What I learned from Ryan Holiday

trust me ryan holiday

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Picked up Ryan Holiday’s Trust Me I’m Lying, Confessions of a Media Manipulator recently. Boy is he good at what he does. This book reads like a howto on free PR & marketing. It also of course serves to protect those who might want to be a bit more informed.

1. Yellow journalism is back

A brief dig into the history of journalism uncovers a festering mess. Before newspapers like NY Times were sold by subscription, most were sold on the street. That meant the echo of a screaming headline had to sell the paper. Sound familiar?

Apparently these yellow papers always had screaming headlines, lots of pictures, “anonymous” sources plus frauds & faked interviews. Anyone seen this before on the interwebs?

Also: When there are conflicts of interest in consulting

2. The medium sets the bar

The nature of the medium sets all the standards, journalistic integrity be damned! Since time is money, the impulse to check facts is damped or in many cases completely absent.

Blogging demands newness. Nothing new, then it must be invented. Take the presidential election campaigns & nobody candidates as prime example.

Also: When you have to take the fall

3. The economics of blogging is horrible

Search engines and readers alike reward newness with their attention. This puts a constant pressure on bloggers to publish even if it’s crap.

”In a pay-per-pageview model, every post is a conflict of interest.” -Ryan Holiday

He quotes Henry Blodget’s formula that writers need to generate 3x their salary in pageview generating ads to break even. Apparently that comes to 1.8m pageviews per month. Wow!

All this drives up the frequency of posts. It also pushes the average length of a post online down to 335 words. Not exactly a medium for thorough analysis.

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