We’re a country governed by public opinion, and public opinion is largely governed by the press, so isn’t it critical to understand what governs the press?
Each blog is its own mini-Ponzi scheme, for which traffic growth is more important than solid financials, brand recognition more important than trust, and scale more important than business sense. Blogs are built so someone else will want it—one stupid buyer cashing out the previous ones—and millions of dollars are exchanged for essentially worthless assets.
If I was tasked with building someone’s reputation as an “industry expert,” it would take nothing but a few fake e-mail addresses and speedy responses to the right bloggers to manufacture the impression. I’d start with using HARO to get quoted on a blog that didn’t care much about credentials, then use that piece as a marker of authority to justify inclusion in a more reputable publication. It wouldn’t take long to be a “nationally recognized expert who has been featured in _____, _____, and _____.” The only problem is that it wouldn’t be real.
The most powerful predictor of what spreads online is anger.