Click here to see what happens next

You’re looking at your newsfeed on Facebook, and you get to a post with a catchy headline. Someone did something, and you’re not going to believe what happens next. Click on the link to see. Or, 8 top reasons your relationship is failing. Or some other top 10 or 20 list of the reasons something in your life is not quite right. So you .. “click.”

Big mistake.

Let me tell you why. Facebook is safe. Other sites are not. Other sites are looking to infect you with malware (software that sits on your computer and collects personal information, including passwords and account numbers.) Facebook can’t control this, and “your” friend that re-posted, has no idea he did so. No matter how tempting the story, don’t click. I know it’s a story about how a baby was saved, or a dog greeted their owner who came back from the war. The stories are meant to be heart wrenching to get you to click.

Then there’s the top reasons that **insert interesting subject here** happens. And you click. And have you wondered why the reasons are not all on the same page. Why do you keep on clicking “next” … and “next” … and “next.” Let me explain. On all those pages, there are dozens of ads. Did you ever notice them? Probably not, but trust me, they are there. When you click next 20 times, that’s 20 times that an ad appears, or “impressions” in the internet advertising world. The company that sells the ads then tells their customer that the ad had millions of “impressions.” It’s an inflated figure, that you contributed to. The topic of the list does not matter. Often the list is provocative, just to get you to click, then to share with your friends. “Can you believe what they’re saying about my city?” Sure, share that list. Get your friends to go see it. More impressions.

So, when you see “click here to see what happens next” … move along, unless it’s my post.

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