Clickhole is an affiliate of The Onion – the satirical news site – and like The Onion, all the content on Clickhole is fake. Yet, despite consisting of made up material, Clickhole carries the sting of criticism found in good satire.
Clickhole parodies websites that try to draw viewers in through the use of content termed “clickbait.” Such content is meant to keep a viewer on a specific website (for the sake of earning more advertising) and is not meant to provide the viewer with anything of depth, importance, or critical thinking. Reliable clickbait tactics include cat gifs, articles brimming with nostalgia, listicles, and quizzes meant to help me understand myself somehow.
Clickhole does essentially the same thing. It has progressive-minded opinion pieces, snippets about celebrities, and quizzes that I would be utterly lost without! Here’s another amazing quiz that you have to take this very instant! It will leave you actually astonished!!
Much of the material on social media sites seems intended to ease the angst of the young adult demographic. Sites offer a bit of existential respite, teaching me that my 20s aren’t that bad, or reminding me that Dunkaroos, Gushers, and Sock’em Boppers were awesome, or making me see that I’m just like a fictional character from my favorite TV show or movie. But do these sorts of messages really provide me with any capacity to examine my life or process my deep, yearning questions? After all, how exactly do I benefit from knowing which Disney character I am like? And what is the algorithm that determines that anyway? Maybe a quiz tells me I’m like Aladdin, but what if I feel like Simba? Too bad, the quiz said I’m like Aladdin, so, I guess I am.
Clickhole makes no attempt to be a legitimate source of news or culture. In fact, the site seems to take pride in how fantastical it can be. Yet, it mirrors other social media sites so well that, despite being made up, some of the content on Clickhole seems like it could fit on a site like Buzzfeed. The result is that Clickhole’s own illegitimacy – which is intentional – reveals other social media sites as equally illegitimate. After spending some time on Clickhole, you might come to realize that it’s not so much Clickhole’s content that is fake, but instead that the content of other social media sites offer little real substance.
I take comfort in websites like Clickhole and The Onion because they mock the sorts of social media and news websites that claim to have everything figured out for us. Clickhole is funny, existential, absurdist and certainly worth your time if the average humdrum of social media leaves you unsatisfied or feeling pandered to. In Clickhole, you might find a good laugh and some solace, just as I do. And really, it’s all about me.