I’m not going to lie to you guys, I hate talking about this shit. Mostly because I know it’s a losing battle.
Tech journalists will always be bad at their job because they’re either too busy being a cheerleader for tech companies, more or less to not burn any bridges in the event they need a job in the future, or they’re true believers in this shit, and you will never be able to convince them to be anything different.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, their bullshit spills over into other people’s bullshit, and what you have then is just a giant clusterfuck of lies that keep getting repeated because no one wants to go, “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Now hold on, wait a minute here …”
Case in point? The other day I was over at Deadspin and the guy said, “with an increasingly Twitterfied public” in the middle of a post. Fuck you dude. Seriously. Only 15% of Americans use Twitter, edging up only two percentage points in two years, and of that 15%, a little less than half don’t actively use the service, and a quater of those who do actively use the service (i.e. login more than once a day) do the bulk of the tweeting.
And let’s not forget, like with Facebook and every other Internet platform, most of the users are International users, not American. So you can’t cite the total number of registered Twitter accounts like it means something. For most of us, it doesn’t.
So no, it’s not an “increasingly Twitterfied public”. The problem is that advertisers, journalists, and the media don’t want to look dated, so they latch on to (what they think) is the latest thing, which is why every fucking show now has a ridiculous hashtag on the screen.
I know it’s not going to happen, but it’d be great if people took a copy of my book and just started smacking some of these idiots around with it … at least figuratively.
Which brings me to the latest piece of bullshit from a tech media outlet …
Over at Ars Technica, this was said about the legal dispute between The Oatmeal and one of those shitty content aggregators no one likes but Cyber Hipsters and tech journalists love to defend, Funny Junk.
“Beyond this well-worn debate, the story serves as a reminder of the importance of community. The idea that “people on the Internet” don’t want to give money to artists has hopefully been consigned to history’s dustbin by now; people love supporting artists, in fact, when they feel a direct connection to them and when the artists don’t appear to be greedy bastards (transparency about where exactly the money goes helps, too; just ask Louis CK)”.
Community is one of those weak, bullshit terms the marketers and other members of the Asshole Based Economy like to throw around. In reality, there is no community. You have, if you’re lucky, a tiny group of people who have only a passing interest in you before you do something to upset them, then they’re gone. They don’t really interact with each other in any sense like a real community would.
You have fans … if you’re lucky. And the truth is most of us don’t have fans and never will. So no, this people on the Internet argument doesn’t go into the dustbin. And if you think it belongs there, you need to promptly remove your head from your ass. Especially if you’re citing Louis C.K., who has started to reach a cult of personality much like George Carlin used to have, as your primary argument for people being able to successfully distribute things to their fans. Fuck you. He’s a celebrity.
People don’t love to support artists. You want to know why The Oatmeal raised as much money as he did for charity? It was because the hive mind of Reddit, Gawker, Boing Boing, and other media outlets covered the story and got behind it. That’s the only reason, it wasn’t because of The Oatmeal‘s audience, otherwise Matthew Inman’s book would have sold several million copies, and it didn’t.
It was the media, not the people. The people have no power. And like I keep saying, unless a celebrity or the media gets behind you, no matter who you are or what you have to offer people, you’re not going anywhere.
And as far as The Oatmeal goes, Matthew is a talented, funny guy, but just don’t go asking him about how his website got so popular because then he won’t talk to you, as I found out.
It’s not much of a success story if people know you came from a highly successful SEO firm first, you know?