This is the first blog post in a series about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, related to Intelligent Design.
There are two main problems all storytellers have:
1. Creating a good story.
2. Getting people to read/watch/listen to that story.
There are tons of places that talk about writing well, so I’m not going to. There are also places that talk about 2 (read: marketing), but most of them are trying to sell you something. I am too, but that’s part of the point.
The big buzz word now is “viral”. How do I get my story/movie/cybernetic sloth to go viral? Derek Thompson, in his book “Hit Makers”, argues that virality is a misnomer. Virality is a flaw in perception. It seems like things spread because we’re hearing about it all over. But, that’s because all those people were affected by the same source. It’s not a million people praising it; it’s a major broadcaster promoting to millions who then praise it. People share what they love as a form of self-expression and they love what they think other people love because there’s safety in the group. Broadcasters work as gatekeepers to what’s cool.
Tim Wu, in his book “The Attention Merchants” argues that the means of broadcasting may change, from ABC and The Guardian to Kim Kardashian and Teen Vogue. And we call them influencers now. The name has changed but the function is the same. The great question then becomes, how does a maker get the influencers’ attention.
Ryan Holiday, in his book “Trust Me, I’m Lying”, revealed the solution. You have to make news. Holiday did it by being controversial in public. That works to a point, but has some serious long-term consequences (the degeneration of society/the rise of Trump). It’s also a gap that’s largely been monetized in a dangerous solution called “native adversiting.”
Another way, a much healthier way available to writers is spoken about at length in Matt Wallace’s and Mur Lafferty’s podcast Ditch Diggers, more specifically, the episode with Cassandra Khaw. Khaw tweeted about how to do this effectively.
The hack is this, find a media company with an audience who will enjoy your cybernetic sloth, and write an article for them, unrelated or very indirectly related to your sloth. In your bio, there will be a link to your super-sloth.
This means you have to know your audience. It also means you have to know how to reach them. To do this, you have to be able to write well, in a voice conducive with your target media company. The language of The Village Voice will be very different from The Wall Street Journal or Foreign Policy.
BTW, my bio is, “I’m a philosopher and a filmmaker. My current project is www.SciFiandSpies.com