It wasn’t too long ago that I came across a great book about blogging. Here I found some of the most interesting ideas for the first time. Not only did this book cover how to create a successful blog, it also talked about media and media manipulation in its entirety. My intention was to read a book on how to become a better blogger. I thought maybe I could pick up some tips, tricks, and or other guidelines that would create more interesting content. What I came across was much more than that.
The book started off not so innocently. The title is even intriguing, giving a beguiling call to a darker side of “journalism”. “Trust me, I’m lying…Confessions of a Media Manipulator” is a great book, and it will help you if you are trying to a write a blog that pulls in tons of traffic. The techniques outlined however, create a challenge and brings light to a vicious cycle that ebbs more to accumulation of quantity over quality postings.
Basically, anything that’s salacious, outrageous, highlights injustice, is celebrity gossip, or outright lies are the things which bring the most traffic to your blog. The writer is in essence creating click-bait, false stories, or shocking material in order to grab your attention. Do with this information what you wish but once you begin the process and are good at it in any way – you will be expected and called upon to do it consistently. Bringing down politicians, breaking stories without all the facts, omitting witnesses accounts, or research on a particular drug might get you views – but can destroy people in the process. The pen is mightier than the sword, it always has been. In this generational era of the internet – creating the news is just one way of how that power can be misused and abused.
“More than twenty-five years ago, in Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman argued that the needs of television, then our culture’s chief mode of communicating ideas, had come to determine the very culture it was supposed to represent. The particular way that television stages the world, he wrote, becomes the model for how the world itself is to be staged.”
The author, in this excerpt, begins to explain how our television, all of it, including the news – is framed as entertainment for us. T.V. created a fake world, we watched and consumed the fake world and perpetuated it. “The dominant culture medium, determines culture itself”. Now that our dominant culture medium is the internet, youtube, blogs, and twitter – we have those devices creating our culture.
When bloggers lie, distort, and attack because it’s in their interest to do so – we lose something. When we are bombarded with what is unreal, when we are surrounded by illusions, we then lash out at our fellow man for his very humanness, congratulate ourselves as a cover for apathy, and confuse advertising with art. Thusly, reality, our lives, knowing what’s important, and information itself become the casualties of our culture.
When intelligent people read, they ask themselves a simple question: What do I plan to do with this information? When the blogs you read, images you “like”, videos you view lack substance or quality – the answer becomes nothing. You simply cannot do anything with it. There may not be much practical purpose for what we consume on the internet through blogs, twitter, instagram and youtube besides distraction. When readers decide to start demanding quality over quantity, the economics of the internet will change. Manipulation and marketing will become much more difficult. Overall, I would recommend reading the book Trust Me I’m lying.