#SharkSchool Lesson #5: How To Cook A Rotten Fish
"And whoever does not want to die of thirst among men must learn to drink out of all cups; and whoever would stay clean among men must know how to wash even with dirty water."
-Freidrich Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra"
I guess it's kind of ironic if I come up here and say that I'm sick of all the fighting on Steemit. I guess now I know how "old timers" felt when they read my first posts.
The more time I spend here, the more it seems that this platform is rotting from the inside. Unless something changes I don't think Steemit is long for this world. But we'll get to that later.
- How to prepare your reader to accept your message
- How to hypnotize readers with vague language
- How to make your question their beliefs by using specific language
- How to make yourself look more important than you really are
- Using quotes and statistics to deliver your message
- Why you shouldn't spend all of your time on Steemit
- Censorship by high value accounts is the real problem with the centralization of SP
- Why you need to constantly evolve, especially when you gain notoriety
- How to deal with haters and trolls, pt 2
- Should you stay small and "boutique" or go big?
How to prepare your reader to accept your message
I've written thousands of words on this platform, but what I'm about to tell you is hands down 100% the absolute most important piece of knowledge you will ever learn from me or anyone else on here.
I don't care what you're doing right now, you need to devote all of your attention and brain power to what I'm about to tell you. You'll never be the same after what you're about to read.
I don't actually have anything groundbreaking to tell you. But did you notice how you felt when you read the above paragraph? Regardless of whether or not you think I give good advice, you probably found yourself anticipating the upcoming knowledge bomb.
There's a concept in NLP called "pre-framing" - a complicated term that means telling people what you're going to tell them before you tell them.
I'm sure everyone has had an experience where someone comes up to them and says something like:
"Okay, I have to tell you something. But don't get mad!"
What immediately happens? You start to get a little mad. What did this person do? How bad is this going to be?
That's an extreme example and very overt, but this technique is best used in more subtle ways. For example, you can prime your message with statements like these:
...and that's not the worst thing about it. The worst thing is...
...what I'm about to tell you might make you a little angry....
...because once you realize that X, your whole perception changes...
You get the idea. Hmm, maybe I wasn't exaggerating in the first paragraph. That IS some important knowledge.
How to hypnotize readers with vague language
Vague language is essential to getting your readers to accept your message.
For example, consider the difference between the two statements:
- The best way to make money online in 2018 is by selling cat toys on Instagram
- A good way to make money is by selling products
Whether or not you agree, the first sentence is more likely to cause our inner arguer to come out. We immediately start thinking, "Is that really the best way? What about Facebook? What about dog toys? I'm sure there's got to be something better."
The second sentence is much more vague and also results in less friction when you read it. As such, it is much more readily accepted by your reader. Combine a few of these together and before you know it, your reader is nodding their head as they read along.
How to take advantage of this? Once they agree with 10 vague statements in a row, you can hit them with your message. Even if it's not vague, it's more likely to be unconsciously accepted because the reader has been agreeing with all of your previous statements. Granted, it still has to be plausible, but that's fairly simple to do.
Even though most people don't like to talk about money, there are few people who would say that it's not important. Sure, there are a lot of people out there who hate their jobs. But most of them still probably go to work anyway. I'm sure that if they knew of a way to get paid for doing what they loved, most people would jump at the chance. Why? Because all humans secretly want to go back to a time when they had no responsibility or commitments, where their needs were taken care of just because they existed.
I'm here to tell you that there's a better way. There really are people out there who are getting paid to do what they love. There are people out there who wake up early every day because they're excited to work on projects that inspire them. How do I know? Because I'm one of them.
What's the message? "I'm someone who enjoys his work." Everything else was just a vague generalization about life in general. While I suppose you could potentially argue that there are some people out there who prefer to wake up every day and hate their jobs out of sheer masochism, most people are not going to argue such a stupid point. Especially not in public.
But by giving you several sentences of universal statements that are pretty much always true, I set you on a path of "Yes." When it comes time to deliver a message that is merely plausible (that I am someone who enjoys his work), you're more likely to believe it because you've accepted the previous 8 statements to be true as well.
This can be layered several times throughout a single post - a major reason why I am a fan of long form content. The more words you put in a single document, the more messages you can insert into the minds of your readers. The more messages you successfully deliver, the stronger your grip becomes on your audience. They begin to accept more and more of what you say simply because you speak in vague statements that are universally true.
How to make your question their beliefs by using specific language
Sometimes your reader has beliefs or opinions that are not aligned with your message. If you try to argue with them directly, you'll be met with resistance. While you can use the above method to try to smooth them into your point of view, the first thing you need to do is weaken their belief so that your message will have room to worm its way in.
This is fairly simple to do and much easier than trying to perfect the use of vague language. In order to force someone to "think," all you have to do is get them to take a deeper look into their belief.
Using the example of voting bots, let's say that we have a user who is vehemently against them. Let's assume that they make the following statement:
Voting bots are bad for Steemit because it means that people who have money can put their posts on the Trending page.
How would we use specific language to influence this reader to re-examine their beliefs? The trick is to get them to clarify their statement.
Here are some questions we might ask:
- Bad in what way?
- What people with money, specifically?
- Why specifically is that bad for Steemit? (then repeat the process with the new answer)
- Is it bad for EVERYONE on Steemit, or just a specific group of people? If so, who?
- In what specific situations are voting bots bad? Are they always bad? In what situations are they not bad?
Once you ask the reader to clarify their statement fully, you'll oftentimes find that their beliefs stem from one or two vague memories. They've turned their single experience into a general statement that magically applies to all situations. They've effectively hypnotized themselves into a given belief.
An effective way of using this in your posts is to state a common belief and then pick it apart with specific questions. If you're going to do this, then you have to make the original belief fairly specific. Otherwise you'll be accused of creating a Straw Man argument which will take credibility away from your points.
How to make yourself look more important than you really are
Anyone who's read "The Game" or is versed in classic PUA literature has likely heard of a concept called a DHV - demonstration of higher value.
For those of you unfamiliar with the theory of seduction, think of a DHV as a type of indirect sales pitch.
You don't want to come out and overtly say that you are the best thing since sliced bread. Instead, you want to be more slick about it by casually mentioning your accomplishments/characteristics while discussing an unrelated topic.
Consider the following story:
Most people would probably jump at the chance to go to university in Los Angeles at 22. Not me. I felt like I was wasting my life.
Maybe I read too many science fiction books as a kid, but I always thought I'd have some kind of adventure when I was older. But by the time I finished high school, nobody was talking about adventure. All they were talking about what college they were applying to and what they wanted to study.
I'd been studying my whole life. I didn't WANT to study anymore! I wanted to go explore the world. I wanted to test myself as a man. I wanted to challenge myself in ways that living in West LA just doesn't provide.
Actually, fuck that. I'm not gonna lie, I wanted to kill people. I wanted to survive a battle. I wanted to put myself in a situation where I could die and come out unscathed. And the only place I could do that was the military...
What does that little story tell you about me?
Well, there are the facts: I've gone to university, I've lived in LA, I read science fiction books. I am "adventurous" or at least wanted to be. I wanted to challenge myself.
What about the implications? I'm obviously a native English-speaker. Probably American. Definitely have some first world problems. Smart enough (and with an active enough imagination) to read science fiction books, yet still masculine enough to feel the need to experience a modern day right of passage via military service.
Okay, so I'm not talking about how Bill Gates picked me up in his helicopter to go fuck hookers and do cocaine, but if that ever happens I'm sure I'll find some way to work it into an article.
The secret here is to have two layers to your communication - you have to explicitly state your point somewhere, but you also want to casually mention little factoids that indirectly show you in a positive light. All you have to do is decide on a few qualities you want people to think you have and then tell stories where these qualities are subtly referenced.
For example, in my posts I try to highlight the fact that I do freelance work for blockchain startups and ICOs. I'll make casual references to clients, how I know high profile advisors, and am slowly making a name for myself in the ICO world.
Shit, even in that paragraph explaining what I do, I'm mentioning those things. And by using it as an example to illustrate a completely unrelated point (using a DHV), I'm able to work it into one of my posts again.
For every thousand words I write on here about anything, I'll slip in ten that refer to my business in a positive light.
And yes, I do explicitly state things like, "I know what I'm doing and am very good at my job," as well. That has its place, but I personally don't think it should make up the bulk of your self-promotion. The only reason I do it is because I am consciously aware that it is EXTREMELY rare for anyone to act so blatantly confident in their abilities.
I'm perfectly capable of being humble like everyone else, but when you publicly call yourself The Greatest then you are somewhat more motivated to live up to your own reputation.
Using quotes and statistics to deliver your message
Very often you'll see an author begin their article with a quote by a famous person. This is an extremely effective (and sneaky) way of getting your reader to accept your message without them even realizing it. After all, YOU'RE not the one who said that fat people are ugly - it was a statistic from a study at the University of Texas!
I actually have a lot of fun with this because it's virtually impossible to identify unless you know what to look for.
My preferred method of doing it is to quote and paraphrase myself in one of my previous posts. I'll write something like:
And yes, I do explicitly state things like, "I know what I'm doing and am very good at my job," as well. That has its place but I personally don't think it should make up the bulk of your self-promotion.
Hmm. That sounds familiar. Where have I read that? Oh that's right, it was in the last section!
When you read something in quotes, it's almost like your brain turns off the mechanism that is responsible for deciding if the statement is true. Your brain confuses the fact that the words were quoted with whether or not they are true. Does that make sense?
Granted, it's more effective when you quote someone other than yourself. If two people are in an argument and a third person picks a side, the loser is more likely to acquiesce just because the third person is seen as an impartial observer. This effect is multiplied even further when you are able to use a quote that is an axiom (universal statement) or "common knowledge."
"Once a cheater, always a cheater."
"It's always something!"
"You can't put the shit back in the horse!"
Why you shouldn't spend all of your time on Steemit
After I got sick of writing crypto articles and started flexing on the Trending page, I felt like I was hot shit. I admittedly still didn't know anything about how this platform worked, couldn't care less about the drama, and basically held the opinion that everyone who didn't agree with me could go fuck themselves.
That said, the more time I spend here, the more I learn about how this place works. While initially I thought that making this platform popular was as easy as seducing a few high quality content creators and incentivizing them to contribute, I don't think it's so simple anymore.
For one thing, the recent crash of the cryptocurrency markets is a striking realization that crypto is a bad investment. I've sunk literally thousands of dollars into promoting my posts on here and seen my investment drop by more than I'd care to publicly admit. Any "profit" gained from upvote bots has been completely wiped out and then some as a result of the crash.
This isn't the platform's fault. Crypto is unregulated and volatile. All coins have seen their value destroyed in the past few months, even STEEM. The problem is that any tokens used on this site are effectively locked up for 14 weeks. Kind of takes the "currency" out of "cryptocurrency."
I understand that's how the platform works, but what's become clear to me is that the money deposited into the Steemit ecosystem is anything but liquid. It's like putting your money in a CD and not being able to touch it for 3 months. The difference is that with a CD, you're guaranteed a return.
I suppose it would be possible to use this platform without purchasing upvotes, but I wonder how long it would take new users to find traction (even if they're the greatest writers in the world). Honestly can't answer that question.
The unfortunate end result is that "earning" STEEM is more of an illusion than anything because the system essentially requires paid upvotes to gain visibility. Let's even assume that the upvotes are all profitable - it still locks your money up in the system for 14 weeks where it can take a massive hit if the market crashes. And even if it goes up, you're not able to withdraw your profits unless you are constantly powering down.
I'm not saying ditch the platform entirely, but unless you control a high value account that prints money, don't expect to make full time income from this place.
All I'm saying is not to put all your eggs in one basket. The good thing about this place is that it teaches people to connect writing with earning money. I would recommend that you carry that mentality with you to other social networking sites and plant your flag on all of them.
Once you're on Twitter, FB, Insta, Steemit, Medium, YouTube, Discord and whatever the new flavor of the month social network is, it will be a lot easier for people to give you their money/time/favors when you decide to ask for it.
Censorship by high value accounts is the real problem with the centralization of SP
When people learn how the Steemit system works, their initial reaction is outrage at how unfair it is that certain account holders are allowed to upvote their own content (or proxy accounts) and send themselves free money.
I previously said that people shouldn't be concerned with this and just focus on creating better content. I thought it was just about the money. And yes, I understand how people would be upset that the gap between high SP and low SP accounts is widening, but like I said I thought it was just an issue of making money.
Actually, not just money. I mistakenly thought that people were REALLY upset that their work wasn't getting any visibility because of a combination of the upvote bots and the high value accounts' lack of participation in "curation" on this platform. My solution with this was essentially, "just create better content, market it on other platforms and stop worrying about people who have more than you."
For the record, I still believe that is advice most users on this platform should take.
I think the real monster lurking here is the fact that what is given can also be taken away. Today we have upvote bots - I think it's only a matter of time before we have downvote bots as well. I read a post on here recently that summed it up nicely: the system that can give exposure can also facilitate censorship-on-demand as well.
An enterprising high value account could just as easily send some STEEM through a mixer to a new proxy account and use it to anonymously sell their downvotes. I can't imagine anyone sees that as a good thing for the longevity of this platform. If I'm wrong, please let me know.
One thing there is no shortage of on here is drama. Until now, it's been fairly contained in some bickering in the comment section of various posts. Maybe a little name calling. But it's only a matter of time before things get heated enough and people start losing money.
It's all well and good if someone calls you an idiot in the comments. But take money out of someone's pocket and things will get ugly real quick.
What's the solution? No idea. But the day this becomes a problem on here is the day where people find somewhere else to host their blog.
Why you need to constantly evolve, especially when you gain notoriety
Ever since getting "Steemit-famous" I've noticed a fair amount of people imitating my style. People write a bit more casually, use profanity, and try to keep the tone of their posts more conversational. I guess I should have expected that.
While it's flattering to see little @yallapapi clones keeping it real on Steemit, I'd be lying if I said I liked it. I don't want a bunch of people like me running around. I want to be the only one. That was my whole shtick - I was the edgy asshole who broke all the rules, didn't care what people thought and just did whatever he wanted.
But now I find myself in a position where people are taking my techniques and attitude for their own little test drive, partially because I probably made a good impression - but more likely because I am explicitly teaching them how exactly to do it.
If everyone on here is like me, then who am I? The Original Vampire? That's not what I'm going for. I want to be unique.
I think that's really what I've been trying to teach this whole time, but I confused "being unique on Steemit" with "being unique."
When I looked at the majority of content on here, I saw that it was all very similar. I started calling it a circle-jerk because of how unrealistically positive, encouraging and superficial everyone was all the time.
I made a big deal about how that was wrong, how people should be more critical and take more pride in their work. And while that's true, I unfortunately didn't emphasize the critical role that being unique plays in success. If you are controversial and edgy but everyone else is too, then what makes you different?
And if you're not different, then how can you claim to be better than everyone else?
How to deal with haters and trolls, pt 2
I hate politics with a passion, but one thing I've noticed ever since Trump became president is that his political opponents (and their partners in the media) tend to go after him much more aggressively than they did George W Bush.
Yes, everyone hated Bush - but they waited patiently for him to finish his term so he could slink off into obscurity. They didn't pour billions of dollars into trying to ruin his reputation with daily stories featuring his name and linking him to various controversies.
With Trump, it's like the rules don't apply. The Huffington Post, CNN, Washington Post, and media personalities like John Oliver give virtually no impression of impartiality that you'd expect from professional journalists.
I make no effort to research Trump's past or learn anything about the current political climate in the US, but just from browsing Reddit (not even political subs) and reading random headlines, I can tell that there are some people with deep pockets who are funding a massive smear campaign against him.
I think the reason is that Trump is the type of guy who will say whatever he wants without thinking about whether or not it's appropriate. His verbal filter is either malfunctioning or nonexistent, which is very rare in politics.
This comes off as brash and cocky and I think it rubs his opponents the wrong way. It flies so heavily in the face of their politically correct, pandering, virtue-signaling articles that they are forced to confront the fact that they are carefully tailoring their messages to overtly manipulate people into a certain point of view.
This is so offensive to his opponents that they are essentially trying to drown him out by flooding the media with negative talk about him. Meanwhile, the guy just continues to be himself, a total alpha male who makes moves and doesn't give a fuck what other people think.
Eventually, you will get people who get so rabid when your name is mentioned that they'll get triggered HARD. This is intimidating at first because most of us are normal people who want everyone to like us. But you have to understand that it doesn't matter what your message is, there will be people who disagree with you. Some of them will be vocal about it.
If you have haters, at least people know who you are. Much better to have 100 negative comments on your post than 0 comments at all.
Trolls, on the other hand, are just haters that are trying to make you look bad by cheapening your message with caustic talk hidden behind a thin veil of "discussion."
It's like when you were in school and the class clown would make fun of someone by mocking them. If someone else called them out, the typical response is: "I was just kidding. Can't you take a joke?" How convenient.
Their motivation is less honorable than the haters. At least haters offer some sort of reason why they disagree with you. It's a fair fight.
But trolls are just looking for attention. They want to perform in front of a crowd at someone else's expense while simultaneously implying their own superiority.
You can either choose to ignore them or sink to their level. Does Trump answer every accusation or respond to every negative news article about him? He's got better things to do. Sometimes he makes a comment, but normally he just jokes them down or just dismisses them with a single sentence. But even that's rare.
Should you stay "boutique" or go big?
Go big baby. No point in staying small.
For one thing, setting a massive goal is much more motivating than setting a small one. Consider the difference between the two of these:
- I want to make $5k/month as a freelancer so I can move to Thailand and work from my computer
- I want to become an internationally-recognized influencer in the digital marketing world My opinion is so widely respected that I'm paid thousands of dollars for speaking engagements and book deals
Which of those is more ambitious? Which of them is more likely to motivate you to work when you'd rather play video games? Which of them has a bigger payoff?
Also, when your ultimate goal is to go big, you are not as affected by minor setbacks. I don't care what you're doing, you're going to have minor inconveniences that you have to deal with.
Last year when I had my own kiosk in Australia, I had problems all the time. Sometimes the mall management would come by and tell me about some new rule affected how my employees and I worked. Sometimes I'd get an angry customer who came to the shop and wouldn't leave until she got a refund. Sometimes I'd have an issue with a depressed employee and have to spend time getting them out of their funk.
But you know what? Every day that I went to work was a profitable day. I'd wake up in the morning with $0 in the register and by the end of the day there would be several hundred/thousand dollars in there. All because of my words and actions.
Nobody did a marketing campaign for me. I didn't have commercials on TV. Nobody knew my brand. The products I was selling were expensive and frankly, not as good as the competition.
That said, I was determined to wake up every day and find 3-4 people MINIMUM out of thousands who were willing to make a purchase. There were always problems to deal with, but I kept putting one foot in front of the other and the money kept coming in.
When you're freelancing or just starting out, it can be harder to stay motivated because you're just by yourself on your computer the whole time. There are no coworkers around you and you might not have any money coming in. It's harder to learn because there's nobody you can turn to if you have a question.
The only way to stay motivated is to have a big enough reason to continue plodding along when you're stressed and want to quit.
Granted, you need to have a REASON behind the goal as well. You can't just say you want to make a million dollars and have weak reasons for wanting the money. But I'm sure if someone put a gun to your head and the only thing that could save you was $50k, you'd probably work very hard to make it happen.
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Recommended reading for #sharkschool:
- #SharkSchool Lesson 4 - 4500 Words That You Probably Are Just Going To Skim So You Can Leave A Retarded Comment
- #SharkSchool Lesson 3: Actual Advice Instead Of A Rambling Rant
- #SharkSchool Lesson 2: Develop A Taste For Other People's Blood
- #SharkSchool Lesson 1: How To Find Your Voice As A Writer
- Introducing #SharkSchool - How To Take Over The Trending Page By Being A Bloodthirsty Savage
- Mmmm Yeah Baby, Put It In My Reward Pool
- How To Stop Being Such A Loser
- Why Everything You Know About Investing In Crypto Is Wrong
- Why Steemit Is A Giant Circle-Jerk And How To Make It Work In Your Favor
- How To Get To The Trending Page On Steemit Even If You're An Autistic, Paint Chip-Eating Bork Like Me
- How To Use Steemit To Trick People Into Reading Your Poorly-Written Garbage
- How To Make $10k A Month The Old Fashioned Way
- How To Make More Money Than You've Ever Made In Your Life
- How To Grow Your Personal Instagram Page To 5 Billion Followers
- Watching This Video Will Make You Want To Move To Thailand (And Not For The Hot Estonian Chick, Either)
- All I Want Is A Billion Dollars, A Rock-Solid Six Pack, And To Smash A Different Hard-Bodied Fitness Model Every Night - Is That Too Much To Ask?
- How To Be Successful In Just 100 Hours A Week
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