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Content vs. Clickbait

Odds are you know exactly what I’m talking about: Clickbait, the art of enticing a reader with irresistibly alluring sensationalized headlines and/or pictures.

Using clickbait is a powerful tool for content providers looking to drive traffic to their website and grow the online advertising revenue attached to that. Online ads will only continue to grow in the next decade as people abandon older content formats. Nowhere is this more evident than in news content.

In The Modern News Consumer, a 2016 report published by the Pew Research Center, surveys were conducted to determine how and where Americans get their news. TV still reigns king with 57% getting their news from cable, network or local stations. But a sizable 38% reported getting their news online. Of that 38%, slightly more than half (55%) get their news online while they are doing something else. This shows the power content providers can have in enticing an audience, whether it be on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or major news websites like CNN or BBC.

In the case of social media, many people end up consuming content from shares from friends and family. And with so much information to scroll through, content providers don’t only need to compete with each other, but with funny cat videos, selfies, status updates and more. Catching the eye has always been a sophisticated practice that combines design elements such as font, font size and colour, but the content is what matters the most.

It’s easy then to see why clickbait is so heavily leaned on, but there are major differences between a clickbait headline and a legitimate eye-grabbing headline. When considering how to use a headline to grab readers, below are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Don’t mislead you reader.

    Headline your content with something that reflects and informs its substance. The worst types of clickbait sensationalize, distort and ignore context. Here’s a great example: “When You Read These 19 Shocking Food Facts, You’ll Never Want To Eat Again.”

  2. Don’t lose your reader’s trust.

    This is very connected to no. 1. Give your readers some credit. You may fool them once or twice, but your core audience will plateau over time once they figure you out. The bubble will eventually burst, as the once wildly popular media website BuzzFeed has discovered recently.

  3. Don’t forget to prize quality over quantity.

    It all depends on what kind of content you want to create. A high quality website offers visitors something they can’t get elsewhere. The example of a company like Slant News, reported to pay $5 for every 500 clicks, will give you writers aiming for clicks, not great content.

  4. Don’t forget there’s more to a story than a headline.

    This extends to video as well: “Hillary [Clinton] Caught On Tape Birthing Alien Life Form.” It’s definitely an…ahem…enticing headline, but is there anything beyond that headline in this video? You decide.

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YouTube: A Threat to Content Creation?

The fact that YouTube is one of the most massive websites shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. According to YouTube’s statistics, it has over a billion users, almost one third of all people online. YouTube accumulates hundreds of millions of hours of views every single day. And that’s the beauty of one of the most revolutionary forces in content creation in the past decade.

The advantages are clear to see: YouTube provides a content creator with essentially free distribution. Anyone can upload a video accessible to anyone else with an internet connection. Content creators can also monetize their videos, allowing them to reap the rewards of adverts placed before, during and after their content is playing. A person with a camera, time and dedication can now make a living, simply via this monetization of their YouTube videos.

Swedish YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, is the pinnacle of successful examples, earning $15 million in 2016 alone. How? By finding an audience entertained by simply watching him playing video games and vlogging, amongst other things. But Kjellberg found himself in a swirl of controversy in the past few months, accused of exhibiting anti-Semitism in a number of his parody videos. He had a major television show cancelled due to the media backlash, and the whole ordeal brought renewed focus on YouTube’s approach behind selecting what it deems as “advertiser friendly” (in other words, monetized) content.

Due to the countless number of videos being uploaded every day, it’s impossible to watch and vet every single one. YouTube relies on keywords and algorithms and user flagging to do much of the heavy lifting on this front. But YouTube’s approach has arguably done more harm than good. For example, completely harmless videos are often demonetized due to a potentially controversial word in their title, such as “Christianity.” Parody, satire and political videos are particularly vulnerable to this approach, seeing as they tend to cover touchy subjects even if they aren’t controversial themselves.

This has shed a light on a big problem YouTube has: how to properly manage what content is being played along with an advertiser’s commercial, without destroying the livelihoods of its content creators.

But what are the risks that YouTube and its content creators now face?

1. Creating only to appeal to advertisers

By giving advertisers the power to select what kinds of videos their commercials appear in, this means that content creators will be incentivized to make videos that play it safe and guarantee they won’t displease anyone. It’s a compromise many will find hard to make.

2. Workaround approaches work both ways

There are methods of avoiding getting flagged and circumventing YouTube’s system, for example, by removing potentially inflammatory keywords from the title and tags of a video. But this is an approach everyone will soon figure out, including those with legitimately offensive content.

3. The death of freedom of speech

This is a centuries old problem: how to make a living as a creator without censoring yourself? YouTube has a responsibility to not allow content creators to be silenced unfairly, even if the expense is exorbitant and unwieldy. Otherwise, true freedom of speech and expression on its website will quickly die.

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A Universal Language

The Tower of Babel – Pieter Bruegel the Elder, c. 1563. 

The concept of a universal language transcending borders and ethnicities has been with us throughout the length and breadth of written history. Human beings have a need to connect, to communicate. This need is an irrevocable part of us; we are social animals after all.

Look no further than the story of the Tower of Babel, which tells us of a human race unified after the flood that swept away all but those on Noah’s Ark. With a single language to bond them, they strove together to build the city of Babel with an edifice high enough to reach the heavens until God struck it down and scattered peoples throughout over the world, divided by language as well as geography.

But the idea of a universal language remains with us today, especially as technology has shifted us closer together, making the once isolated regions of the world more interconnected than ever before.

And yet, language is a most peculiar thing. Complex, constantly evolving and full of perils. Distinct dialects emerge if one simply travels from one town to another, let alone one end of a country to another. Look no further than the hundreds of unique mother tongues within India, or the countless variations in dialect in the major Sinitic languages of China. Such a rich variety inevitably stalls communication, causing confusion and enmity in mistranslation. The United Nations, with all of its 193 members, still selectively and biasedly sticks to six official languages. It would be impossible to efficiently include them all, it seems.

So is a universal language possible in our future? Is a universal language desirable?


Attempts have been made to create a universal language, with one noteworthy example being Esperanto. A constructed language created by Polish doctor L.L. Zamenhof, its aims were the following, as quoted by Zamenhof himself in his 1887 work, Unua Libro (First Book):

  1. To render the study of the language so easy as to make its acquisition mere play to the learner.
  2. To enable the learner to make direct use of his knowledge with persons of any nationality, whether the language be universally accepted or not; in other words, the language is to be directly a means of international communication.
  3. To find some means of overcoming the natural indifference of mankind, and disposing them, in the quickest manner possible, and en masse, to learn and use the proposed language as a living one, and not only in last extremities, and with the key at hand.

Esperanto was designed to be easily learned and taught, with simple grammatical rules not beholden to perplexing exceptions and rules that reflect the convoluted development of most languages. With varying estimates of around two million speakers worldwide at present, it’s arguable whether not the lofty intentions behind the language ever had a feasible chance at success.

But interestingly enough, it encountered suppression in the past. The likes of Stalin and Hitler both saw fit to actively denounce it and persecute Esperanto speakers, and other countries such as France and Romania banned it in some form. The short history of Esperanto is an exploration of humanity’s resilient innate desire to communicate, to break down obstacles. And while the best we can do now is improve translation and learn more than our native tongues, it seems like a unified world, bound by language, will always be an elusive dream for some.

You can find out more about learning Esperanto here. And you can find a translation of Unua Libro here.

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DIFF 2016 Movie Preview: Ember (Kor)

Ember (Kor)
Playing: Monday, Dec. 12, 6:00 P.M. and Wednesday, Dec. 14, 5:30 P.M.

Turkish cinema has seen an incredible rise in recent years. Films such as “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” and “The Edge of Heaven” have offered starkly bleak and bravely truthful accounts of Turkish society, winning awards and international recognition. Writer-director Zeki Demirkubuz’s “Ember” is yet another endeavour in that tradition.


Read more by clicking on Tabeer’s If you watched the movie, let us know what you think in the comments here on our blog or on

Tabeer, proud sponsor and official translator of DIFF2016.

Ali Amad (MoviePulse Editor)

(image copyrights remain with owners).


What Would You Say To Your Younger Self?

About this series of blogs:

We’ve done a series of Instiga-Views (instigation + interview) offering insight from people with experience to instigate positive action and reaction from younger generations toward building their own paths. We didn’t have any questions, rather we asked our interviewees to speak to their younger selves, to give us their honest, straight to the heart thoughts on two of the following seven “Instigators”: Breaking the Rules, Courage, Adding Value, Career Catastrophes, Fear, Censorship, and Play.

Here’s what Elspeth Duncan had to say about Courage and Adding Value.

Elspeth and Venus on Rockley
Elspeth and Venus on Rockley


People often tell me that I’m ‘so brave’ or ‘so courageous’. But what does it mean to be courageous? It must be a relative thing, as is fear. I think if you see someone as having ‘courage’, it means they are doing or being something that you are afraid of doing or being yourself. But to them, that brave thing may be ‘nothing’.

Once I made a promise to myself that even if I felt ‘fear’ I would ‘go ahead anyway’. (Like that saying: Feel the fear and do it anyway). I don’t want to ever look back and regret not doing or being something because of ‘fear’. But at the same time I don’t want to feel ‘fear’ and then blindly charge into something just because I’m “feeling fear and doing it anyway.” So, I ask for Wisdom and Discernment to guide me.

Adding Value

I add value the more I am myself. The more I am myself, I become a living example. The more I become a living example, the more I inspire others. The more I inspire others, the more I am moved to continue doing what I do. The more I continue to do what I do, the more I encounter kindred spirits who share my visions. The more I encounter kindred spirits who share my visions, the further we go. The further we go, the more we spread the peace that comes with living personal truth. The more we spread the peace that comes with living personal truth, the more we experience love and harmony within, among and around us. The more we experience love and harmony within, among and around us, the more we trust the Universe, knowing that everything is unfolding exactly as it is meant to.

Elspeth Bio

Elspeth Duncan is a film maker, musician, writer/published author (find her novel ‘Daisy Chain’ on and KRI certified Kundalini Yoga instructor who has been practicing this form of yoga since 2000. She currently resides in Tobago, where she teaches yoga and facilitates yoga retreats through her company Thou Art Yoga, writes a weekly column (”Tobago Peeps”) in the Trinidad Guardian newspaper, and feeds and celebrates love through her intimate two-person restaurant, Table for Two Made for You.

Check out Elspeth’s websites & blogs:

DIFF 2016 Movie Preview: Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea
Playing: Wednesday, Dec. 14, 8:45 P.M.

Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan’s work tends to be emotionally wrenching, so viewers should be forewarned this won’t be an easy watch. Set in Massachusetts, the story begins when Lee’s (Affleck) life is thrown into upheaval after his older brother suddenly dies and he finds himself entrusted with the guardianship of his nephew.


Tabeer ; proud sponsors & official translators for DIFF2016.
Contact Us to arrange to meet us to discuss your content, design and translation needs for 2017.

Check out the full preview here. Leave a comment to tell us what you thought of the movie.

Ali Amad ( editor)

DIFF 2016 Movie Preview: Voyage of Time

Voyage of Time

Playing: Tuesday, Dec. 13, 6:30 P.M.

“Voyage of Time” ambitiously covers exactly what the title suggests, charting the creation of our planet and the evolution of our species, utilizing extensive special effects and plenty of creative guesswork. The 90-minute Cate Blanchett-narrated version will be playing at DIFF 2016.



Ali Amad ( editor)

Tabeer, proud sponsors & official translators for DIFF2016.
Contact Us to arrange a meeting.

(images copyrights remain with their owners).

DIFF 2016 Movie Preview: Layla M.

Layla M.

Playing: Sunday, Dec. 11, 10 P.M. layla-m-1

Most of the media coverage that promotes Islamophobia neglects the roots and causes behind why a tiny minority of Muslims become radicalized, offering the easy solution. What Layla M. seeks to do is unravel the myriad of factors that lead to people of all ages, backgrounds and upbringings to go down that route.

Read more on by clicking here. If you watched the movie, let us know what you think.

Tabeer, proud sponsor and official translator of DIFF2016.

Ali Amad ( Editor)

(image copyright TIFF)

The War Show Preview


Playing: Friday, Dec. 9, 5:30 P.M. and Saturday, Dec. 10, 9:45 P.M.

As the Syrian Civil War tragedy spirals past its fifth year, the staggering toll on the country’s people continues to mount with no end in sight. Millions of refugees with communities destroyed and homes lost are spread across the world while their country is reduced to rubble.

Back in 2011, no one could have anticipated the Arab Spring that swept through the Middle East and toppled more than one despotic ruler. And no one could have anticipated the brutal crackdown of the Syrian regime on its own citizens.

Those early protests and the almost immediate retaliation of al-Assad’s army are the setting where “The War Show” starts. Years of home video-style footage were filmed by radio host activist Obaidah Zytoon and her friends, and shaped into this documentary with the help of Danish director Andreas Dalsgaard.


What began with excitement, hope and optimism for what was always an unlikely future is challenged but not defeated as time progresses. This is the strength of “The War Show.” Hope is immovable from every moment of this film, as we leave the first protests to follow Zytoon on her travels across Syria to war-torn cities and her hometown of Al Zabadani to fully witness the ramifications of a full-fledged civil war.

This isn’t the first documentary to cover this subject and neither is it the most comprehensive. That being said, it offers a perspective missing in news coverage and other documentaries that focus on the combat while neglecting the younger generations who demand a better future, and who suffer the most in any war. This might not be the easiest film to watch in this year’s festival, but it is definitely one of the most important and timely.


Tabeer; proud sponsors & official translators for DIFF2016.



DIFF 2016 Movie Preview: Neruda

The 13th Dubai International Film Festival is finally upon us!

This year’s eight day festival is taking place from Dec. 7-14, featuring the best the U.A.E. and Arab countries have on offer, Hollywood Oscar-bait and critically acclaimed films from around the world. Special events include conversations with Samuel L. Jackson and a showcase of new hit sci-fi TV show “Westworld” with star Jeffrey Wright.

We will be previewing some of the best films DIFF 2016 is screening each day, so make sure to check out our latest update every morning.

Tabeer; proud sponsors & official translators for DIFF.


Playing: Thursday, Dec. 8, 3:15 P.M and                 Friday, Dec. 9. 2:45 P.M.

Coming from renowned Chilean director Pablo Larraín, “Neruda” is a semi-fictional account of the hunt of fugitive titular poet and communist Pablo Neruda in 1940s Chile. The Spanish-language thriller disguised as a biopic features a cast of well-known Chilean actors with the high profile exception of Gael García Bernal, who plays the inspector hot on the heels of the poet on the run (the Mexican actor starred in an earlier Larraín film, “No”.)


Never an easy watch, a Larraín film always explores the uncomfortable and challenges its audience. His 2015 film “The Club” tackled the controversial issue of the Catholic Church’s cover-ups of many of its priests’ illicit and reprehensible behaviour. This time, Larraín takes his unconventional style and dark humour to a topic very close to home.

A Nobel Prize winner and legend in South America today, the eccentric Pablo Neruda has a story that shows us the power and resilience of words. Railing against the repression of Communism and leftist politics at the hands of Chilean President Gabriel González Videla, Neruda became an enemy of a state that no longer represented all its citizens, taking a stand that echoes that of oppressed peoples around the world.

“Neruda” arrives in Dubai with almost universal praise from critics and has officially been selected as the Chilean entry for Best Foreign Language film at next year’s Oscars. Larraín has one more film playing at DIFF as well, the Natalie Portman-starring biopic of John F. Kennedy’s wife, “Jackie”. If you’re a Larraín fan, make sure to catch both!