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December 2nd, 2013

7 Things I’ve Learned From Tuthmosis’ Viral Article

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I’ve already shared some of my thoughts about Tuthmosis’ article both here on ROK and on my personal blog, but I wanted to offer some additional observations.

1. There are millions of people in the Western world who have identical beliefs

It’s amazing how hundreds of hate comments coming our way seemed to be written by the same person. Even phrases were the same, such as  ”I don’t believe this exists” and “Wow, really?” It’s almost as if a good percentage of the population have been brainwashed to believe in the same thing even though they come from completely different backgrounds, even countries.

2. Rage is a monetizable commodity

While I do a crappy job at monetizing this blog, I fully understand how playing with people’s emotions is a great way to grab attention, something that advertisers greatly covet. Large media outlets comprehend this strategy and use it to make money. The only snag is that you can’t duplicate rage incidents. Your viral machine has to be constantly innovating to find emotional buttons that have not yet been pressed.

3. Petitions don’t work, but they serve as a useful coping mechanism for the aggrieved

Over 12,000 people signed a petition against ROK over at Change.org, with dozens of tweets sent by people who implored their followers to sign. If you’re reading this now, the petitions have all utterly failed. If you estimate that it takes 20 seconds to sign a petition, 66 hours of human life were completely wasted on them, yet those who signed really believed that they were making a difference (one petitioner was glowingly interviewed by a Rhode Island newspaper). In other words, petitions are a release valve to make the powerless feel like they have power, which is why the White House allows them. It’s better they waste their time signing a meaningless petition than actually taking action that could cause real harm to the state.

4. Virality and intellectualism are mutually exclusive

I had the misfortune to go through over 200 hate emails sent to ROK. More than 90% of them were rife with bad spelling, poor grammar, and incomprehensible sentence structure. I can count on my hands the number of emails that I believe were written by a self-aware individual who could clearly communicate their thoughts. If you want to write viral articles, you will not fail if you assume your target audience is dumb as rocks. In fact, the web site Buzzfeed actually has created a profitable business out of feeding content to stupid people in the form of animated gifs and child-like copy, becoming the internet’s preeminent picture book. I feel that I should have to apologize to regular readers when the sheep herd come and defecate over the comments section after one of our articles go viral.

5. Women are not used to being judged… at all

And because of that, they simply don’t have the tools to handle anything they don’t agree with. They’re even complimented when they make mistakes or show an abject lack of character. I think the adult female brain is capable of higher order thinking, but it’s hard to see it in the childish emotional reactions of women claiming they cried because they read an article of ours that they didn’t like. If they cry at an internet article, how are they going to cope with life? The answer: they’re not. Society is failing women by not preparing them for having their beliefs or life choices challenged in any way.

6. Lists are here to stay

Personally, I’m able to write in a way that doesn’t use lists, but with attention spans becoming as short as they are, I have to accept that it’s the most effective way to give articles a chance of at least being skimmed. People have so many media options today that webmasters need to adopt the list format solely to compete.

7. Bandwidth is dirt cheap… until it’s not

I ran web sites back in the day when a gigabyte of bandwidth was $10. Now it’s $0.12. That’s not much until you’re serving close to 1000 gb a day because half a million people want to read your articles. Since we charge a set price for our monthly sponsorship, a viral episode ends up costing us additional money (an extra $500 for November). If you like our articles, please consider helping out with a donation, no matter how small. Click here to make a donation. Thank you for the support.


About the Author

created ROK in October 2012. You can visit his blog at RooshV.com or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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