"One Weird Trick" Blog Post, Magnetic Digital Agency

I worked part-time at Magnetic Digital Agency during the rise and ascendency of sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy (not linked because they annoy me). While I have tremendous respect for the efficacy of their methods (and first-hand experience with how much time can be wasted when you fall for their Jedi Mind Tricks), it frequently seems dishonest.

So, when I was tasked with my occasional blog post, I decided that theirs were the windmills I'd be tilting at that day.


You've probably seen the "9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact" post, which, while the teaser image is a shot of Morpheus and Neo from The Matrix, is all about economic disparity. I've also seen the same post on Buzzfeed with any number of other titles.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't talk about those things. I'm not saying that we can't write compelling headlines about them. I'm not even talking about my own reaction to the politics.

I am saying that if we want to talk about potentially divisive (or potentially boring) subjects, we shouldn't couch them in bland, non-descriptive titles. 9 out of 10 Americans could just as easily be wrong about economics as about whether the Platypus is the only mammal that lays eggs. (It's not; there's also the Echidna.)

While you might initially draw eyeballs to your post, it is dishonest to couch your content in terms that hide what's in store for the reader. And it certainly doesn't draw the eyes of people who are looking for what you have to offer.

Read the full post here. Or rant. Whatever you want to call it.