everyone kill annoying wizards" $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2021 at 19:11

4 Answers 4

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Clickbait injected into someone's brain would be very effective - at first

Most people are not disciplined in their thinking - if I tell you not to imagine a llama, have you or have you not imagined a llama? To bring a thing to a person's attention is almost the same as to make them think about it, more or less.

Depending on how easy the "trigger" is, it may be almost impossible for a typical person to resist - the first time.

Clickbait, like other advertising techniques, loses power as the target grows numb to it

How many billboards do you actually read, when driving, being driven, or even just walking along the street? How many ads on a typical web page (assuming you don't have an ad blocker), do you actually read? The more ubiquitous a vector trying to appeal to your attention, the less importance you will tend to assign it.

The very first "Seven Reasons Why..." article looks fun and interesting. After clicking past a couple of ads to get to each reason, you may not bite the next time you see such an article. The more common clickbait becomes, and the less actually useful or interesting previous clickbait was, the less alluring the 73rd invitation will be.

Though this may in turn lead to increasing "stakes" for the clickbait: 3 Reasons you'll be eaten by the Jabberwocky

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    $\begingroup$ "To bring a thing to a person's attention is almost the same as to make them think about it, more or less." A good example of this is the game. $\endgroup$
    – tjjfvi
    Dec 7, 2021 at 2:17
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    $\begingroup$ I suppose you could call that last line BEO(Brain Engine Optimization) $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2021 at 5:42
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    $\begingroup$ @tjjfvi Damn you, I had about 4 years and you go and do that. $\endgroup$
    – Umbra
    Dec 7, 2021 at 11:22
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I think our brain already works like that, for something deserving attention, like a noise in the house while you are sleeping at night, a mother hearing her baby whining upstairs while the TV is on, someone wearing a provoking dress walking through the corridor... Those are all baits to which our brain "bites".

Like with most of the real clickbait, if the message involves one of the primary needs (sex, food, shelter/clothing), it will capture the brain's attention. If it can bypass the conscious layer, even more.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sadly, you are right on the money. $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2021 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ 'Message' of course being scent/images/sound/taste at first, actual words come far after that. The amount of Youtube video's that have nothing to do with the thumbnail (n)or the title is staggering. $\endgroup$
    – Mixxiphoid
    Dec 7, 2021 at 12:00
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Clickbait works via a phrase, quote, or other mechanism to reach our concious mind and get us to click, hoping to know more. "Injecting" this phrase directly into someones head would result in three things(that I can think of)

1: The reciver sees it as an actual thought of theirs

If this clickbait phrase doesn't come with some sort of marker to show its an external thought, the person reciving it might think of it as their own, and expand on their own. For example, say someone recives the title "8 ways to remove demons from your house," the person may begin thinking of three ways to remove the demons. If that action leads to them unknowingly expanding on it, and getting the article, it could be considered intrusive. Additionally, this could be a way of "brainwashing"people, by implanting thoughts into lots of peoples heads.

2: The reciver sees the title as an external source

Maybe the clickbait sent is recognized as an external thought, like ones read or heard, a similar thing could happen as above. Or the reciver trains themselves to tune out the titles, and ignore it.

3: The reciver learns to filter the titles

If the titles sent are marked as an advert, the reciver could train themselves to filter through the titles when they want to, similar to popping onto social media and scrolling through articles, choosing to read only the ones you want.

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Click bait will always be bait. Enticing, but ultimately unrewarding and disappointing. Ad/Popup blockers would definitely be in good business

Depending on how far you take it, I can see it very quickly becoming a way for targeted ads to be used.

If information can be sent directly into the brain, information should be able to be retrieved as well. Not your personal secrets and memories, but at least your surface level thoughts, like "what am I going to make for dinner". Now you have a clickbait article about "7 delicious recipes in under 10 minutes" and on expanding, each pages ads are for Johnny's Butcher, Jason's dairy, etc.

The other way for targeted ads to work, is a register of what click baits you have expanded. When you have got 5 that are related, in a short amount of time (Celebrities that own haunted houses - #13 might surprise you; Mans terrifying true haunted experience - captured in journal entries; Is your house haunted - 5 ways to know; 7 easy methods of demon banishing; etc) push more ads and clickbait to do with ghosts, demons etc.

All I can say about it, whichever magic user discovers this magic, shall be put to death, and thrown from the peak of Mt. Tall, into the bottomless chasm.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! Cool idea with the thought-targeted advertisement. I'll definitely be implementing that. Throwing into the abyss isn't enough for this wizard, they should have some cruel and excessive punishment. Maybe surfing the magicnet WITHOUT an adblocker. $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2021 at 12:48

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