The most powerful predictor of virality is how much anger an article provokes. I will say it again, the most powerful predictor of what spreads online is anger.
Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
[This is an excellent book. Jaime, my oldest daughter, got this for herself and we just started listening to it this week. Last night was our first chance to talk about it.
In some regards it is depressing and disgusting. It explains why so much of what we see online is click bait with little or no regard for the truth or completeness. On the other hand it explains in detail how much power blogs, even those with relatively small followings, have if they know what they are doing. Holiday explains in detail how he and many others manipulate the blogs and from there the major media. Everyone, except perhaps the end user, along the way gets what they want.
The online world has returned to the day of yellow journalism like it was 100 years ago. The most sensational headlines of those days sold the most papers on the street. It wasn’t until the transition of the subscription model that newspapers became somewhat trusted news sources. The subscription model of blogs and online news have been, at best, struggling and the quality is corresponding poor. Because sensationalism gets page views and page views mean advertising money, sensationalism wins over thoughtful analysis and thorough, accurate presentation of facts.
Getting back to anger. You see this in the gun rights battle. Both sides use anger to motivate their followers and raise money.
Any blogger who is even quasi-serious or anyone who is concerned about principles and truth in the news should read this book. It will not only open your eyes but it also enables those who care more about the ends than the means to better reach their desired ends.—Joe]