Around a month ago a job opening was posted by Nvidia on LinkedIn and has been recently removed, which has been making headlines on various tech sites over the last few days. The job opening itself is nothing hugely interesting, a senior marketing manager with a focus on gamer loyalty and advocacy. What was interesting and has been used to spawn headlines on tech sites across the internet is the briefest mention of the GTX 1080Ti, a card many have been expecting Nvidia to announce for a while. But the mention of the Ti isn’t why I’m writing this post, the reason I’m writing it is to address something that I was initially willing to let slide, but after the last few hours of seeing this spread like wildfire via clickbait headlines I can’t just sit idly by on it anymore.
Headlines get clicks
The way we consume news and content has evolved over the years, from town criers, to newspapers, radio, television and now to the internet. Never before have we as a species had such unfettered access to information at the merest touch of a button or tap of a screen.In addition to this ease of access to information, the rise and sheer pervasiveness of social media means that information can also spread like wildfire as social media users share posts, post links and updates or comment on posts made by others which then makes the original post visible to the commentators contacts. This rise in social sharing platforms has also changed the way we interact with news sources, since often see our peers as being people we can generally trust, many will often take the approach that things they see friends and family posting to be reasonably accurate and correct regardless of if this is the case or not. Combine this with the fact that as a few studies have discovered, many people seeing shared news don’t actually click the link and simply skim the headline and well, this starts to become a problem when viewed in the light of sites sharing deliberately misleading headlines, which are only clarified in the article, an article as we already know thanks to the previously mentioned research many who see the headline will never read.
A lot of links to various tech sites that are reporting on this have been shared, with headlines such as ‘Nvidia officially reveals their GTX1080Ti’ with articles that are essentially copy pastes of other articles on other sites, not only is this clickbait, but its lazy journalism and you, dear reader, deserve better. Sites like WCCFTech, OC3D and others are using factually incorrect headlines making it appear that this is an official announcement from Nvidia, when its nothing of the sort. Granted, when you actually read the articles, its apparent that indeed the writers of the articles are more than aware of this fact and repeatedly state as much, but at this stage the damage has been done. The idea of it being an official announcement has been put out there to the wider public and many who simply ingest news from the headlines rather than from clicking through and reading the article are now left believing this fact. At most, the LInkedIn post is the first official acknowledgement that the card exists, but an announcement of the card it is not. The source is certainly legitimate, insofar as its for a job at Nvidia, though its likely a recruitment consultant posted this or an internal recruitment manager that focuses on using sites like LinkedIn to reach potential candidates.
A long standing issue
Of course this is nothing new, clickbait headlines have existed for a reasonably long amount of time at this stage, but their existing doesn’t mean we should accept them or even tolerate their existence. While their are some genuine journalists working for tech sites, the vast majority of us are bloggers or hobbyists who decided to focus on tech or write about the thing that fascinates us. Despite this we still report on events in the industry as news and are still often regarded as being members of the press in some shape or form both by some of our readership and also by the various companies we write about, as such we should be held to the same standards that journalists are held to and be more accountable to our readership for inaccuracies in our information be it caused by oversight on our part or a deliberate attempt to generate traffic or link shares to our sites so we may profit from having people visit us. Unfortunately, in a world where phrases like ‘post truth politics’ are seeing use to describe the impact of bloggers and ‘fake news’ sites online to get a message out regardless of its veracity its more vital than ever that as writers we try to ensure accuracy in all things. Sadly since many sites survive on clicks this will likely not change in the near future since clickbait headlines will almost certainly guarantee an increase in eyeballs on the sites links and hopefully (for the site owners) clicks through to the article itself in order to generate revenue.
While no one is perfect and we cannot get things right all the time, we here at TechAltar feel we are above such antics and will endevour to always be as factually correct and accurate as is possible, both in our reviews, news content, articles and most importantly of all, our headlines. It may not get us the same level of hits as our competition, but we are OK with that, since we feel we owe it to our readership to maintain a certain level of integrity in our writing and to avoid using clickbait tactics to lure in readers under false pretenses.
As for the rest of the industry, their has been much talk of late by companies like Google and Facebook of algorithms designed to limit how much clickbait is seen by the public in an effort to both suppress the kind of behavior that many sites have taken to over the years as well as ensure that what news the public do consume is reasonably accurate in its content, of course the real challenge is how this will be policed and how well the system will work, only time can tell on this, but there are already reports of smaller parody sites being impacted by changes Facebook has made to how it presents posts by sites to its user base, in this case its unfortunate that the tools have worked against a site that whose existence is to lampoon the very sites that are the guilty of the thing these algorithms are trying to stop, but of course it is evidence that the tools are in place and having an impact at least.
About that 1080Ti
Well, as mentioned Nvidia made a mention of its existence in a job posting on LinkedIn, what i find more interesting is some of the other things mentioned surrounding it, such as an early upgrade option for owners of the 980Ti and what looks like an increased focus on rewarding gamers for choosing Nvidia products. Of course until Nvidia themselves have a statement on any of these things they will simply remain interesting titbits of information that suggest that Nvidia at least acknowledge that the 1080Ti is looking to likely be a thing that users may be able to purchase at some point in the future with potential preferential treatment for 980Ti owners, anything beyond this is of course mere conjecture at best.
Of course as ever, we here at Tech Altar will report on the facts of the matter as they become available and indeed we have already reached out to Nvidia to see if we can find out more information regarding the mention of the GTX1080Ti and its implications.