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What Makes You Angry?


Per my own advice, I am reading Ryan Holiday’s Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, a disturbing exposé of how marketing people manipulate the public through the media. If you’ve ever been angered or annoyed by American Apparel ads, Holiday has done his job. As the Director of Marketing for the retail giant, Holiday’s goal is to enrage you because—according to two researchers at the Wharton School, “The most powerful predictor of virality is how much anger an article evokes.” In other words, you’re much more likely to post an article or an ad to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ if it pisses you off. A recent example is the video of the Boy Scout leaders who toppled the 180-million-year-old rock in Utah’s Goblin Valley. It went viral. An older example is of the Wall Street Journal headline about Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which read “Why Chinese Mother Are Superior” and, a year later, another about Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bébé titled “Why French Parents Are Superior.” The WSJ has apparently mastered the formula for angering American moms. I know I shared both of those articles. Second on the list of most-often-shared photos, articles, and videos are those that make us laugh—but they’re not nearly as popular as those that boil our blood.

So tell me—what makes you angry? What photos, ads, videos and articles have you shared because they pissed you off?

20 comments to What Makes You Angry?

  • Foodie McBody

    Ignorant racist crap!

  • Oh that book sounds great! I will have to check it out (literally from the library : > ) I think it's lame how many articles are clearly just put out there to annoy and get the turkeys gobbling .. the parent stuff is a good example. Almost every article published online about the difficulties of raising small children and/or the choice to have or not have them, seems to me to exist purely make people disgruntled. I don't know how much marketers can be blamed for people being suckers though… guess I'll have to read the book.

    • Meghan Ward

      What's really annoying, Alta, is that it's nearly impossible to sell a parenting-related book if it DOESN'T present some type of controversy. Informative/funny isn't good enough. It needs to have the potential to go viral.

  • I'm angered by politics, but not to the point that I'll share it.

    As a writer, and one who used to love politics, I have reached a conclusion that most people are too narrow minded to read a novel by an author they knew had differing political beliefs.

    It is in my interest NOT to share political stuff. As such, I don't. This also goes for stuff that like you described that goes viral on the back of angst. If people are arguing and fighting about a Tiger Mom, then choosing sides will likely eliminate a portion of the book buying public from considering my novels.

    It is hard enough build a readership without 40% of the people (40/20/40) being taken out of the equation because they found out which color the author prefers (Blue or Red).

    So, yes, I get angry, but I keep it to myself…because I'm poor and I want to sell books. When I've sold 400,000,000 books, THEN I'll have an opinion I'd be willing to share.

    • I think it's smart to keep quiet about political opinions if you're a novelist trying to sell books, Brian. Unless, like you said, you're selling 400,000 copies anyway.

  • annerallen

    Fascinating concept. And it makes sense. My blogposts on bullying and bad behavior in the publishing industry get 1000s more hits than the ones that might actually help people get published. And just now I read a blogpost about a wonderful book-donation project and I only shared it to Twitter and didn't bother to share to FB and other places. I think I'll go back and remedy that. It may be human nature to only share the nasty stuff, but I'd like to think I could rise above knee-jerk behavior. 🙂 Thanks for the enlightening info!

    • Anne, how do you feel about the thousands of hits you get on posts about bullying and bad behavior? Does that make you want to write more posts like that?

      • annerallen

        The trouble with those posts is they also bring out the bullies, so every time I write about bullies I get a flurry of one-star troll reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, which are not good for sales. Since book sales are way more important than hits on the blog, I'm risking a lot when I post about trolls and bullies so I don't do it often. Just enough to try to help newbies keep safe.

        • Meghan Ward

          That's unfortunate, Anne, that they take it out on you. I'm glad you still blog about the issue now and then, though.

  • Natylie

    Thank you for bringing this book to my attention. It is now on my to-read list.

  • If I had to do a top with things that make me become nervous, it would not look too promising. I try to work from all points of view to improve this list, because I am aware that I should not be as impulsive and handle things calmly.

  • you never did let up your disciplined, detailed approach to your art-craft, not knowing if it would ever pay off. That is faith. Love and respect you!

  • Hi, your article its so nice