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Adam Chapman

LADbible: An Analysis

Internet Content Has Reached An All Time Low 

It might seem a bit rich for a smaller website to be calling out one of the big dogs of social media but hey, I’ve always liked David and Goliath stories. Maybe this is fuelled by some frustration, it’s certainly not jealousy but almost definitely confusion.

Now as someone who writes for the internet there’s always a bit of a juggle and compromise between how you want to write/what you want to write about mixed with what people actually want to read. Supply and demand, breaking the market whatever you want to call it.

In this endeavour, it means I often need to check what’s trending, what’s getting the most clicks, what’s successful, you know what I mean. Now one of the biggest social media channels out there is LADbible. At the time of writing this, they currently have over 32 MILLION Facebook likes and 2.07 MILLION Twitter followers. That’s some insane numbers.

LADbible started in 2012 and as of January 2017 employ over 120 people. I remember following the page during my time at university as word of mouth was spreading. It conjured up images of every coming of age American movie out there. A secret bible passed down from a generation of ‘lads’. I remember it started off as funny pictures, memes I guess before memes became a widely used phrase. They also had cleavage Thursdays I seem to remember where they uploaded pictures of models in some sort of page 3 rip off. Given these have now been deleted from their site as social tends have changed quite dramatically since the early 10nies (is it 10nies? 10s? What decade is this goddamnit!)

Since then it’s fair to say that LADbible has rebranded itself. Their tagline alone claims they’re “Redefining entertainment & news for a social generation” which okay fair play, the world grows through innovation and if there is a gap in the market fill it. Even if there’s not a gap in the market, make a gap and then fill it. Give the people what they didn’t know they want.

Now before I go off on a rant I want to give credit where credit is due. LADbible does bring some news stories to the masses in a colloquial fashion and does create a dialogue that involves people who might otherwise have avoided the subject. Their political standing seems to be rather ambiguous which cannot be said for The Bickering Press and they have a very good output quantity.

This, however, can also be seen as one of their biggest downfalls, in an artistic and creative sense, not a financial one as I’m sure they’re making thousands upon thousands on ad revenue per article. In the strive to create constant output, it seems the river is slowly running dry. Their use of clickbait is unbelievable where they could turn someone saying “Fuck Off” to a barrister into a trending article.

I honestly saw an article the other day that said something along the lines of “Brother’s brutal response to sister’s Snapchat is something to behold” or some other ambiguous clickbaity title. The multiple hundreds of words article was based around the fact a girl had a photo on her Snapchat story of her in a facemask saying “Making me look 10 times better” to which the brother replied “10 x 0 =0” burn, right? standard sibling banter, yet this apparently was worthy of an article that no doubt bought in those sweet clicks. It involved quotes from the sister about how shocked she was about the incident and that’s new in 2018 apparently. If this is the redefinition that they were speaking about for a social generation then somebody needs to take a step back and ask what the fuck is going on.

It’s apparent their fanbase is starting to grow frustrated with this vapid content that doesn’t really influence their life or add any sort of entertainment value. One of the most common comments in relation to their recent articles is something along the lines of “I can’t wait to tell the lads about this in the pub later” oozing with sarcasm. It’s clear to see why. When someone is click baited there’s a feeling of being scammed, I know it’s only time you’ve invested but there’s also a sense that you’ve inadvertently supported such dire content.

Furthermore, there seems to be a sense of trying to rebrand what a ‘LAD’ is. Indeed the video at the top of their Facebook page clearly gives the outline for what being a LAD is. As previously mentioned they started off with banter filled pictures and images of attractive women, that’s LAD stuff, it’s what a lot of guys talk about. It seems that a lot of where you look in the world that elements of traditional masculinity are being attacked. In some cases this is a good thing, gender equality should just be in 2018, that’s obvious, however, drinking beer and talking about tits is how some guys like to bond and you can’t tell me that women don’t have their own “Locker room talk”. It seems that LAD in the traditional sense is now considered a dirty word that LADbible is trying to rebrand.

When you can’t even take pride in being a LAD in the traditional sense without being branded as the cause of all the world’s problems then it’s no surprise to see people digging their heels in and starting to backlash. When something is so brazenly being forced upon you it’s unlikely you’re going to genuinely accept the message. It’s like when you’re a kid and your parents are telling you over and over to eat your greens, it’s good for you, but annoying at the time. People change in their own given time and it’s about finding that balance between helpful constructive criticism and an attack on the person.

That all being said if they upload another article about The Kardashians then I’m unfollowing and I suggest you do the same.

I’ll be honest it seems like LADbible are too big to fail, similarly to VICE (maybe the next target in this series) they can throw out any rubbish and it’ll still bring in clicks and ad revenue, it’ll still pay their bills and add to their numbers to further progress them as a business but from the bottom looking up it’s not out of the realms of possibility to suggest that if they weren’t at the level they are now then there is no way this style of content would even make a drop in the ocean that is online content.