Glad you clicked on the title. Because the theme of this chronicle is precisely this: titles. Perhaps the reader does not know, but the titles are today the reason for endless debates and even fights between specialists in digital communication, editors, reporters and
divas of the daily chronicle columnists. Essential in the so-called “attention economy”, titles are even the target of the regulatory rage that intends to reduce everything to norms and techniques.
Take the title I gave to this chronicle of mine, for example. You may have clicked on it because you thought I was fired or resigned. Or because he expected me to tell some personal tragedy. Or because he wanted to know about my new projects. Or even because he believed that I was going to reveal a great conspiracy in which George Soros demanded my resignation for, I don’t know, mesoclisophobia. Or because I was sure I would report that Alexandre de Moraes decided to arrest me.
If you’ve come this far, however, you’ve already discovered that this is not the case. That I’m going to talk about titles: this element so so so so important for communication that there are people who only get information through them. And that, for this reason, is not uncommon to be ashamed of. Is using ironic, provocative titles that arouse in the reader an un-bearable desire to read a well-intentioned and honest (I guarantee it!) and funny (I try!) text wrong? Are we not using a crooked measure, based on stupid distrust and a never-before-seen crisis of imagination and good humor? And more: using this device to start a conversation with the good reader makes me a dishonest writer?
Let’s listen What do I have to say in my defense? THAT, in the midst of so many interesting news and knowing that the reader’s time is scarce, at first I only have the title to get his attention. THAT, I presuppose that there is already a certain intimacy between me and the reader. THAT this intimacy means a prior knowledge of what the reader can expect to find in a Sunday chronicle of mine. And above all THAT there is no bad faith in the man who tries to attract the public to his little shop that only sells very high quality products.
Ah, but it’s a
clickbait, objects someone, possibly a communicologist who prefers titles like “The (re)definition of conscientious prophylaxis applied to neocommunicational techniques of everyday pseudojournalistic reporting: a study”. The clickbait as a problem or a mistake or even a little trick, I confess, is a concept that escapes my understanding. Perhaps because, as a reader, I have always enjoyed being teased and even a little tricked. I am thinking here of Jorge Luís Borges, whose titles of the best short stories are pure clickbait – in the best sense of the term.
I still think about recent titles that I used in this space and that were accused of being clickbaits. Well, if I used poetic titles like “Xingamentos ao léu” (instead of “I’m not a PT member and I never have been. But this year I’m with Lula”) or “A Epístola” ( instead of “What if Alexandre de Moraes fell off his horse?”), these texts might have failed to reach many people, not to mention the tacky puns, commonplaces and cheap imitations of poetry that are still around. It’s no use: a good title is the one that makes the reader want to read, watch or listen. he could in fact be writing a chronicle with the title “This may be my last chronicle.” In it, he would talk about the unpredictability of life. That thing of being happy and bouncy one day and being watched over by friends the next. that tomorrow I will certainly have the honor of occupying this space once again is illusory. It is a certainty that is maintained on fragile foundations, such as the contract of work and my most recent check-up (all right with the heart old of war!).
Nothing, however, guarantees that George Soros will not call the direction of Gazeta do Povo demanding my head. There’s no guarantee that Alexandre de Moraes didn’t wake up in a bad mood today, forcing me to serve coffee to Federal Police agents because of some crime he’s just invented. Just as nothing guarantees that I didn’t hit the six numbers of Mega Sena.