Article went viral. Then a Twitter mob attacked

A couple of days ago I published my most successful marketing article ever. It was about the genius of Lil Nas X marketing strategy.

The twitter thread ended up with more than 7000 likes. It also ended up the 3rd most upvoted post of all time on Reddit's entrepreneur forum.

I was at my parents house when I published the article. We were in the kitchen looking at the numbers go up literally every second. It was surreal. This was the 46th marketing case study I've written. Lucky 46!

Before, I went to bed I checked my phone one last time. Boy, was that mistake. A stream of angry messages stared back at me. It took me a while to work out what was going on.

Basically, another Twitter user had written a thread about the same topic a few months earlier. She'd then seem my thread, thought I'd stolen her work, and proceeded to set the attack dogs on me.

alt text

In reality:

  • I'd never seen her thread before
  • Hundreds of articles have been written about Lil Nas X's meteoric rise before. She wasn't the first. I won't be the last.
  • You can't own the rights to a story. That's like saying that only one article can ever be written about Tesla's marketing!

But that's not how “the mob” operates. It takes 5 seconds to reply, “You stole the article ...” And 5 minutes to read both threads and realise that aside from the title, they tell the story in a very different way.

I thought about blocking them, I thought about direct messaging them, I thought about replying with reason. But, you cannot change an opinion using logic if logic wasn't used to form the opinion in the first place. Anything I said would fuel them. So I went with the radio silence approach.

I thought maybe it would slow, but I woke up the next day and the stream of hate kept coming. They even messaged my sponsor trying to to get them to cut ties:

alt text

Fortunately my sponsor saw sense. Cheers SEOBuddy:

alt text

Enough was enough. I left my phone in the cookie jar, went outside into the sunlight, then into a nearby park. I said hello to a few dog walkers, they smiled, said hello back and I was reminded that humans are alright after all.

It's a 24 hour news cycle. They'd done their best to cancel me, and now I'm sure they've moved onto their next next victim.

When all said and done, worse things have happened at sea. Social media isn't real. I've started to smile about the whole thing. It toughened me up.

“The dogs bark, and the caravan goes by” — Jose Mourinho

(thanks @Arsawatt for the quote)

Viva Marketing Examples. Only way to take me out is to nail me to canvas! Cause the party isn't stopping. Thanks for reading. And enjoy Friday.

  1. 27

    This was annoying to see, especially since your thread was completely different than hers. I can't imagine anyone who actually read them concluding that yours was stolen.

    Anyway, you've been crushing it on Twitter. Onwards!

    1. 1

      "I can't imagine anyone who actually read them concluding that yours was stolen." - I think it's very interesting phenomena which can be used somehow? What do you think was the driving force for was folks? I've scroll the thread and there are plenty of people who where trying to "restore justice". It looks like pre-existing strong dissatisfaction were just relieve that way. And because relief was the motivation, there were no reasons to read actual threads not to try think logically. Does anyone know a good materials to read more about it?

      1. 5

        In my opinion: Most people walk around with a political axe to grind, so when they see an opportunity, they're eager to start grinding it. Combine that with basic human tendencies toward laziness (it's easier to read a headline than an article), groupishness (we tend to blindly trust what other people like us are a saying), and moralizing (our impulse to publicly shame those we deem rule-breakers), and you get Twitter mobs.

    2. 1

      Cheers Courtland. Onwards indeed

  2. 19

    It's hilarious how "the offended" focus on the "white man - black woman" part

    1. -8

      This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

      1. 8

        Yeah, I guess online harassment is okay if done to white people, because some white people used to do slavery. Is black on black harassment allowed, because black people also owned slaves? Get a grip, dude. He's nitpicking the only part that enables her to do this. If it was anyone else doing this cyberbullying, they would be called out.

        1. 0

          See now you’re just putting words in my mouth and diverging from my point into me supposedly approving that woman’s behaviour or her point.

          All I said tread carefully when mocking even a mere idea of cultural appropriation in any way, shape or form.

    2. 1

      This comment was deleted a year ago.

  3. 17

    Just remember what Ricky Gervais said:

    "Trolls don't hate you. They hate themselves. They're in pain & you getting upset is like their morphine. Don't administer. Enjoy the screams."

    Keep up the good work Harry, you're helping a lot of people.

    1. 3

      big up ricky gervais. big fan. and great quote. thank you fort the support.

    1. 8

      Insane sense of entitlement. How selfish does one have to be to create a campaign for such a ridiculously inappropriate reason.

      Her tweet and behavior isn't surprising at all, this woman has no shame.

    2. 1

      i saw this. and actually i was planning a big write up on my own blog. Then I saw she'd been involved in a car accident. I didn't know the severity. So I laid off publishing and wrote it here instead. Didn't want to provoke someone “frail” and I could just see it going south.

      In hindsight maybe I should have went harder for it. Judging by the IH reception the story could have taken off, but live and let live.

  4. 15

    “The dogs bark because we gallop”

    ― Cervantes

    1. 15

      So Mourinho stole the quote!
      Let me tweet him quickly

    2. 1

      There's a misconception that Cervantes coined this phrase but some say it was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and some say it comes from the Middle East. So there's no certain origin of it.

    3. 1

      I love this quote. Jose Mourinho said a variant of it, once in a press conference and I'll never forget it.

      Just editing the post to add it. Don't tweet me for stealing it.

      1. 1

        It’s an expression from Arabic origin also used in French. Don’t worry you’re safe 😉

  5. 7

    I loved this:

    "I left my phone in the cookie jar, went outside into the sunlight, then into a nearby park. I said hello to a few dog walkers, they smiled, said hello back and I was reminded that humans are alright after all."

    Probably something we should all do more often

    1. 2

      Cheers and easier said than done. For 24 hours before that I was pacing round the house, getting upset about it.

  6. 7

    I hope the positives far outweighed the negatives!

    1. 5

      They did. If you said: your site grows a lot and you get a couple of days of unjust hate on Twitter, I'd have taken it for sure!

      1. 2

        This comment was deleted a month ago.

        1. 1

          thank you arrigo! I know crazy stuff!

  7. 5

    For every person who throws hate at you, there are thousands who wait for your case studies. I literally light up when a see a notification on my phone. Never been so eager to open my mail. Your storytelling is very engaging. Keep doing what you're doing mate.

    1. 2

      Thank you. That's really cool. Glad you like them :)

  8. 4

    The viral thing is absolutely bonkers. I went viral a couple of years ago for some political tweets, and the whole experience was surreal and kind of scary. The dopamine hit I got from seeing the numbers roll in is the closest thing I've experienced to drugs without actually doing drugs. And then there's the absolutely insane corners of the internet you get exposed to as a side-effect. People pick things up, inject their own context and slide what you're saying into their own narrative and story. All of sudden you're sucked in, invested emotionally in something you were nearly none the wiser to.

    I don't think there's any better way to handle it than to put your phone down and do something else. As soon as you put your phone down you realize that to some extent all of this is virtual, an invented, constructed reality that we make a choice to participate in, and let it affect our emotional emotional state in the real world. I think the Matrix is an often overused metaphor, but it feels super fucking real in this context. It's incredibly visceral and powerful to be in the middle of it.

    The silver lining is the people who crusade on these instances of invented virtual outrage typically move on to something else fairly quickly, and it all goes away. It is very much, as you said, the 24 hour news cycle.

    Love what you put out into the world @harrydry, keep it up dude 👊

    1. 1

      Enjoyed reading this. Cheers Alex.

  9. 4

    "Enough was enough. I left my phone in the cookie jar, went outside into the sunlight, then into a nearby park. I said hello to a few dog walkers, they smiled, said hello back and I was reminded that humans are alright after all."

    This is just the best part. It's just hard getting your mind of it.

  10. 3

    An "influencer" with 4.5K followers? Total joke. Hope you clicked on the 'report for racism' button before moving on!

  11. 2

    Haters gonna hate Harry.

    I remember seeing some of their comments when it happened, like "you literally copy and pasted this from NotLaja". I checked both threads and was very confused. There was absolutely nothing copied.

    Forget them bro. Onwards and upwards for you 😎

    1. 1

      Thank you man - keep smashing OneUp. MRR is inspiring!

  12. 2

    I'm sorry this happened to you @harrydry :( People really suck sometimes and I'm glad you found a way to not let it get to you too much. Kudos to SEOBuddy for backing you up!

    1. 1

      Thank you Uno. Appreciated.

  13. 2

    Hope to see another article about the aftermath of an angry mob (even if it was unjustified) with some insights on the acquisitions, traffic conversion. A question that comes to mind a lot when people say “there is no bad publicity” is how much traffic from these situations converts in comparison to another article of yours with no hate comments on it.

  14. 2

    Dude, this is nuts. Thanks for sharing the experience, I’m very impressed with how you dealt with it. People need to be careful what they say, not everyone would have taken it so well. Cookie jars at the ready people! 🍪

    1. 2

      Cheers Ed - Appreciated

  15. 2

    Ugh, cancel culture.

    FWIW, saw the tweet thread in question in an email from Noah Kagan the other day, awesome job!

    1. 1

      Cheers - I got some messages about that. Was nice for him to include it.

  16. 2

    I didn't really know about you before this, now you have my full support.

    Your content is excellent. Maybe some good will come from all this :)

    1. 1

      Haha! Cheers Mathias - Appreciated. I agree, some good will come

  17. 2

    Os cães ladram e a caravana passa

  18. 2

    "Worse things have happened at sea" So true.

    We have had our fair share of angry mobs too and it can be really painful. I just wish I was as cool and calm as you Harry. Keep up the content game, really love it!

  19. 1

    yes i knew about it but the point is your well knowledge article that you written in the details it will help me a lot bcz i am working on the same project you can see here https://paintartdiamonds.com/

  20. 1

    It takes way more time to make something then it does to tear it down. I'm glad you didn't let it rattle you. For context somebody thought they invented totchos (nacho tots) and accused Sonic of stealing the idea and implementing it all within a month, like they can move that fast lol

  21. 1

    Hi Harry,

    I'm a subscriber to Marketing Examples, and I read that article, and thought it was great!

    Sorry you had to deal with this. Thanks for sharing the experience. Keep up the good work!

    -- Chad

  22. 1

    I experienced the same. My tweet was on a much smaller topic but got pickup by some SJW and ended up being an attack on the fact that I'm also a white male. Apparently the fact that making gender and skin colour a "guilt" is racism as well, don't faze these people.

    I ended up changing my twitter to something more generic than my picture and creating another twitter account for when I comment on things that are "touchy" but... honestly, I'm using twitter less and less thanks to this kind of behaviour.

  23. 1

    I got @'d and DM's from their trolls, saying that you had stolen the content ( I RT'd).
    The good news is, you didnt.
    The best news is, your content is solid, your track record is great, and any publicity is good publicity (and HEY! it was free!)

  24. 1

    This is exactly the kind of visceral response you’d want anyways. Fabulous work.

  25. 1

    Someone could launch Angry Mob as a Service (AMaaS)
    🤷‍♂️ So Harry could fire back whilst blissfully wandering around at the dog park 🐕 🌳

  26. 1

    A Twitter mob attacked?!?!?!?!?

    I have been on the receiving end of at least 2 such attacks. Message me if you need to vent or a sympathetic ear.

  27. 1

    Well done Harry. The knuckle draggers walk out of the house every day waiting to be triggered. Useless dregs of society.

  28. 1

    But, you cannot change an opinion using logic if logic wasn't used to form the opinion in the first place.


  29. 1

    nice. you handled it well

  30. 1

    Overall, a net win for you. Your post is now a lot more popular and I am sure got a lot more hits.

  31. 1

    I feel for you mate but I disagree with your comment “social media isn’t real”. Social media is VERY real for the many people now who have had their lives (at best) affected in a negative way and (at worst) completely ruined by the twitter mob.

    I don’t know what the answer is but trial bu social media is very real thing these days and it’s really really dangerous.

    What if.... just what if... you’d just signed a book deal, it landed a big role at a big company etc and someone saw this and wasn’t as rational as your current sponsor?

    It’s all mental.

    1. 3

      I think we're more on the same page than you think.

      Social media has affected my life in a way. It's a massive source of traffic to my website.

      But we're shaved chimps on a blue ball spinning around a larger ball of fire. Social media is made up. It isn't real life. Hunting elk is real life.

  32. 1

    You have my full support @harrydry. The haters will unfortunately always be more vocal on the Internet than the vast majority of people who may not say anything, but actually do support and appreciate the work that you do.

  33. 1

    Hey dude, all I can say is it comes with the territory. EVERY time I get a successful article on Reddit, the haters comes thick and fast.

    I can't believe they tried to derail your sponsorship!? Nuts.

    My policy is to just ignore. Don't give them oxygen.

    Here's another way to put it... when people used to diss Jay Z - it was known that Jay Z was 'too big to respond' : )

    You have to take this approach, otherwise you'll burn up precious time and headspace on the haters. You don't want that.

    Keep doing what you're doing @harrydry

  34. 1

    Half of the angry tweets look like they are posted by bots to be honest. Why would they even bring race into discussion? It's like the time when the Twitter AI bot was stopped because it started to become racist and nazist.

    I don't know what the best solution is to this, there are crazy/angry people in the world, I think once you got their attention it's hard to stop them, you can't really reason with them and ignoring them might be a double-edged sword.

  35. 1

    Fascinating. And yes. I agree. The best way to deal with Twitter-poop is to put up your umbrella and ignore it. However, had your Sponsor been intimidated then they'd have done some serious damage. And in that sense, it's an evil that we call could do without. But Twitter Mobs are like a force of nature at this point. You can't stop them. All you can do is bundle up and brace yourself for storm. Fortunately for you, this storm blew over quickly because your sponsor is a human being, not a cog.

  36. 1

    Twitter is a cesspool and I don't think anyone has actually been canceled by a twitter mob because everyone sorta just knows how dumb it is. Sorry that happened to you.

  37. 1

    There's nothing worse than people who make inaccurate accusations about people publicly without even knowing the truth.

    You should sue her for slander, stress, emotional suffering/distress just to teach her a lesson. It's not the best use of one's time or energy, but there must be some way to force people to think twice before posting BS.

  38. 1

    Oh man I wouldn't know what to do in that situation. Glad you went silence - it's try ANYTHING you said would've added fuel for them.

  39. 1

    Hey Harry, so sorry to read what happened to you. The mob is awful. You are doing great work. You won't be canceled. Keep it up!

    1. 1

      Thank you Michaela!

  40. 1

    Good call to stay quiet I bet. It always seems like the end-of-the-world in a PR crisis like this one, a lot of the time it turns out that it passes quickly.

    1. 1

      I think I agree. Didn't want to Prince Andrew it.

      But I also think not clearing anything up had problems as well. Perhaps if I tried to explain myself, they'd have eased up. We'll never know.

  41. 2

    This comment was deleted a year ago.

  42. 2

    This comment was deleted a year ago.

    1. 1

      It's sad but, it's true man.

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