Two friends of mine almost simultaneously recommended the new book Trust me, I'm Lying by Ryan Holiday to me, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. It turns out that the book focuses on the modern media and journalism landscape and how it can be effortlessly manipulated by individuals and companies to put out fake news or further their interests. The author is a very well-connected journalist and social media expert who has worked in marketing at a number of companies, including American Apparel, and he has written his book to confess his own media manipulation "sins" to expose the broken system to the world and cry for change.
I had heard about how various news aggregators and blogs can be manipulated, and how there is a lot of spam out there that aims to manipulate various advertising markets (for arbitrage), mostly through SEO techniques. But I always thought that the "credible" news sources were still more or less trustworthy; this book totally debunks that idea.
I enjoyed the tidbits of journalism history thrown in, as well as all the quotes from other authors and journalists. I felt like the book rambled a bit with SO many examples of blatant manipulation, but that did serve its purpose, I guess.
The biggest surprise for me was how easily fake news and fake controversy can be implanted in a blog, then "traded up the chain" to larger blogs and then eventually the national news sources, and then have such devastating effects on REAL LIFE that the fake becomes real. That's definitely scary.
This is obviously one author's viewpoint. I'm curious to hear what others have to say (and I'm scared for the author's life...).
Book 1: feeding the monster: how blogs work
Ch 2 how to turn nothing into something in 3 steps
Ch 3 the blog con: how media companies make money online
Ch 4 tactic 1: bloggers are poor, help bloggers pay their bills
Ch 5 tactic 2; tell them what they want to hear
Ch 6 tactic 3: give them what spreads, not what's good
Ch 7 tactic 4; help them trick their readers
Ch 8 tactic 5: sell them something they can sell, one off effect
Ch 9 tactic 6: make it all about the headline
Ch 10 tactic 7 kill them with page view kindness
Ch 11 tactic 8 use the tech against itself
Ch 12 tactic 9 just make stuff up
Book 2 the monster attacks: what blogs mean
Ch 13 toxic blood
Ch 14 manipulator hall of fame
Ch 15 cupid evil: online tactics that drug u and me
Ch 16 link economy, delusion of sourcing
Ch 17 extortion via the web
Ch 18 online journalism bogus philosophy
Ch 19 myth of corrections
Ch 20 cheering on our own deception
Ch 21 dark side of snark
Ch 22 21st century degradation ceremony
Ch 23 welcome to unreality
Ch 24 how to read a blog
This book definitely crushed it.
Gary's story and recommendations in Crush It!: Why NOW is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion are extremely fun and informative. Also, I can truly say that for this book, the audio version was quite an enhancement because it's read by Gary himself (who has quite a quirky, fun personality), and he routinely goes off the script to elaborate, inject more personal stories, and update the text since the manuscript was published. That was a real value-add in the audiobook.
The book goes through Gary's background, how he set up his business, how he learned about social media marketing, and contains specific recommendations on how to get started and specifically what to do to make money pursuing your passion using social media. Below are my main takeaways and notes.
Ch. 1: Passion is Everything