It’s all about the title

One of the hardest things to do when you write essays — and blog or portfolio posts — is to think of a good title. You want to grab the attention of the reader, but you don’t want it to be inflammatory or “clickbait”. Sometimes it’s hard to convince students that “Smoking” is not a good essay title. “Well,” they say, “It’s clear what my topic is. Smoking is bad for your health.”

I counter: “Not necessarily. Your essay could be about the economic benefits of increased cigarette taxes. Or the new marijuana laws in the U.S. Or how to smoke salmon.”

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the website Upworthy, which is famous for its long, provocative titles.

And today there was an article about titles and the idea that some people ONLY read titles. Many people don’t bother to read the whole article and jump right to the comments. It was an April Fool’s joke, but it was pretty funny:

NPR Pulled a Brilliant April Fools’ Prank On People Who Don’t Read

(via Gawker)

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 10.12.13 AM

Writing prompt for today:

Browse the internet for titles and headlines — try starting with Google news or Yahoo news, and check out Upworthy and other news sites for headlines, try googling “funny newspaper headlines”, and here’s a list of “best book titles”. Which titles catch your attention? Why?  Try the same thing in Japanese. Do you notice any similarities or differences between trending titles in English and Japanese?

 

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