Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator

Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator

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by Ryan Holiday
     
 

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You’ve seen it all before. A malicious online rumor costs a company millions. A political sideshow derails the national news cycle and destroys a candidate. Some product or celebrity zooms from total obscurity to viral sensation. What you don’t know is that someone is responsible for all this. Usually, someone like me.

I’m a media manipulator.

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Overview

You’ve seen it all before. A malicious online rumor costs a company millions. A political sideshow derails the national news cycle and destroys a candidate. Some product or celebrity zooms from total obscurity to viral sensation. What you don’t know is that someone is responsible for all this. Usually, someone like me.

I’m a media manipulator. In a world where blogs control and distort the news, my job is to control blogs—as much as any one person can.

 

In today’s culture…
1) Blogs like Gawker, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post drive the media agenda.
2) Bloggers are slaves to money, technology, and deadlines.
3) Manipulators wield these levers to shape everything you read, see and watch—online and off.

Why am I giving away these secrets?  Because I'm tired of a world where blogs take indirect bribes, marketers help write the news, reckless journalists spread lies, and no one is accountable for any of it. I'm pulling back the curtain because I don't want anyone else to get blindsided.

I’m going to explain exactly how the media really works. What you choose to do with this information is up to you.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this revealing volume, Holiday describes the marketing strategies he's learned, developed, and put into practice through his work with such infamous entities as American Apparel (under whose auspices he serves as director of marketing) and the notoriously irreverent Internet-to-print phenom Tucker Max. A self-described "media manipulator," Holiday candidly states that his "job is to lie to the media so they can lie to you." According to him, it's all part of the game. Though he admits to being "no media scholar," Holiday effectively maps the new media landscape, from "small blogs and hyperlocal websites," to "a mix of online and offline sources" and the national press. But his main market is blogs, and given the increasingly interconnected nature of the Digital Age and the rise of blogs as veritable news outlets, his focus is prescient and his schemes compelling. From fabricating stories and marketing them "until the unreal becomes real," to defacing his own billboards to build street-level buzz, Holiday's tactics may not represent the apogee of ethical marketing, but they work—folks love to hate American Apparel's lewd ads, and the vitriolic concoction that Holiday brewed around Tucker Max took his book, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Media students and bloggers would do well to heed Holiday's informative, timely, and provocative advice. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
In his first book, media consultant and American Apparel marketing director Holiday takes on the blogosphere, finding its content to be little more than manufactured and manipulated "conflict, controversy, and crap." "Did Saddam Hussein write book reviews for Kirkus?" Of course he did not, but such a headline, writes the author, would be typical for a "blog," by which he means all online publishing including Twitter, major and obscure websites, Web videos, group blogs with hundreds of writers and whatever else is out there. All blogs face the same pressures and same weaknesses. In a medium of infinite space and endless deadlines, they must publish and publish often--a professional blogger must write several times per day in order to make any money at all. All of this is driven by the need for page views, the number of times someone hits on a website. Page views determine advertiser dollars, which determine the reality presented by blogs. In the search for "traffic by any means," journalistic standards and responsibility often go out the window, replaced by a new strategy: Publish first, and then, perhaps, verify. Headlines must instantly capture the audience's attention, and adding a question mark allows plausible deniability. Truth gives way to sensationalism and innuendo, and blog-fed information devolves into "sensationalism, extremism, sex, scandal, hatred." But if blogs manipulate, they can also be manipulated. Plant a story--true or not--in a small blog, and it could be picked up by a larger blog, then by a large media outlet. Holiday has done this countless times to create a buzz about authors, musicians, clothing apparel, etc. Ultimately, this practice is harmful. Reputations can be destroyed in a few minutes, but more broadly, blogs create a "constructed reality," a world that does not really exist but yet seems true. Holiday has written more than a dyspeptic diatribe, as his precise prose and reference to the scholarship of others add weight to his claims. A sharp and disturbing look into the world of online reality.
Tim Ferriss
"Ryan Holiday is part Machiavelli, part Ogilvy, and all results...this whiz kid is the secret weapon you've never heard of."
From the Publisher
"Holiday is part Machiavelli, part Ogilvy, and all results...this whiz kid is the secret weapon you've never heard of."
—Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek

"Essential reading."
—Andrew Keen

"Ryan Holiday's brilliant expose of the unreality of the Internet should be required reading for every thinker in America."
— Edward Jay Epstein, author of The Big Picture

"The strategies Ryan created to exploit blogs drove sales of millions of my books and made me an internationally known name."
—Tucker Max

"Behind my reputation as marketing genius there is Ryan Holiday, whom I consult often and has done more for my business than just about anyone."
—Dov Charney, CEO and founder, American Apparel

"Holiday has written more than a dyspeptic diatribe, as his precise prose and reference to the scholarship of others add weight to his claims. A sharp and disturbing look into the world of online reality."
—Kirkus Reviews

"His focus is prescient and his schemes compelling. Media students and bloggers would do well to heed Holiday's informative, timely, and provocative advice."
Publishers Weekly

"While the observation that the Internet favors speed over accuracy is hardly new, Holiday lays out how easily it is to twist it toward any end... Trust Me, I'm Lying provides valuable food for thought regarding how we receive — and perceive — information."
New York Post

"This is an astonishing book. Holiday has worked for several years as a self-proclaimed media manipulator, running campaigns for companies such as American Apparel. He is now intent on revealing the tricks that his kind use to influence us. Many of these stories are chilling."
—Gillian Tett, Financial Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591845539
Publisher:
Portfolio Hardcover
Publication date:
07/19/2012
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Holiday is part Machiavelli, part Ogilvy, and all results…this whiz kid is the secret weapon you’ve never heard of.”
—Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek

“Essential reading.”
—Andrew Keen

“Ryan Holiday's brilliant exposé of the unreality of the Internet should be required reading for every thinker in America.”
— Edward Jay Epstein, author of The Big Picture

“The strategies Ryan created to exploit blogs drove sales of millions of my books and made me an internationally known name.”
—Tucker Max

“Behind my reputation as marketing genius there is Ryan Holiday, whom I consult often and has done more for my business than just about anyone.”
—Dov Charney, CEO and founder, American Apparel

“Holiday has written more than a dyspeptic diatribe, as his precise prose and reference to the scholarship of others add weight to his claims. A sharp and disturbing look into the world of online reality.”
Kirkus Reviews

“His focus is prescient and his schemes compelling. Media students and bloggers would do well to heed Holiday’s informative, timely, and provocative advice.”
Publishers Weekly

“While the observation that the Internet favors speed over accuracy is hardly new, Holiday lays out how easily it is to twist it toward any end… Trust Me, I’m Lying provides valuable food for thought regarding how we receive — and perceive — information.”
New York Post

“This is an astonishing book. Holiday has worked for several years as a self-proclaimed media manipulator, running campaigns for companies such as American Apparel. He is now intent on revealing the tricks that his kind use to influence us. Many of these stories are chilling.”
—Gillian Tett, Financial Times

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