Sunday, June 24, 2018

How to get published and get lots of clicks (warning: satire)

Well, here is an ultimate blogging story, that either Blogtyrant would find amazing.

It’s a  narrative now on a blog belonging to an upstate New York native (pun) named Chris Spies, now on his site “Discordant Years” which seems to invent alternate personas, rather like the characters in my own “Angel’s Brother” manuscript, where the plot is predicated on a 20-year old ethical hacker finding the parallels between a friend’s private manuscripts and a threat to the real world (and the two have to meet in a physical confrontation, I know) -- and you don't know who is real and who is a fantasy.  (Heaven help us if Russia really invades Finland, which starts to happen in my novel.) 

Spies explains how he crafted a short article now on his Wordpress blog, originally titled “Sorry Not Sorry, My Parents Paid for My Coachella Trip”. with a fictitious female persona.  But the piece was originally invented for what he calls a "clickbait factory" (as Chris characterizes it), The Odyssey Online, as Chris explained above (the long story is also on Medium, which has a relatively inexpensive paywall along interaction with other writers). Buzzfeed also ran this postmortem, and called Chris's activity "catfishing", as if to interest filmmaker Nev Shulman. 

There’s a lot of commentary about on “The Odyssey Online” about the whole thing and Internet morality, starting here. (Chris's piece was removed.)  The site has little to do with Homer's poem. 

There were a lot of rules you had to follow to “get published” on this site, as he explains in his long piece. 
What’s worrisome to me is that the current political climate may become ever more hostile to bloggers, like me, who want to stay totally independent, as I’ve explained ad nauseum here before. But the idea of invented personas and viral clicks seems to invite a screenplay and maybe some sort of project at the Sundance workshop.  Chris's narrative sounds like the treatment of a film that an indie distributor like A24 or The Orchard would relish. He should get Final Draft right now. What if Barry Keoghan plays him? 

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