Ryan Holiday: Ideas From A “Media Manipulator”
Many consider the internet to be the new world of freedom. Today we live in what is called, an attention economy, where the most scarce resource that communications specialists are after – is people’s time – specifically their attention. Because it is so much going on a spin doctor’s job is to get that attention.
The “attention” is a fundamental need for businesses, authors, corporations, governments, politicians, NGO’s and so on. So, your job in PR is to fight to get the attention of audiences for a specific client. Today more than ever you are fighting for one of the most precious resources, which is the time – time is a non renewable resource and here you have got the challenge. We are witnessing a live process of how the brands are fighting for our attention. The internet is not a person but it operates by following a certain set of rules and incentives.
The blogs are a key tool that are being used to reach the targets of a PR campaign. The term blog is quite wide, and that is why it incorporates outlets like Huffington Post, Mashable, sites that are driven by content business but also youtubers, podcasters and of course, influential Twitter or Facebook accounts. We might consider that the mainstream media like TV, radio or print papers could easily provide fabricated content that the audience could not have the full potential to verify. That is why sometimes views like “the corporate media is fabricated and hard core manipulated” make sense. One would agree that in the end it is not necessarily a bad thing. One argument is that a consumerist society is driven by specific economic patterns and formulas.
Therefore, the Internet was considered the new land of freedom of information where we can exist and thrive, when actually, the internet was sold as democracy which embodied – the freedom of communication – a massive free enterprise that turned out to not be true. Blogs are subject to the same incentives as the media, sometimes even more manipulative and profit driven. The currency of the web is traffic!
How many comments or how many clicks had a post are the metrics that help blogs to sell space for advertising?
Online there is no such idea on how we create content in order to win a specific number of loyal readers. However, now we create content in order to win an “x” amount of loyal readers. But, the question still stands at: how do we create content cheaply that will get as much attention and traffic as possible?
For example, leading online media outlets do not concentrate on quality content but rather on ways to get as much as possible readers and their time and sell it to advertisers. What we get end up with in the end is a very distorted version of the reality. As Ryan Holiday mentioned once: “Question what you read and question the incentives of the body that offers you the content”.
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