The Viscous Circle of Fear

How to write sticky content on the internet

Photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash

You’re stuck at home and wondering how to make money on the internet by ingesting every single blogging guide and course and e-books under the sun while trying to pluck up the courage to publish something.

The fear of your words falling on deaf ears is real and it’s also your future so the sooner you face it, the better. Just ship it even if it stinks, especially if it stinks.

Anything that offends, angers, or scares gets attention and that thing is either the known — celebrities, viruses, or the human Venn diagram of both, Donald Trump — or the unknown, which is anything that is not you including you.

Remember you’re only familiar to you, to a fellow human you’re just another freak show.

If you’re a freak show to yourself as well then you could be in for a wild ride of self-discovery on the internet, something people typing online like to refer to as a journey even though you don’t actually go anywhere. Butts on chairs travel and grow by way of keyboard and athletic fingers.

Prepare for success else it might catch you unawares and you wouldn’t want that, you want to look your best for your close-up, don’t you?

Wrong perspective. Look your worst then uglify it then sell it.

And hope success finds you.

Humiliation and shame are fickle. People love reading about someone else’s trauma and abuse and pain as long as it is packaged in an entertaining, easily consumable way. Hence shockers, sensationalism, and the evergreen journalistic adage “If it bleeds, it leads.”

Abuse may not be entertainment to you but it is to someone else, including certain media outlets where sexual assault is just another commodity. Riling people up is a blood sport and hate reads are a thing and the entire internet sounds like Donald Trump regardless of politics.

Victimhood culture is lucrative.

It’s also duping you into believing words matter when they are no longer used to encourage thinking but to trigger whatever emotions will keep users on a page longest.

Fear and finger-pointing are doing a brisk trade, both form the cornerstone of populism.

And so we become caricatures playing make believe in a digital parody of life because we’ve forgotten how to be real. Instead, we’re reality shows urging followers and fans to stay tuned.

The Trumpification of everything is upon us.

Can we afford to continue to enable it though, as a society? Can we afford to empower people who declare their superpower is being honest and who go to any length to service their greed, including playing the self-aggrandizing victim? Can we afford to drain our brains to enrich the online swamp?

If the above sounds familiar it’s because it is a tried and tested formula and everyone is at it, not just Alex Jones.

You can clickbait Karen your way to riches but thinking out loud in print will be all the poorer for it. When not enough people do it, it becomes fringe, then seditious, then it dies unless we take it upon ourselves to resist the ever-encroaching meaninglessness of words.

And if you’re going to put words out there, they might as well help someone if some way, if only by telling them they’re being played for suckers by marketers, algorithms, and those tech bros who don’t want to change the world because the status quo benefits them hugely.

The choice is between downfall and disruption.

Choose your words wisely, our future depends on it.

I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor now based in the Netherlands. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.

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