Saturday, February 15, 2020


"What became crystal clear to me, as I watched the traffic around these things develop, is how many more clicks I could farm if I wanted to. I’m an entrepreneurial sort of guy. I own a business. I believe in market freedom. Thankfully I’m not some poor sap trying to make a living on Medium. If I really wanted traffic, the formula would not be to do what I was doing, which was building a case for a specific solution to solve a clearly identified problem. The formula would be to identify the highest traffic topic on Facebook, and feed those people what they want to hear.

I would craft articles in two forms.

1) “All the people you’re arguing with are stupid and here’s why”

2) “Share this article to prove how virtuous your side is, or alternately how much more virtuous you are than your friends because you found the article first”

These are the two most common forms of culture war weaponry in employ today, by people on all sides. One is the attack, which undermines someone else’s virtue, and the other is the defense, where you buttress your tower of virtue against attack. They take these forms because virtue is the fundamental quality of a culture. This stuff gets liked and shared far more than anything else."
This isn't something that's just done by Vox or Breitbart, by SJW snowflakes or fascist Trumpanzees...  All the commercial news & opinion sites do it, with varying amounts of intentionality.

It's necessary if having clicks, and therefore ad revenue, is important to the site owner. The perfect article or column would piss off half the people who read it and leave the other half feeling smugly justified; then it would be shared by everybody, either to rebut it or to cheer along and signal to one's teammates how right y'all are. The way to get the eyeballs is to be an arms dealer in the kulturkampf.

And it's toxic as all getout. The end result of the scenario is ugly.