There’s an interesting post mortem on the rise and fall of the clickbait liberalism site Mic.com, that attracted an alleged 65 million unique visitors on the strength of Woketastic personal stories like “5 Powerful Reasons I’m a (Male) Feminist,” “An Open Letter to the Pope From a Gay Man,” and “An Open Letter to Abercrombie and Fitch from a Formerly Homeless Kid.”
While the article would like to attribute the site’s fall in traffic to the insincerity of Mic’s owners interest in social justice (they weren’t interested in really being outraged over injustice, just in monetizing other people’s outrage), what struck me most was this section:
This Facebook-driven success was no accident. Every time Mic had a hit, it would distill that success into a formula and then replicate it until it was dead. Successful “frameworks,” or headlines, that went through this process included “Science Proves TK,” “In One Perfect Tweet TK,” “TK Reveals the One Brutal Truth About TK,” and “TK Celebrity Just Said TK Thing About TK Issue. Here’s why that’s important.” At one point, according to an early staffer who has since left, news writers had to follow a formula with bolded sections, which ensured their stories didn’t leave readers with any questions: The intro. The problem. The context. The takeaway.
And it’s obvious and unremarkable at one level that the Great a-Woke-ening of the 2010s was driven in large part by the rise of social media, that affected revered Old Media like the New York Times as much as cynical startups like Mic.com: