Tag Archives: Jersey Shore

SAME LOVE by Macklemore

My friend Max (short for Maxima, though if it were short for Maximus that would also be cool in a GLADIATOR way) has introduced me to Macklemore.

He’s a Seattle rapper famous for the THRIFT STORE song and video, which is worth an entirely post by itself.

I’d heard Macklemore’s songs on the radio and such, but not the music videos, seeing how MTV doesn’t play vids anymore because, you know, wall-to-wall Jersey Shore nonsense and such. Snooki needs her screen time.

This video is long and courageous and well done.

I salute you, Macklemore, for having the range to do a hilarious romp like THRIFT STORE and the guts to do this quiet little beauty.

Related posts: Music Video Monday’s Greatest Hits

Insane music video + lyrics – EXCELLENT HORSE-LIKE LADY

The Red Pen of Doom shoots up Train’s DRIVE BY

ICE, ICE BABY as interpreted by the Red Pen of Doom

Music Video Deathmatch: Lady Gaga vs Justin Bieber

SUGAR WE’RE GOING DOWN by Fall Out Boy

ELECTRIC AVENUE, as interpreted by the Red Pen of Doom

Music Video Monday: Florence + The Machine

THE KILL by 30 Seconds to Mars

TAKE ON ME by A-Ha

ENTER THE NINJA by Die Antwoord

COUNTDOWN by Beyonce and some genius student in a snuggie

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

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Filed under 2 Music Video Monday

SUGAR WE’RE GOING DOWN by Fall Out Boy

Yes, I know that there are rumors that MTV still plays some music videos between the hours of 3 a.m. and 9 a.m., when it’s not doing Jersey Shore marathons or finding the next Heidi Pratt or whatever. MTV used to play videos 24 hours a day. Now all you can watch are country videos on some nearby channel. Do I need country videos about somebody’s dog dying and the transmission on his Chevy going out and his wife leaving with his best friend, and him sure missing his best friend? No. I need a channel that just plays music videos. VH1 doesn’t count.

This video by Fall Out Boy is  a rocking tune with lyrics that nobody understands.

Listen closely. Tell me if you figure out (a) what the lead singer is saying, especially around the chorus and (b) if you can divine any meaning to those words.

Also: there is a parody video that tries to explain the lyrics. Quite funny and well done, though a smidge NSFW. If you fire up the YouTubes, you can probably find it.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

30 Comments

Filed under 2 Music Video Monday

30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys

Hear me now and believe me later in the week: first impressions matter more than ever.

In the old days, you got to know people because they LIVED NEXT TO YOU, or because you saw them at the feed store when you saddled up Bessie and rode there on Saturdays.

Bessie the Horse - accept no alternatives.

Bessie the Horse - accept no alternatives.

These days, you can use the Twitter or the Book of Face to meet people around the world, except for North Korea and some other places where the Series of Tubes is illegal or whatever.

People make a first impression about your entire life in less than two nanoseconds, based on three tiny little things:

  • your profile photo
  • your handle
  • your bio

Sidenote:  If you don’t understand the headline  reference to Achy Breaky Big Mistakey, here’s the original Billy Ray Cyrus video and a link to Mullet Junky, which is guaranteed to make you feel better about your hair. Enjoy.

So, instead of giving you five big Twitter boo-boos, or seven, I’m giving you 30 dumb moves to avoid on the Twitter — ten no-no’s apiece when it comes to your profile photo, your handle and your bio.

I believe, deep in my soul, that ten times three equals thirty, or possibly 30, depending on whether you use the metric system and what edition of the AP Stylebook you sleep with.

Top 10 achy breaky big mistakeys with your profile photo

You see the worst ones on Facebook, but Twitter is not immune from wacky profile photos.

Do not:

1) Make the duck face

duckface collage or montage or whatever

A duckface collage or montage or whatever.

2) Try to be sexy

3) Flash gang signs with your hat on sideways

4) Show us your chest / cleavage / tattoos / how much you enjoy fake orange Oompa Loompa spray tanning (it makes you look like a reject from Jersey Shore)

5) Pretend to chug tequila or smoke the Biggest Blunt Known to Man

6) Make the duck face while trying to be sexy, flashing gang signs with your hat on sideways, showing us your tattoos and pretending to chug tequila

bad profile photo - drunk plus gang sign plus hat

And you thought I was kidding.

7) Use a self-portrait shot on your phone, using the mirror in the bathroom (we can tell, and yes, Mirror in the Bathroom is a good tune from the GROSSE POINT BLANK soundtrack)

8) Go with extreme close-up (I see your pores!) or incredible longshot (that might be a person, or Bigfoot) or a weird angle (up your nose)

bad profile pic

Making faces and trying unique camera angles is wonderful, except when it's not.

9) Use a shot with two / four / six different people and make us guess which one you might be

10) Wear sunglasses, hats and other accessories that make it impossible to tell if you’re a 12-year-old girl, a 35-year-old man or a wax dummy

bad profile photos

There is a gold mine of bad profile photos out there, though the Munich beermaid-gangsta making the duck face is my favorite.

Basically, don’t freak people out or make people guess who you are. And don’t try too hard.

Now, there are some variations that aren’t bad. Random photos and symbols are sometimes bad, but not always. If you’re a writer or editor, go ahead and use a photo of books as your profile shebang. Totally fine. Actors can use the Hollywood sign or the comedy and tragedy masks. WE TOTALLY GET THAT. But the weirder you get, the weirder your first impression will be.

Also: A huge STAR WARS geek can use Yoda as a profile photo. Just remember the first impression — even if you’re a 6-foot-tall redheaded supermodel — will be that you’re a short, 900-year-old frog-thing with wrinkled skin. It is not really a surprise, or remotely cool, for men to be use photos of  THE MATRIX, lightsabers, Captain Kirk or Call of Duty 17: Blowing Up Stuff on Mars.  Yet it is unexpected, and therefore kinda cool, for women to be into comic books, Spock, anime and all the things that would make you say “dorkahedron who lives in mom’s basement” if a man picked it for his profile shot. This is a paradox, and possibly unfair, but tough noogies. (My AP Stylebook is silent on the correct spelling of “noogies,” so by my reckoning, I’m establishing the correct spelling right here and now, for all time.)

Also-also: Quite true that I break some of the rules THAT I JUST INVENTED by having a weird angle (profile instead of straight on!) and two people in the photo instead of one, but it’s pretty clear from my name that I’m a Guy, and the other person is a Girl, and this was an easy and subtle thing to do rather than inserting a random “Yo, there’s a ring on it” in my bio.

Top 10 achy breaky big mistakes with your handle

Also known as your name, moniker, nickname, special badge for the Series of Tubes and “what Keanu Reeves is supposed to call you when you jack into the Matrix.”

This is more of a Twitter thing, though these 10 achy breaky big mistakeys also apply to what you pick as your email address, blog title — and any visible tattoo involving the alphabet rather than a drawing of Wolverine riding a My Little Pony.

Wolverine and his trusty steed, a My Little Pony.

Wolverine and his trusty steed, a My Little Pony, and yes, whoever got this tattoo is hilarious and/or insane.

Do not:

1) Use a handle that nobody can pronounce,  like “puqnI’loD,” the Klingon word for grandson (I looked that up at Klingon Language Institute, which actually exists, and this fact frightens me)

2) Throw in a bunch of slang numbers in your handle like “2legit2quit,” unless you are, in fact, MC Hammer

3) Use lots of random numbers, because who doesn’t want to be buddies with mike349829402?

4) Get your full first, middle, last name and favorite hobby in there, aka “lauraingridhasselbackLOVEShorses”

5) Use initials or whatever to nake it completely impossible to know whether you’re a man, woman or cyborg from the future sent to kill Sarah Connor (there is actual science here, and not just me spouting off, but that is a post for another day)

6) Be so obsessed with pimping your business / book / movie / album that your handle is simply the name of your business / book / movie / album, and once you move on to the next project, you’ll abandon that handle anyway

7) Put serious TMI into your handle, as in “singlemomthinksmenSTINK” or “stillunemployedyear3″ or “livinginmomsbasementplayingcallofdutyallday”

8) Get all lovey dovey with a handle that’s a bunch of mushy nonsense about your husband / wife / kid / dog / cat / ferret / horse / capuchin monkey / boa constrictor, as in “debbie+fluffy4evah”

9) Appropriate the name of a celebrity, unless it’s to make fun of Snooki, Jonathan Franzen, Charlie Sheen, Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump or any of the “Real Housewives of I Don’t Care” — and yes, you should follow @EmperorFranzen and @English50cent

10) Try to be funny with some kind of gag handle, a la Bart Simpson and “@ipfreeley”

Top 10 achy breaky mistakes with your bio

It’s hard to screw up when you only have 160-characters or whatever.

Despite this challenge, there are bazillions of bios out there which are assaults upon the English language and, left unchecked, will not only tear the very fabric of society, but will rip a hole in the space-time continuum, sending Jean-Claude Van Damme back in time to battle an ancient Schwarzenegger in TERMINATOR 9: NIGHTMARE AT THE NURSING HOME.

Do not:

1) Try to give your life history, in chronological order, using Every Abbreviation Known to Man

2) Claim to be a pro photographer / Olympic gymnast / black belt in jujitsu / supermodel / billionaire CEO / secret agent / Indy 500 driver / actor / bodyguard / author / consultant — we might believe two of those, maybe three if we’re drunk, but not six or nine

3) Throw in a bunch of wacky symbols and graphics that nobody understands, or use numb3rs & txtspk 2 say what8vr u cld say uzn wrds

4) Share intimate details that nobody needs to know, like how many times you’ve been married and divorced, how many kids you have or the nicknames of your seven most favorite cats

5) Treat the Twitter, the Book of Face or any other social media shebang like it’s a dating website, telling us what kind of partner you prefer and how you enjoy slow dances, long walks on the beach and all that nonsense — and as a bonus, here is the worst bio page ever

6) Expect us to believe you live on nine different continents by listing your “location” as “London, Moscow, Tokyo, Kenya, NYC, Antarctica, LA and the International Space Station” (yes, somebody is going to comment with a link to Wikipedia proving there are only seven continents)

7) Get all cute with your location by saying, “in limbo” or “everywhere but nowhere” or “right behind you”

8) Turn it into a resume with where you went to college, a summary of skills and your career goals

9) Making it completely obscure by writing it in French when you are NOT FRENCH AT ALL, using a Gertrude Stein poem instead of a bio, wussing out by using a quote from a famous person — or Capitalizing Every Word Of The Entire Bio While Not Understanding That People Actually Want To Be Able To Read The Stupid Thing Without Getting A Migraine

10) Trying to be shocking by saying insanely offensive things / packing all seven of the FCC’s seven dirty works in there / working very hard to make  your profile  form an obscene gesture using ASCII art nonsense

In the future

Will I  do the same sort of post for the Book of Face? Nope. Sorry. I do this for fun, and for free, and the Book of Face bores me now.

What if some billionaire obsessed with social media sent his people in black SUVs to deliver  suitcases stuffed with purple euros? Still a no. The Book of Face just seems clunky, complicated and old to me. Also, the stock may become worthless.

Pinterest, however, is different and new and exciting. Just joined it, and am playing around. I will try evil experiments and report back.

Also in the future: There will be robots that mow your lawn and sexy flying cars. Just wait. Are you done waiting? Here you go. If Daniel Craig doesn’t already have one of these, he’ll steal one this weekend.

Related posts:

Top 5 reasons why Twitter CRUSHES Facebook

You can pitch ANYTHING except quality

Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

Name recognition is KING; also, famous peoples doing it wrong

Why blog hits DON’T REALLY MATTER

The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books

Extra special bonus content: 

Thanks to my peoples on Twitter for links to more duck face goodness.

mona lisa is not immune from the duck face

Mona Lisa is not immune from the duck face trend.

duck face fail

Is it duckface or duck face? Not entirely sure. Also, don't care.

duck face craziness

Snooki's cousin, Ducki the hairstylist from Long Island.

knows she's attractive and therefore does NOT duck face.

Smart woman.

duck face prom photobomb starring young phil collins

A prom duck face, photobombed by a young and angry Phil Collins.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

45 Comments

Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes

Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

Hear me now and believe me later in the week:

  • flaws and quirks beat absolute perfection
  • the package matters more than the product
  • without legs, you are dead in the water

And now I’ll prove those three things to you with one word, a word that you will definitely recognize and understand.

Ready?

Here’s that word: SNOOKI.

Does the Snooki (real name: I don’t care) have flaws and quirks? Oh yes. Her flaws may be uncountable by modern science.

Conventional wisdom is that talent trumps all. This is America, right? The cream rises to the top. No way will somebody like Snooki get magazine covers.

snooki is pregnant! stop the presses

The Snooki, she is pregnant! Stop the presses!

HOWEVER: Just a few miles from the Jersey Shore are 5.82 bazillion Broadway actresses who have more talent, beauty and brains in their pinky fingers than Snooki and all her castmates combined. Some of these Broadway stars approach perfection, being triple threats who can sing, dance and act while looking like supermodels.

Talent alone, though, doesn’t make them into stars.

Are they hidden gems? Not so much. They’re on Broadway, seen by millions of locals and tourists in one of the biggest media markets in the world.

If the people who place all of their faith in the viral power of the Series of Tubes were right, all that overwhelming talent plus a few tweets and YouTube videos would be launching people from Broadway into the stratosphere, week after week.

Except that doesn’t happen.

Instead, we have People covers of Snooki getting pregnant and in-depth interviews about Basketball Wives or whatever.

Let’s figure out the how and why of this. Then let’s put our evil knowledge to use.

Flaws and quirks beat absolute perfection

In the old days, back when we had these things called “papers of news,” some papers ran an interesting contest. Out of a page full of photos of pretty women, the game was picking not your favorite, but the photo you predicted OTHER READERS would choose.

Much more interesting. In the first case, it’s your preference. Maybe you like blondes with short hair. Who knows? Who cares?

The second question — which photo will readers choose? — is quite good. It takes brainpower.

And it’s the same game played by Hollywood talent scouts, music industry execs, literary agents and model agencies. Put yourself in the shoes of a diverse audience, young and old, city slickers and cowboys. Now bet your career and livelihood by picking not who you like the best, but who you think PEOPLE YOU DON’T KNOW will pay money to like.

With the old newspaper contests, readers went with quirks and flaws. If there was only one redhead on the page, picking her was smart. Because she stood out.

Think about some of the most famous supermodels. Lauren Hutton had a big gap between her teeth. Cindy Crawford had her mole.

Lauren Hutton, model, icon

Lauren the Hutton, model and icon.

When everybody seems equally perfect and wonderful, a little quirk or flaw makes them interesting, lets them stand out from the crowd and gives the audience somebody to identify with, because average Joe and Jane Sixpack aren’t perfect, either.

A related idea is that quirks and flaws — even train wrecks — attract attention.

If you’re perfectly talented and perfectly balanced and sane, you’ll never make the news for (a) getting married and divorced every 72 days, (b) having spats with other stars, (c) being arrested for being a drunken idiot or (d) going into rehab.

Robert Downey, Jr. is the perfect example of this.

Downey is a supremely talented actor. If he had a perfect personal life, you might hate him. You’d want to see him brought down to earth off his pedestal of perfection. On the other hand, if Downey was drinking Charlie Sheen‘s tiger blood nonsense, you’d dismiss him as an idiot. Instead, people admire Downey for getting clean and sober, because everybody loves a redemption story. He still has an edge — plus flaws and quirky charm — but he’s no Sheen, who’s turned into a punchline.

Contrast also works. If you see somebody who looks great, it raises expectations. Time after time, an ugly duckling has shown up on stage at Britain’s Got Talent, underwhelming anyone watching until they opened their mouths and MADE PEOPLE CRY.

Here is Paul Notts, who definitely played the part of the ugly duckling. And the crowd loves him.

The package matters more than the product

The average person in the 1970s was exposed to about 500 ads per day. Today, it’s up to 5,000 ads per day, all professionally designed by Don Draper  to persuade you that yes, you have to buy that widget RIGHT NOW.

What Would Don Draper Do? He'd light a cigarette and have martini.

What Would Don Draper Do? He’d light a cigarette and have a martini.

It’s no exaggeration to say that a 1 percent response rate isn’t failure at all. That’s pretty dang good.

If the pros are happy to get something like 1 percent, don’t think that you are somehow immune from the mathematics. Your package has to be amazing to break through all that clutter.Because people are more media savvy than ever. They have to be. If people weren’t such hard targets, they’d blow the mortgage money on a garage full of Shamwows, Fat Magnets and DVD’s of the Brazilian Butt Lift.

This is why you can’t think, “I have 15,000 blog readers and 22,000 Twitter follows, so if they all buy my book / album / black velvet portraits of dogs dressed like Elvis, I’m home free.” Because 1 percent or less is far more likely.

Packaging is so important that it actually subverts true talent. I’ll let somebody smarter than me explain.

Malcolm Gladwell tells a great story in BLINK about classical musicians in professional symphonies. Used to be, the conductor watched people try out. Then he picked who’d be first violin and all that.

For the sake of fairness, symphonies switched to having musicians play behind a screen. You couldn’t see who it was. What they sound like is all that mattered anyway, right?

This little change turned classical music upside down.

Conductors freaked out, because they were picking women for manly instruments like the tuba, stuff that women couldn’t possibly have the strength or lung power to play.

Also, some people looked terrible when they played, but sounded great.

Other people were good-looking and looked great when they played, but they actually sounded bad, when you couldn’t see them.

The screen turned off the connection between our eyes, our ears and our brain.

It’s the same thing that happens when you’re sick and can’t smell. Food tastes entirely differently. Taste isn’t all in the tongue.

Here’s the other thing: a conductor can tell the difference between a room packed with world-class violinists, but you and I can’t. A professional food taster can tell you insane things about packages of Oreos, down to which factory produced the additives and flavorings. A scout for the New York Jets could talk to you for hours about how Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are totally different quarterbacks, but to you and me, all we know is they’re both really good and that Peyton has a younger brother who looks like he’s still 12 and plays for the New Jersey/A football team.

Eli Manning, the only 12-year-old to win a Super Bowl ring.

Eli Manning, the only 12-year-old to win a Super Bowl ring. HE IS AMAZING.

The intricate technical details about how each quarterback handles seven-step drops when facing a corner blitz, well, that’s beyond our ken.

Sidenote: I don’t even know if “ken” is a word anymore.

The point is, when we’re talking about the top 1 percent of talented people, doing whatever those talented people do, the package is more important than the product.

That’s because the professionals who pick winners and losers do have strong opinions, often about technical, high-level stuff, but those opinions actually don’t matter at all to the people WHO MATTER MOST, which is you and me, Joe and Jane Consumer, the people who’ll buy the movie tickets / books about sparkly vampires (please don’t) / music singles on iTunes.

The only opinions that matter are the uneducated ones. That’s the trouble.

We don’t care that professionals in the music industry say Madonna and sixteen other pop princesses have weak voices. Our eyes are hooked up to our brain, which also communicates with our ears. The whole package matters, not just the voice. So the showmanship of Madonna makes her a star when a zillion other singers, with better pipes, fail.

Unlike the symphony tryouts, there is no screen in real life.

You can take it further. There are all kinds of actresses, including Lindsey Lohan and Selena Gomez, who put out albums that sell. It’s because their name ID is crazy high. They know how the publicity game works. And so they get more attention, and sales, than musicians with far more talent, toiling in obscurity.

A great package + poor talent beats great talent + poor packaging.

The same is true of actors, writers and artists. This is why obscure artists suddenly sell all kinds of paintings and such when they die. Their name is finally in the news. They’re getting exposure and attention.

People finally see the package, and that leads to them looking at the product for the first time.

Without legs, you are dead in the water

Though I kinda sorta hate reality TV, it is the best possible laboratory for testing evil theories about media and publicity.

The structure of different reality shows makes stars out of people like Snooki and Kim Kardashian while denying fame and fortune to other people with more actual talent and potential.

Here’s why: legs.

Survivor is one of the original reality TV hits, and you probably remember the first guy who won it, the naked man, David Hatch, right? (I am not certain about his first name, and yes, the Series of Tubes would tell me, but I believe “naked man” and “Hatch” is close enough.)

Hatch was an interesting villain, and villains stick in our head better than heroes. But aside from getting in the news for going to prison (train wreck!), Hatch pretty much disappeared.

Same thing with Rupert, a bearded pirate hero full of mirth and charm who was on Survivor: Some Island Where It is Hot. A great character. Should have been a star. But except for some kind of Survivor All-Star thing, Rupert also disappeared.

Why? Because the structure of Survivor doesn’t give anybody legs. Except for the rare times they bring back people for a second go, you are one-and-done.

Jersey Shore, Basketball Wives and even the crazy stuff on Discovery (Mythbusters, Storage Wars, Southern Men Who Put Their Hands Into Swamps to Catch Man-Eating Catfish) have given us breakout stars not because those people are far more talented. It’s because the structure of those shows gives them legs.

They aren’t one-and-done. The people on those shows are on the Glowing Tube season after season.

And it is no mistake that we’re talking entirely about the Glowing Tube so far.

Movies are typically one shots. Unless you’re in a crazy successful series like STAR WARS or HARRY POTTER, a movie doesn’t typically have enough legs to get you even to Snooki status. You need movie after movie for that.

This is why TV is king.

Why? Because unlike all other forms of media, the Glowing Tube automatically generates all kinds of extra coverage in newspapers and magazines, blogs and radio, social media and regular old water cooler BSing.

Not accidentally.

Automatically.

Sure, they talk about movies and books a little on the radio when I drive to work, but mostly, they’re talking about TV shows. Mad Men, Survivor, American Idol.

So let’s look at American Idol for a second. Actual talent. Big exposure. But it’s one-and-done, right? That should blow my evil theory out of the water.

Except the producers of American Idol understand that their newborn and freshly hatched stars needed steady exposure. They understand the need for legs. So after the season is over, not only does the winner (and some also-rans) have albums released in a hurry. They also send the winner and runner-ups on a big long concert tour.

The reverse is not true. Being in the newspaper or on the radio doesn’t automatically get you on TV.

Are there exceptions? Sure. Scott Adams and the comic strip Dilbert are a great exception. He writes best-selling books now. He had some kind of Dilbert cartoon on TV.  This, however, is rare.

Being on a TV show, season after season, makes you a household name. TV exposure has launched some of the biggest movie stars (Michael J. Fox, George Clooney, Tom Hanks and 16.9 zillion other people I don’t need to name).

Recurring guest spots on Oprah have generated entire careers for Dr. Phil, the Dog Whisperer, Dr. Oz and 283 other people I’m not listing.

The next time you’re at the doctor’s office, pick up a copy of PEOPLE or US and count how many photos and articles feature (a) Hollywood actors, (b) pop stars, (c) reality TV stars versus (d) authors, reporters, cartoonists, politicians, dentists, plumbers or radio hosts.

I put a lot of people in (d), and even then, (d) won’t add up to much. If I were truly evil, I’d make it unfair by saying “authors not named J.K. Rowling or Stephen King.”

So: this is complicated, but not rocket science.

  • Flaws and quirks give people a hook, a way to stand out. Instead of saying, “You know, the pretty supermodel” or “That singer, the one who sings well,” you can say, “The amazing model with the gap between her teeth” or “That ugly British frog who sings opera that makes you cry” and PEOPLE GET IT.
  • The package is what people see first. If they never see it, you have no chance. If a great product is wrapped in bad packaging, you have no chance. And yes, a bad product in amazing packaging will beat true talent and brilliance. So work on the packaging, no matter what type of artist you are. Then work on it some more. Because you will live and die by the package.
  • Exposure is great, but you need legs. Even if you’re on TV, which is the King of All Media, and which automatically generates coverage in all other forms of media. Yes, Internet Boy, the Glowing Tube is even more powerful than the Series of Tubes. Sorry. All true.

Related reading for people who enjoy seeing conventional wisdom get all blown up, Michael-Bay style:

The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books

Forget the Twitter: free ink and airtime are your MOST DANGEROUS WEAPONS

Using free ink and airtime to BUST THROUGH

Why blog hits DON’T REALLY MATTER

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes

Friendly Friday: Theresa Stevens, Glowing Mystical Being

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away … I wrote a love letter to editors.

You can read it here: The evil secret to ALL WRITING – editing is everything

And in that post, I called editor Theresa Stevens “a glowing, mystical being.”

Now, it is true that Theresa the Stevens is a professional editor of novels, and her red pen is wickedly sharp.

HOWEVER, you don’t go straight from “editor of novels and former literary agent” to “glowing, mystical being.” It takes a couple of paragraphs to get that far. In fact, these paragraphs:

If you really want to write for monies, and pay the mortgage doing it, you’ve got to go all in with an editor who wields their Red Pen of Doom for monies, too. Not your husband or wife or best friend. Not a coworker. Not a friend who also writes something sort of close to what you’re doing, even if they write for monies. You need somebody who edits for cash.

It’s an achy breaky big mistakey to use a non-pro as your editor. Friends and family may be great readers of books but horrible at editing. Either way, you’ll take what they say far too personally.

Dreams will be crushed. Friendships will fray. Marriages will sour. DO NOT DO THIS.

Even if you’re friends with somebody who writes for a living, and they say sure, they’ll edit you as a favor, that might be OK for one small piece. A short story. Your first shot at a stump speech. But not anything of length. And not as a habit. When you start cashing checks for what you write, stop being a freeloader. Set your friend free. Better yet, don’t lean on the friend too much in the first place. Because they’re your friend. They won’t tell you if you truly stink up the joint.

Think about how long it takes a human being to write and rewrite and rewrite a novel and synopsis and query letter. Hundreds of hours. Bazillions. Think about paying yourself minimum wage for those hours. Then close your eyes and imagine there’s a glowing mystical being who, for the price of the complete first and second seasons of The Jersey Shore on DVD, could save yourself hundreds of more hours of pain while making you (a) seem incredibly brilliant and (b) have ten times the shot of not only getting the damn thing published, but making decent money at it.

I’ve been writing for monies for a long time, and I’ve had all kinds of editors. Good ones, average ones — and a few amazing ones. Theresa the Stevens is a treasure of an editor.

So, writers of the world: go to Theresa’s blog to soak up her wisdom, and follow her on the Twitter, because she is funny there.

Bloggity blog goodness: http://edittorrent.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @TheresaStevens

Show her that the series of tubes isn’t full of trolls, and that we writers know a good thing — especially a Glowing Mystical Being — when we see it.

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Filed under 6 Friendly Friday, Barons of the Blogosphere, Worthy citizens of the Twitterverse

The evil truth about reality stars like Snooki and The Situation

I marvel at how people like Snooki and The Situation and the Kardashian sisters are famous, or infamous, though they wouldn’t know the difference if you flew in a Harvard linguist professor to explain it to them every morning.

Snooki has a book deal. The Kardashian sisters have clothing lines and money coming out of their ears.

The Situation swimming in some of the $5 million he made this year. Next year, he'll make more, and with all that money, he  plans to buy a lifetime supply of spray tan, the latest Abdominizer and this little country called Canada. Sorry, Caanda, but get ready to study up on the GTL lifestyle.

The joker who calls himself The Situation in on track to earn $5 million this year.

I have witnessed episodes from the first season of Jersey Shore by using the power of the internets, and I have come to an epiphany.

These people are not making scads of money, scoring book deals and dancing badly on “Dancing With A Few Stars and A Bunch of Other Schmucks” in spite of their obvious handicaps in the areas of brains and common sense.

Just up the road from the beaches of New Jersey are thousands of people on Broadway who can sing, dance and act. Many of them are gorgeous. In every way, they are clearly superior to the reality stars picked by producers to invade our lives. So why aren’t they making $5 million a year and getting on the covers of all the tabloids?

Let it be known: These reality stars are not chosen and elevated in spite of their lack of common sense. They are famous precisely BECAUSE OF this very flaw.

Normal, well-adjusted people are boring. They don’t make for exciting television.

If a film crew followed you or me around for 24 hours, they wouldn’t get footage of four random hookups, two screaming matches and a bar fight. They’d get film of us driving to work, doing our jobs and fighting traffic on the way home to have dinner. If you’ve got pookies, maybe you take them to soccer or baseball or whatever. If you’re young and single, maybe you catch Arcade Fire if they’re in town.

You would not spend three hours showering, spray tanning and doing your hair to get ready to go clubbing, then get into a bar fight.

You would not steal your roommates latest girlfriend, as they have been a steady item for at least 48 hours, which is a record. You would not drink all of the booze in the house and call your father at 3 a.m. while you were crying and whining about your boyfriend being pissed about that fact that you slept with a roommate or three.

You would not not order pizza and tell the pizza man that your last name is Situation and your first name is The.

And therefore you do not have, and will never have, a reality show. So there.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong

The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books

Twitter isn’t built to sell books. Or anything else.

Yet if you belong to the Twitter, you see all sorts of authors pimping their books.

Some do it subtly, or randomly. Others do it faithfully, if not relentlessly.

And even if they mount a full Social Networking Offensive — a combined-forced attack with tweets on the ground, blog battleships at sea and Facebook fighter planes swooping down from above — even if they do all that, they will fail.

Attack of the Internet Fanboys

Oh, this is sacrilege. I know it.

Internet Fanboys believe that the Twitter, the Book of Face, blogs, the entire series of tubes — hey, that’s the future. Old Media is so wrinkled and, I don’t know, old. They say, “Social media once was the student, and now it is the master. If you only KNEW the power of the Dark Side…”

Except they’re wrong. No matter how much you want it to work, how hard you squeeze your eyes and reach for that Internet lightsaber, it doesn’t fly through the air and into your hand. Even when you pick it up and push the button, nothing happens.

Faith isn’t enough.

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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes, Viral media math