February 14, 2020

Article went viral. Then a Twitter mob attacked

Harry Dry @harrydry

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.

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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:

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Fortunately my sponsor saw sense. Cheers SEOBuddy:

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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.

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