The Power of Perception and a Clickbait Article

I shouldn’t care about this. I really, really shouldn’t. But here goes:

We’ve all seen hack articles circulate on Facebook. Most of them have clickbait titles such as “20 Things You Learn in Your 20s”, “50 GIFs You Love To Love”, or “62 Ways Your Best Friend is Really An Alien”. They usually have few words, a lot of pictures, and take approximately 20 minutes to write. But they get shared. A lot.

A sub-genre of these hack articles are the geography posts. These articles usually have titles such as “31 Things People From Memphis Understand” or “5 Things People From Postage Stamp Countries Love” or “62 Ways People From Las Vegas are Really Aliens”. They are also usually written by someone who has never visited those areas. But since these articles pay on page views, and they get shared thousands of times, the writer usually makes a few bucks for their 15 minutes of Wikipedia-based geographic research.

Carpetbagger click bait.

Yesterday, a post entitled “33 Words That Mean Something Entirely Different in Florida” was shared amongst my Facebook friends. I’m not linking to it, because that would give it credibility. It was written by a “Kristin Norton”, who writes all of these types of articles, is often wrong, and may not even be a real person.

According to Ms. Norton, number 18 on this illustrious list is “Baseball”. Par for the course, there is a picture of a baseball stadium in Florida. But not the Trop or Marlins Stadium, but Bright House Field in Clearwater. According to,

What it means everywhere else: The joy of hitting up a game or two every summer to see your favorite team play.
What it means in Florida: SPRING TRAINING!

Let me only point out the obvious. In 2014, the Grapefruit League drew 1,452,144 fans, a significant percentage of whom were tourists. In 2009, total out-of-state spring training tourists were estimated at 23%. That would mean 1,118,150 Floridians attended Spring Training if we use the 2009 percentage on 2014 attendance.

The Rays and Marlins drew significantly more than that. Almost 2 million more. There is no feasible way Spring Training is more popular than regular season baseball in Florida. None.

But however, if the amateur writers at think it might be true, then perhaps regular season baseball in Florida isn’t sending the right message. The writers of these posts are the least hardcore fans of anything on the planet. They don’t care about anything they write about. Whatever they find in their 15 minutes of research on Florida, they are going to include in their post.

I can almost guarantee “30 Things Chicago Folks Do For Fun” includes Wrigley Field. So doesn’t have a bias against MLB. And they aren’t trying to annoy Floridians. They want them to share the page. They are not trying to insult Florida baseball fans. They are just under the perception that Spring Training is more popular.

Hopefully, the Rays and Marlins can eventually grow their product recognition to the point where hack writers on clickbait sites like put them on the same level as other MLB teams.

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