My [A Journalism Student’s] Reaction To Ryan Holiday’s ‘Trust Me, I’m Lying’

While it may not be customary to give opinion in news articles or to write a personal response on a news platform, this is a blog. A 21st century blog, which allows the blogger to write about any topic that fits the overall idea of the blog.

This is my blog, where I share mostly “news about the news,” but also where I can give my input on these news topics, as well as anything else I stumble upon. One major topic that has crossed my path, is the book “Trust Me, I’m Lying” by Ryan Holiday. I mentioned this book in passing in my article about news outlets picking up Screen Rant’s April Fools’ Day article, but I feel it is necessary to be talked about a bit more.

This tell-all book by a college drop-out who went on to become a self-professed “media manipulator” is intriguing and educational. The amount of hyphenated words in that last sentences means it MUST be true. While the book itself is about 100 pages longer than it should be, the actual content is organized well and discussed with many examples.

What exactly is this book about? The media industry as a whole, of course. But to be a bit more specific, it is about how easy bloggers can be manipulated, how often they are manipulated and manipulate others and why it is important to know of this manipulation. If you can’t already tell, manipulation is the recurring theme in this step-by-step guide to taking over the blogging world with a few simple tactics.

Holiday discusses his strategies for marketing American Apparel clothing for no, or minimal, cost to the company by sending fake emails to blogs with “banned” company advertisements. He tells of his extravagant ploys to get his client Tucker Max to the top of the bestseller’s list and to the top of the box office.

While his tactics are unconventional and incredibly deceitful, they get the job done in getting web space from news sites looking for an easy story, from bloggers not looking to verify information and from media outlets simply copying and pasting the fake tips that Holiday or one of his aliases sent in.

The book drags on-and-on about a topic that could’ve, and was, summed up in about two chapters, but it’s still a good read for anyone in, or looking to get into, the media industry. It’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into, and to possibly pick-up a few tricks along the way. But use them responsibly, of course.

Do you think it was smart or necessary for Holiday to write this kind of book? Is the media industry truly as gullible or as easily manipulated as Holiday makes it out to be? What’s the worst case of unverified information that you’ve seen? Let me know in the comments below!

Twitter: @TheRachaelE

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