Downworthy: The Answer to All Those Stupid Headlines

by Bill Brenner on January 27, 2014

I loathe the link-bait bullshit that’s taken over my Facebook newsfeed. Upworthy. Opposing Views. Even The Huffington Post. They’re all guilty to varying degrees.

Call me a snob, if you will. I was a journalist for 20 years, and I like my headlines straightforward and to the point. All I see these days is shit that goes something like, “Michael asked his mom for a Pepsi. What came next will blow your mind.”

Mood music:

My friend Alison Gianotto, chief technology officer at Noise, hates it too. Instead of merely rolling her eyes as I do, she built a free, highly amusing browser plug-in called Downworthy that’s currently available for Google Chrome. When you add it to your browser, a little icon of poop makes itself at home in your toolbar.

Turn it on and it’ll take all those hyperbolic headlines and replace them with something snarky that people like me consider more realistic. For example, “Be Overused So Much That You’ll Silently Pray for the Sweet Release of Death to Make it Stop” is translated to “Be Overused So Much That You’ll Silently Pray for the Sweet Release of Death to Make It Stop.”

A couple examples of the end result:

winter phenom

glacier lake

When you’re having a hard day and Upworthy throws all that annoying garbage your way, this plug-in will make you feel better.

Life is hard. Some days the challenges threaten to drown us. You certainly can’t blame the publishers of Upworthy for that. It’s simply how life is sometimes.

But if a toy like this can distract us from the darkness, if only for a few minutes, it will help us live to fight the next battle.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kathryn January 28, 2014 at 8:34 am

“Michael asked his mom for a Pepsi. What came next will blow your mind.”

No. No it will not. Because I’m not going to read past your contentless teaser. I hate those headlines and I’m happy to sit in the snob corner with you.

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