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Category : Writing

Writing

A Bulletproof Guide for Dealing with Haters, Trolls, and Critics like a Pro

Haters, Trolls, and Critics

Photo by Mads Severinsen on Unsplash


Seeing your name in a headline with 10,000 likes is enough to make a grown man like me cry. Not going to lie.

It hurts like hell.

I’m uniquely positioned to educate you about online hate. I’ve had plenty of mud thrown at me over the last 7 years because I chose to write online and rack up more than 500 million views (not to brag). Writing online even forced certain critics to threaten my job and ability to provide for my family.

One time things got so bad I had a group of trolls on Linkedin chase me all over the internet. They found a way to make money from what they called “online takedowns.”

You could pay them to destroy the reputation of anybody you wanted. They were successful … well, until all the big platforms banned them for life.

As dumb as it is to admit, I’ve also been a dangerous hater. I spent years hurling abuse at strangers on the internet so I could make myself feel better about my (then) failed life.

You’re about to read what I’ve learned, combined with a database of advice I’ve been collecting for years. After you read this article, online hate will never mess up your life or stop you from doing anything online ever again. Let’s go.


Why “haters gonna hate”

They see your opinion as a personal attack

It’s normal for us to have differences of opinion. Haters take this reality as an act of war. They want us all to agree with them, or they’ll take you down. It’s an immature way to live life online.

They hate themselves

Stop worrying about being liked by people who don’t even like themselves — Lawrence King

Life can cause us to take an emotional beating. Online hate is a release valve for many people. They don’t like who they’ve become and being a troll is easier than dealing with their own problems. To them, it’s the world’s fault and life is unfair. So you must suffer online abuse.

I’ve never met a happy person who gets mad online — @SaveYourSons

They seek revenge

Revenge destroys you if you indulge. Haters get upset when you succeed or do something they have dreamt of doing. Their game plan is to get revenge at the cost of your reputation. Don’t join the game and expect revenge for the pain their harsh comments cause you.

Karma settles all scores.

Confucius once said, “When you set out on a journey of revenge, first dig two graves.”

Hating can make you a lot of money

Online hate is a highly profitable business model that can make you stupidly rich. Knock anything popular. Say the opposite of what most of us think just to piss people off.

When you follow this formula you’re not clever. You’re gaslighting innocent people’s lives for money. It’s a nasty form of clickbait. It’s a bait-and-stab-you-in-the-face form of content.

I know a few 6-figure haters.

They do well in the short term. As I watch their progress over the long term, they burn out. People eventually figure out the way they make their money. It’s not much different to selling illegal drugs or being a member of the mob.

Live fast, kill your career early.

The hate model is nothing new. CNN figured out that headlines that cause us to hate one another and send us into a rage can make tonnes of money. They’ve been making money this way for years.

Put “America is doomed” in a headline and you’ll get clicks. The devastating effects on people’s mental health are what is hard to see. If you can sleep at night with this guilt then good for you. I can’t.

Haters are not always easy to spot

When I look back at people I’ve organized with & later grew to distrust, there are some common themes, but I am telling you, one of them is a consistently mean sense of humor.

Their jokes were always about making someone look or feel foolish. I consider this a major red flag now. — @MsKellyMHayes

Satire content is a huge red flag.

If I see people taking the piss out of everyone and everything, my spidey-sense kicks in. Dark humor is often deep pain in disguise. It’s designed as a hidden form of attention-seeking.

Not every hater is easy to spot. Some pose as friends. They slide into your DMs and sound innocent. I’ve had a few people I deemed friends turn into vicious, out-of-control, haters.

My motto is this:

When the views and money go down on a social media platform, nice people can turn into crazies. It’s a reminder that serves me well.

Because anybody can go from sane to insane on the internet, be careful what you put in DMs and emails.

Don’t talk behind people’s backs. You can find all your private thoughts shared online by a newly minted troll if you’re not careful.


You can literally kill people with hateful content

Author and podcaster Tim Ferris recently shared a story that left me speechless. Early in his career he got close to a fan. He implemented everything Tim wrote about. It made Tim feel good.

One day he got a message from the fan’s assistant. It turned out the fan had taken their own life. The fan claimed Tim’s work made him do it.

It may feel good to be a hater, but what you say and do online can have adverse effects on people. Thankfully, I’ve had the opposite happen. A few readers over the years have said my more inspiring pieces of work have helped them get out of a dark place and reframe from taking their lives.

Before you say or do anything hateful online, remember that it can kill people. You don’t want that blood on your hands. Be nice.


Here’s why you should ignore haters

You’ll always stay small if you don’t ignore them

Eventually my desire to have impact overtook my desire to stay small, safe, comfortable, and free of judgment. — Marie Poulin

My life would suck if I never embraced the hate. I’d still be sitting in a dark corner, ruined by mental illness, deathly afraid to speak up about what matters to me.

If you let the haters win you stay small. That will lead to regrets on the day you die.

Most of them have never taken a risk

When setting out on a journey, do not seek advice from those who have never left home — Rumi

Don’t let the comments of haters trap you. They’ve never done the thing you’re trying to do.

They prefer to sit on the sidelines than get in the game and take risks themselves. Instead, seek advice from people who have achieved your highly personal goals.

Hating is an excuse

“I hate Elon Musk.”

“Grant Cardone is a scam.”

“Gary Vee is annoying AF.”

Hating on something is just your brain’s way of justifying why you aren’t willing to work for it  — @finance_hipster

We hate online what we can’t be bothered to do the doing. I hate the cold shower fan club all the time because the one time I tried it I failed. Now it’s simply easier to make fun of this navy seal habit.

It’s easy to throw dirt at a celebrity or anybody who has achieved enormous success. It doesn’t move the world forward though. No matter what you’re successful in, you have to give up something to get there (many give up family time).

So there is no true online success. Just a bunch of difficult trade-offs.

Alexander Cortes explains why you should stay away from accidentally using this approach. “Attacking someone else for clout is a great way to build a bad reputation The people that follow you for this are jackals. They’ll eat you too eventually.”

Haters persuade nobody

Have you ever noticed that the most argumentative people rarely persuade anyone of anything?

The most persuasive people don’t argue more — they observe, listen, and ask questions. Persuasion is an art that requires a paintbrush, not a sledgehammer. — Sahil Bloom

Haters often think their opinions create change. They don’t. Action creates change and a nasty comment is a million miles away from that.

Don’t be fearful that a hater is persuading strangers on the internet to dislike you. They’re not.

Most people can see an angry devil spewing vomit all over everybody. The average person just ignores a hater. The hater thinks we’re listening. The truth is we’ve tuned out.

Toxic gossip dies

Gossip dies as soon as it hits people who mind their own f*cking business — Pammy_DS

A common form of online hate is gossip.

Gossip has zero citations or links to sources. Gossip makes assumptions and tries to misinterpret situations. I had one guy on social media that used to leave the comment “that didn’t happen” on every one of my posts.

I had another hater leave a comment on a post I wrote about two legendary lesbian employees that used to work for me, and made my male counterparts look silly. He said “tag the lesbians or they don’t exist.” People spammed his comment with “some people want privacy, you know.”

Gossip without facts gets ignored. Don’t stress. Your true fans will set the score straight. You don’t need to do a thing.

Haters secretly want to look good

There are a lot of people who just like to virtue signal against the idea of making money — Naval Ravikant

To discredit making money online is the easiest form of virtue signaling. Haters seek to pit us against each other to gain financial wealth. It’s stupid. We’re all entitled to make money from the internet and feed our family if we choose.

The reason why haters virtue signal is to build up their own character. Humans love to look and feel smart. Virtue signaling is how they do it.

They can’t hold two opposing ideas in their head

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function — F. Scott Fitzgerald

The fact you have a different opinion pisses them off. They can’t see a world where an idea is both right and wrong. Take coroni-macaroni in 2020.

On the one hand, lockdowns helped solve the spread of the disease. On the other hand, lockdowns limited our quality of life and violated basic freedoms. I learned to hold both opposing ideas in my tiny brain.

The point isn’t to be right or wrong. It’s to think deeply about ideas and their impacts from both sides.

The dirty little secret of haters

What I learned over the past years is that haters mostly hate because they’d like to have what you have — Sinem Gunel

Haters secretly want what you have. They’ll never admit it though. Why be thrown off your game by a person who is jealous and wants the life you have?

No one has time to hate you as much as you think

In my 20’s, I worried about what people were thinking about me.

In my 30’s, I stopped caring what people were thinking about me.

In my 40’s, I realized no one was really thinking about me very much.” — @adwane

Let them hate you. They’ll move on soon enough. Your life isn’t that exciting. They’ll get bored if you don’t respond or ignore them. This is why haters do what they do according to author Ryan Holiday.

Hurt people hurt people.


How to combat haters

Become a loser of arguments

Useful advice: Let other people win arguments on purpose — Art of Purpose

The way you defeat haters is to let them think they’ve won. If there’s nothing to argue about then there’s no reason to waste any more time. Great.

Lead with optimism

Cynicism destroys. Optimism creates. — Lex Fridman

Choose to see the world slightly better than it is.

Don’t give in to the hate. Remember that most of our worst fears never come true. And when sh*t hits the fan, rather than throw a tantrum, remember this: never discount human ingenuity. Humans can survive the most brutal events that the haters say will destroy us.

People remember positivity and quickly forget negativity (as it gets exhausting).

Ask yourself, “what have they built?”

Most people who criticize startups and founders have never built anything themselves — Sahil Patel

Don’t take advice from haters who seek to destroy. Take advice from people who create. What have they done in their life? Are they qualified to hate you? Or is hate a way to get lifeless likes?

Do you respect them?

I can’t be offended by someone I don’t respect — Arlan

Take advice from people you respect seriously. Most advice is bad advice — especially the advice from an out of control bully looking to feast on your energy reserves and suck the life out of you.

Keep being yourself

No one watches you harder than haters — give them a good show — Pammy_DS

If you stop doing what you do then haters win.

You win when you keep going. Eventually when you win enough times they’ll move on and find an easier target who will let their hate affect them. That’s not you. Shine bright. SalesNotepad on Twitter says, “Note to self: Your anger is their victory.”

Show no anger, lose no fake online battle.

Be kind to your former self

I used to be a 4 am, green smoothie a-hole. Haters can easily pull up things you said years ago to make you look bad. It’s easy to think, “crap, I did say that” and become upset. Don’t.

Your opinion changes over time. Don’t hate your self from a year ago. You’re a different person now and it’s normal. See the growth, not your limiting past thoughts that have changed.


A transformative way to think of haters

Up until this point I’ve been brutal towards haters. It’s time to shift gears.

A hater shouldn’t become an enemy

Just because you lost me as a friend, doesn’t mean you gained me as an enemy. I’m bigger then that, I still wanna see you eat, just not at my table.

— Tupac Shakur

What a beautiful way to look at the world from one of the most violent men in rap music history.

Nobody should want to see another human die, or starve, or get left homeless. Not everybody is part of your tribe. That’s okay. Wish them well and move on.

Show haters compassion

They probably can’t see the error in their ways. They’re trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts that have led to this point.

My firm belief is always leave the door open for forgiveness. Your past haters can change. Let them. If they do then show mercy. Don’t take grudges to the grave and become a bitter, twisted a-hole.

Biggest lesson in life: don’t ever think it can’t happen to you — Aaron Will

Haters show you parts of yourself

If you hate a person, you hate something in them that is part of yourself — Hermann Hesse

The truth is part of what haters say can help you to understand your own flaws. I’ve used feedback from haters to question my own privilege.

The human condition from person to person isn’t that different. Maybe what haters point out could lead to a growth opportunity for you. Maybe feedback can hep identify your blind spots, even if the feedback isn’t accurate.

Haters can unleash untapped potential

I purposely follow people with whom I disagree. This is how people grow — @SteveOnSpeed

Over the years I’ve followed people who hold the opposite views to me about money, crypto, politics, and the global health crisis. Some of the views have taught me valuable lessons. They’ve even helped harden my investing conviction with assets like ethereum and bitcoin.

There is hidden growth inside of madness.

The problem might be you

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves — Carl Jung

When I find myself criticizing others it helps point out my irritations.

I get irritated with critics of the making money online movement when my business has a bad month. I get irritated by critics when I’ve gone through a tragedy (like last week).

Use critics as a mirror to find irritations and learn about your current state.

Final Thought

If you want to do anything big with your life, make money online or have any form of online success, you’ll have to get good at dealing with haters, trolls and critics.

What I’ve learned after 7 years is to take all of the online noise lightly. We’re all doing the best we can. You’re not perfect. You’ll say and do dumb stuff. Just forgive and move on. Or don’t read the feedback for a while until you heal.


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Writing

Time Brutally Reveals the Truth About Content Creators

Content Creators

Photo by Ubiq on Unsplash


Content creators have created a complaints epidemic.

It’s showing up all over the internet. Squirrels are coming out of their dirt holes to watch the fireworks. Some people are adding to the festivities.

I’m not.

Time separates the content creators we remember, from the wannabes we’ll forget in a day. Or the ones that may wind up on News-Break-Your-Dreams.

Time discovers truth — Seneca

All the evidence of the algorithm apocalypse showing up on platforms like LinkedIn is an illusion. All you have to do is look at two factors:

  1. When was the content creator’s account created?
  2. How often do they publish content?

Those damning pieces of evidence tell us the truth. You know what the truth is? They’re impatient. They’re expecting to have a one-hit-wonder.

Worse, they’re desperate for attention. That’s what I hate about the content creator industry. It can quickly become a beauty pageant for attention. We can accidentally do dumb stuff to get ‘likes.’ In case you think I’m innocent, I’m not. I’ve been stupid, too, at times.

Whatever your motive is to be a content creator, time will determine whether you get what you want. Or end up in a Facebook Group full of broken dreams and negativity that will ruin your online career.

The weak hands quit. The strong hands create.

It’s harsh, I know. I’m not trying to be mean, but it’s the truth.

Quitting just means the content creator world isn’t for you. That’s okay. Nothing wrong with that. It’s better for time to reveal a goal as fake than for your time to get wasted on a journey not meant for you.

The creator economy is brutal. It’s easy to become lost or get sucked into the echo chamber of noise about nothing.

The best example of a content creator I can give you is Ayodeji Awosika. I’ve quietly followed his work across multiple platforms for years. The guy doesn’t stop. You can throw whatever mud you want at him and he simply keeps creating.

The best way I can describe it is like this. He’s in a competition with himself.

In the world of Ayo there are no other content creators. I swear a tornado could be ripping through his house and he’d stay glued to his laptop. That level of focus turns any rough cards you’ve got dealt in life into enormous strength and discipline.

Us Aussies call it head down, bum up. Try it.

Many will get revealed as frauds, fakes, or weak hands

As time rolls on by it’s an unfortunate reality.

Some of the pseudonymous names will disappear off the face of the earth. Or they’ll get found out to be completely different genders or members of society. They could even turn out to be professional actors, no better than Hollywood’s band of coked-up misfits.

Some will get revealed as flat-out frauds. One of my favorite crypto content creators ended up being a fraud. He ripped off his followers for millions of dollars. No one knows where he went. He seemed like a good guy. Behind the scenes he did many horrendous crimes.

Some will be not so controversial. They’ll simply get identified as weak hands that didn’t have the drive to keep creating. That’s fine.

Time inevitably reveals the difference between creators and fakers.

As creators churn the patient ones reap the upside

For the serious hard-working content creators the upside compounds.

Patience starts to pay off. Tiny seeds planted in various pockets of the internet start to grow and bear delicious fruit.

It looks like it’s too-good-to-be-true. It’s not

If, as a content creator, you can be patient for 5 years then the internet is literally yours to dominate. You can do whatever you want. That sort of long game just isn’t idolized by the dopamine junkie generation of content creators, platforms like TikTok have produced.

We want it now. We want it fast.

It ain’t going to happen. Not in the world of content creation, and not in any other industry. You have to sit back and put effort in.

Consistent work makes results look effortless if you’re patient enough.

Algorithms massively reward time

You hear about algorithms a lot from content creators. It’s the maker or breaker of dreams (apparently).

Let me tell you a secret. I’ve met some of the guardians of the algorithm galaxies over the years.

They all told me that algorithms have an experience metric. Algorithms reward consistently and time on the platform. No platform is going to grant you access to their gates of heaven unless you’ve earned it.

How? By spending time.

Time is the currency of social media algorithms.

Not lottery luck, random viral hits, silly little tricks, engagement groups where you like each other’s stuff, complaining, blaming, sending letters to the tech giant CEO, messing with the title, tagging influencers … none of that stupid nonsense that gets you nowhere, works.

Don’t fall into the trap.

The truth that wipes smiles off content creators

When you spend time creating content you get good. When you slack off your quality decreases. I’m guilty of this.

The truth is, if your content views have fallen off a cliff, it’s likely because of quality. Not Mark Zuckerberg’s minions.

None of us want to admit it. Especially not me.

Sometimes my content sucks. I create too much. I publish too much. I get stuck in my own little world. I write about stuff nobody cares about. I use too much jargon. I forget about the audience. I become too god damn selfish.

Us content creators are responsible for our quality. Nobody else.

I’ll say it again for the kids down the back…

Us content creators are responsible for our quality. Nobody else.

Time in the market beats time out of the market

This is an old investing cliche. There are two types of investors:

  1. Those who do their research and invest for the long term.
  2. Those who jump in and out of the market and constantly change the stocks they buy and try to time the ups and downs of the market.

The first type of investor ends up filthy rich with enough money to build an orphanage in a place that needs one. The second type of investor ends up bankrupt, down, and out.

The same applies to content creators. There are those that stay in the game no matter what like Ayo. There are those that jump in and out of the game and spend a lot of the time on the bench or completely out of the ballpark.

Then there are the platform jumpers. The guys and girls that constantly think the grass is greener somewhere else rather than doing the one thing that matters: investing time consistently in one spot.

Seneca was right. Time discovers truth.

Takeaway

If you want to stand out as a content creator then stay in the game, continue to learn, and iterate as you go. Remember that your content stinks sometimes. Mine does too. That’s okay.

Nobody is coming to save content creators. We’ve got to save ourselves by letting time reveal the truth.

Invest for the long term. Stay patient. The rest is noise that will cause you to give up. That’s the truth I’ve got for you after 7 years in the game.


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Writing

Be So Good That You Don’t Even Have to Think About Algorithms

social media algorithms

Photo by Nick Night on Unsplash


The deafening hate speeches against social media algorithms have to stop.

My friend Todd Brison calls it the algorithm apocalypse. The algorithms that run our favorite content apps constantly change. None of us know why or how Mr Algorithm is going to evolve.

You shouldn’t care anymore.

The title of this story, “Be so Good That You Don’t Even Have to Think About Algorithms” comes from Youtuber Matt D’Avella.

Let’s dissect how to move on from algorithm talk.

The hidden job of the social media algorithm

Social media algorithms don’t exist to make your little content creator dream a reality. Sorry.

Algorithms are set up to prioritize ads, not your free content. So you’re already behind the 8-ball if you didn’t know this, or more likely, you forgot.

You can complain about the algorithms all you want. In the early days of a social media platform like TikTok, it’s designed to make your content get seen a lot and get you hooked on the drug.

Over time the algorithm is programmed to shift slowly away from the interests of the users, to the interests of the owners of the platform.

Understand it or die as a creator.

The #1 thing you don’t know about social media algorithms

They have an experience factor.

If you b*tch and moan like a baby rather than create content, you become less relevant to the algorithm. So your views drop and you post “XYZ platform will die and I’m leaving” in retaliation.

Why would an algorithm reward a lack of consistency? Or a creator that’s been on the platform for 30 days over a creator that’s been on the platform for 5 years? It logically doesn’t make sense when you think about it.

Don’t poke the algorithm with a stick

The worst thing you can do is knock the algorithm and blame your broken content creator dreams on him. When you do, the algorithm that uses machine learning is paid to learn what bad behavior looks like.

When you behave badly, the algorithm takes a note. When you mock its master creator, the algorithm takes a note.

Then every time you publish, your work gets seen by less and less people. You’re no longer a priority because you took actions that were bad for the users and the business model of the platform.

In some cases the algorithm will blacklist you. You won’t be told. You’ll just live through a form of shadowban and be left to cry in the corner.

Be nice to the platforms you post on. If you don’t like what they’re doing then that’s fine. You’re not shackled to one corner of the internet.

Instead, try this…

Cheat on the algorithms if you feel they’re dropping the ball

The way you do it is to repurpose your content for more than one algorithm. If one algorithm is being a son of a b*tch, then simply find its competitor and publish there for a while.

Keep them both as life partners. Say “I love you” to each of them.

The key is to repurpose like a badass. Don’t just copy and paste content from one platform to another. That’s lazy. You’ll get nowhere.

Each platform has its own quirks. Learn the quirks and then edit your content accordingly. For example don’t copy and paste a self-help piece of content directly onto LinkedIn. It has nothing to do with work or careers.

Edit the advice for a business audience. Remove swear words. Make the users of LinkedIn look good in front of their bosses. Get to the point.

Success Formula = Publish for multiple algorithms

Lazy effort, lazy results

I’ve watched the algorithm angry mobs closely. I’ve gone to their creator profiles. Here’s what I noticed: Around the time they say the algorithm died, their content got lazy.

They started inserting overly used stock images. Their headlines began to suck. They didn’t remove mistakes. They posted way too much garbage. They kept asking the audience for stuff. They tried to take the audience off the platform too much with external links.

Don’t get lazy and blame an algorithm.

Focus on this instead … quality.

Quality defeats even the most broken algorithm

Quality content always wins. Let’s go through the ingredients that make up good social media content.

  • Add personality every time. Stop imitating other creators and copying them. Be yourself. Use strange words. Make up your own words. Talk about stuff you love, not what’s cool and trendy.
  • Do research. If all your content is from your point of view then something is wrong. You’re not uber-successful like Gandhi. We expect you to back up what you say and pull from external resources to show depth.
  • Format to make the audience’s lives easy. Lay out the content clearly. Use the magic of white space. Change up the structure so all your stuff doesn’t look the same. Add graphics. Use pull quotes. Throw a video in. Mix and match content from other social media apps.
  • Start with a bang. Make the first thing you say memorable. Write good titles every day to become a master at it. Be clever with chapter headings. Make us want to consume your work.

When your work is high quality, you won’t need to care about algorithms.

Why?

The audience will relentlessly share your content. And the reason they’ll share your work is because 99% of the content on the internet is garbage.

When your work is shared a lot, the algorithm of whatever platform you’re on is programmed to pay attention and reward you by letting your posts be seen by more people. Make sense.

The bottom line is this:

Stop blaming algorithms for low-quality content that focuses on your interests and is lazy.

Instead, create better content. Share it on more platforms. Get good.


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Writing

Repeat After Me: There Are Lots of Platforms I Can Write and Be Successful On

Substack Newsletter

Photo by Blendtopia on Unsplash


Writers have been screwed for most of history.

We got paid peanuts. Our chance of success was extremely low. The internet built an entirely new world, and for the longest time, (mostly) forgot about writers. But hey, if you could make videos or record podcasts then you could become a millionaire as a content creator.

The 2020 global health crisis changed everything. Now us writers are spoilt for choice. Everybody wants our skills and talents.

You can write on Twitter

Twitter is the OG. It’s been around for over a decade. I dismissed the platform for far too long.

Then I saw dudes in singlets retelling a podcast episode as a Twitter Thread — with no writing skills or creativity — and reaching millions of people.

I had to check my pulse.

“Surely this can’t be real.”

Oh yes indeedy it was. The organic reach of Twitter is still amazing. You can still go viral on Twitter. You can still be a nobody and find an audience.

Things have got better. Now you can comfortably have no profile picture and use some random barcode as a username and find even more success. Thanks NFTs. Thanks Web 3.0.

Strategy to copy

  • Quit posting external links on Twitter. They screw up how many people you can reach and piss the Twitter algorithm off.
  • Publish 3–4 short tweets per day.
  • Leave comments on the tweets of bigger accounts. Not YOLO Elon, but accounts that are perhaps 1–2 levels above you. Don’t be sucky. Leave comments that add value and expand on the tweet.
  • Publish one tweet thread per week. Use content from elsewhere and repurpose it into highly succinct tweets that are limited in length. Look at the top highlights of your previous work to find clues for bangers.

You can write on Substack

Substack is cool because it’s email software you can use for free. If you’re currently relying on followers then online bankruptcy is highly likely.

Followers aren’t yours. Email subscribers are.

You don’t need to make those crooks at Mailchimp rich anymore. You can collect emails for free with Substack. Substack has grown up though. Many writers haven’t noticed. Substack turns you into a media company. They offer other formats beyond basic written articles.

What’s most exciting is that Substack plans to launch discoverability and a newsfeed. Writers who are early to the platform stand to benefit the most from this opportunity.

I didn’t waste a single minute.

My Substack has been running for most of this year. It’s now one of my best channels. I get loads of web traffic on my articles and surprisingly, people hit the share button a lot, so my work organically spreads without too much effort.

Strategy to copy

  • Start a Substack.
  • Send web traffic and followers to it.
  • Build the email list. Email the list once per week. Give them your weekly round-up of the best content on the internet, fused with your best stuff for the week. Bam! Now you’re a pro.

You can write on Quora

They’re preparing for an IPO. What does that mean for you? They’re about to be showered in $100 bills from investors. Some of that money will go to creators. They have a large user base.

Would I bet my life and credibility on the platform? No. Would I use it to access their built-in audience? Hell yes.

Strategy to copy

  • Reply to 1–2 questions on Quora per week. 200–300 words is plenty.
  • Place a link to your Substack in your Quora bio. Place another link at the end of every answer you write.

… And I haven’t even spoken about the biggest opportunity in history for writers

Web 3.0 built on blockchain will bring more apps you can write on. There are a few I’ve seen in the early stages.

One is Mirror XYZ. It still sucks for writers and seems to have temporally pivoted away from what we want. I reckon they will pivot back to writers and being a blog once they have traction with their current crowdfunding use case. Either way there will be more platforms.

Web 3.0 matters because it brings with it the following:

  • New ways to earn money as a writer.
  • The ability to split revenue with fellow writers, publications, charities, and partners.
  • A way to own all of your data.
  • A simple path to migrate content from one platform to the next using NFTs that store your articles.
  • Democratic moderation policies that are decided by readers and writers with voting through tokens.
  • A way for writers to own a part of the app they write on, and therefore, the success of the platform — a true partnership.
  • A way for users who don’t live in the privileged countries Stripe supports to still earn a living and get paid in USD crypto.

What’s missed is that some of the existing options will migrate to Web 3.0. Twitter has already said it will become decentralized and is actively working on it. Others will follow. Those platforms that don’t will die.

It’s one reason I am bullish on Substack. They allow creators to get paid in bitcoin and have openly come out and made it clear they are Web 3.0 friendly. Hell yes!

This is the golden era for writers. No excuse.

I don’t want to hear any more complaints. Writers have it good. There are loads of options. Pick a few and see what you can do.

The current version of the internet means any writer can be successful if they stick at it, help others, stay open-minded, stay away from toxic conversations, work hard, and stay patient for a few years.

WAGMI — We’re all going to make it. Keep your head up.


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Writing

The Simple Writing Formula I’m Using to Get an Additional 100,000 Email Subscribers

Additional 100,000 Email Subscribers

Photo by Vadim Bogulov on Unsplash


Writers need one illicit drug: traffic.

Without traffic to our work, any goal we have to earn a living from our writing is dead. Social media is how we get eyeballs on our writing. We don’t own those eyeballs though. We can’t message them whenever we want and say “howdy mate, how ya been?”

That’s why email subscribers matter.

So, if your online traffic is down then here’s the formula I’m using. I have over 50,000 email subscribers and know what I’m talking about. This formula is how I’ll easily get 100,000 more in the short term. Steal my strategy.

The platform many writers have snoozed on

There’s one platform I’m extremely bullish on. They’ve been around for 15 years: Twitter. It’s a great tool for writers. Here’s why.

  • The time required to write short tweets is low.
  • Writing tweets is fun.
  • Tweets give you data that can help decide which are your best ideas.
  • The organic reach on Twitter is still high after all these years. Meeting a new audience via Twitter isn’t hard if you invest a small amount of time each day.
  • You probably already have Twitter and have used it, therefore, zero learning curve. High five.

The way I’m using Twitter is different from how I’ve seen most writers use it. Let me explain.

Use Twitter (like this) to find a brand new audience

Twitter released a feature a few years ago called “Tweet Threads.” They’re like blog posts but better. Why? Tweet threads are a series of up to 25 connected tweets in a row.

What makes them special is each tweet is still limited to 280 characters. This matters because many of you, unfortunately, don’t get to the point fast enough in your writing.

Tweet threads force you to get to the point.

All the filler has to be deleted. The long intros go out the window. Full essay-style conclusions are dead too. Twitter Threads take you from being a traditional writer, and transform you into an online writer. This type of writer does better in the long run because you’re forced to respect the reader’s time, and this is so rare!

Once you master Twitter Threads you have a superpower that can drive fresh traffic to your writing. As crazy as it sounds most Twitter users don’t utilize threads. It’s a feature that doesn’t get used often, but one the Twitter algorithm gives a lot of extra support to.

The key with Twitter Threads is to hook the reader with a strong first tweet that explains what you’re about to say, and has a strong curiosity factor.

Then you hit them with the meat in each tweet.

Most writers stuff this part up (it contains all the growth)

The second part to the formula is to capture the email addresses so you own your audience. This is done in your tweet thread.

You write your tweet thread. Then you make the second last tweet a link to a Substack newsletter. Many writers unknowingly make their last tweet a link to a newsletter. This doesn’t work.

When Twitter shows your thread to an audience they’re going to see the first and last tweet. You don’t want people who don’t know you to see an external link as the first thing.

Instead, make the last tweet a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) which summarizes each of your points. That way, a reader who finds your Twitter Thread gets the first tweet that contains your headline and subtitle, and your last tweet that summarizes the thread and helps them work out if it’s worth their time.

The Substack factor

This formula works the best if you use Substack. Let me explain. Twitter users are very familiar with Substack. It has a premium feel about it.

People are used to paying for newsletters offered through Substack. So when you use Substack to capture emails instead of something like ConvertKit or MailChimp, the chance you’ll convert a follower into an email subscriber is higher.

The best part is it’s free.

The alternatives cost money. If you’re not currently making money as an online writer then you’re best to start with free. The other part that’s missed is that landing pages, personal websites and email software require customization. This is often bad.

Most writers have not done the A/B testing work to know what looks good, what will convert, and what readers will fall in love with. Substack has. Their number goal is to help writers convert traffic into email subscribers.

Substack has a superpower

There’s another reason to use Substack to collect email subscribers. Substack enables writers to become media companies. Making money from writing and newsletters is a very narrow field. Substack is building other formats like podcasts into their platform.

These extra media types give you other income sources later on and allow you to expand beyond just writing, if and when, you’re ready.

This simple formula is pointless if you forget this

Many Twitter timelines are full of external links and content creators who keep asking for money. It’s modern-day begging. Don’t do this.

Sell in private not in public.

Forget websites. Forget eCommerce. If you want to sell digital products and services then do it via email. Add value to the email list you built on Substack and occasionally offer a paid upgrade. The secret is to underdo it.

Sell less than your ego tells you to.

Resist the urge. The more value you give, the more email subscribers might decide to invest money in your side hustle later. If you overwhelm them with ‘asks,’ they’ll simply unsubscribe. Then you’ll be stuck on the hamster wheel of always needing huge amounts of traffic forever and crying about platforms.

Takeaway

Fire up your Twitter account. Make sure most of your followers are still active. Write one tweet thread per week. Make the second last tweet a link to your Substack newsletter. Ensure the last tweet is a TL;DR.

That formula is going to easily get me another 100,000 email subscribers. It can do the same for you. Once you build your own list, don’t oversell. Instead, be generous and you’ll become a highly successful writer.

Follow me on Twitter to watch me implement this strategy in real-time.


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Writing

Tech Giants Can No Longer Stop Misinformation. It’s Every Man and Woman for Themselves.

Tech Giant

Photo by Dev Asangbam on Unsplash


“Abandon that platform right now! They’re allowing misinformation.”

That’s a message I got. The reader wants me to turn my back on an entire platform because they claim that misinformation is allowed to be posted. I totally disagree.

Tech platforms can’t be the nanny police. They can’t protect grown adults from misinformation. Here’s why.

Misinformation is a problem in of itself

I don’t expect any platform to save me from misinformation. It’s an impossible ask. In doing so they will accidentally destroy freedom of speech. What’s misinformation, is up for debate. Let me give you a clear example.

For the last two years I’ve lived in lockdown. Now before you jump to conclusions I’m a double jabbed, mask-wearing, follow the government health advice kind of guy. And that’s exactly what I’ve done.

I’ve been pro lockdowns and so have most Australians I know. If during the global health crisis you said anything bad about lockdowns, where I’m from, then you’d be accused of spreading misinformation.

But the narrative has slowly changed.

Suicide rates have increased. Mental health issues have exploded. Even my own health has deteriorated.

I recently had sharp pains in my leg. I went to the doctor and he sent me to a physio. It turns out a disc in my back is stuffed. In fact my whole back has been screwed from sitting at home for nearly two years.

Then I screwed up my hearing and got tinnitus by listening to music every day through headphones for long periods of time. My fitness level has dropped too. My core is weak. I can’t run anymore. A one-hour walk leaves me tired.

Many people in my country are feeling the after-effects of lockdown. In a matter of months we’ve done a complete 360. We are now no longer so sure that lockdowns are the answer to coroni-macaroni.

How the heck does a tech platform decide whether the lockdown conversation is misinformation that’s harmful to humans, or a legitimate conversation that needs to be had on their platform.

They can’t.

No platform should play god

When tech companies try to play god it’s a giant flop. Look at all the examples from 2020. Did all of the moderation and banning stop anything bad happening? No.

Instead, humans found other apps that allowed their conversations to be had and switched to them. Did countries who oppose the internet stop it? Nope. Did governments successfully stop torrents? Nope. Did any country ban bitcoin and successfully stop their citizens from buying it? Nope.

The internet can’t be stopped. The internet has more power than any tech platform. If big tech plays god then users will go to platforms that don’t interfere with humanity’s desire to have important conversations.

The problem with big tech playing god is they’re too tempted by financial interests to make decisions that don’t align with the good of the users. Most content platforms are funded by ads. If an advertiser says “ban this content or we’ll stop paying you,” do you really think a tech company will ignore them? Of course not.

Advertisers outrank social media users.

Those who pay the bills determine the rules.

It’s too late to save the world from misinformation

Web 3.0 is already here. Every app and service we use online is being replaced by a decentralized one. Decentralized Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp are right on our doorstep. It’s only a matter of time.

That’s why the reader who contacted me about their disgust with a certain tech platform is tough out of luck. A decentralized internet works differently.

Take bitcoin for example. If you’re angry about bitcoin you can’t abuse the founder on Twitter. There is no bitcoin office in Silicon Valley that you can go and cry to. There’s no media relations or smug startup bro in a t-shirt you can reach out to on LinkedIn.

A decentralized internet is run by code. Code has no feelings. Opt-in or opt-out — that’s your only option. I admit it’s going to be a completely different future. Intervention by governments and authorities is going to be a lot harder.

You could argue we’re moving from each being part of a sovereign country, to becoming entirely sovereign selves. The web will become one big country. Code governs the rules. Global democracy enabled by digital votes from all users determine what can and can’t happen on each tech platform.

Content moderation is done by the users. Each app has its own guidelines. If you don’t like the guidelines you change the content apps you use to ones that you do agree with. That’s the best solution there will be based on the current Web 3.0 structure.

Final Thought

I won’t stop publishing content on any big tech platform because they refuse to take down content.

Misinformation is subjective. Freedom of speech is more important. Allowing conversations to occur is how we come up with important solutions. And even if they did agree to take down misinformation, it doesn’t matter. Pretty soon you’ll be using entirely decentralized apps (dApps) built on top of blockchain technology such as Ethereum.

We’re on our own folks.

It’s time to be adults and not let our minds be easily manipulated anymore by misinformation. You’re mature enough to dissect the content you consume and decide to be influenced by it or not. As soon as we start to protect adult minds from certain types of information we destroy free thinking.

In doing so we nuke creativity. Nobody wants to live in a world like that. It’s time to stop expecting tech platforms to do the right thing. Those days are over. They had their chance and proved the model to be flawed.

Web 3.0 is scary, I get it. But it’s here whether you like it or not. That’s why it’s every man and woman for themselves.

Work on your critical thinking ability to stay safe from misinformation.


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