The New York Post has an incredible review today of a Trust Me, I’m Lying, a book by an unscrupulous pr man who uses social media to manipulate the press. This is a must-read for journalists. Some of the ploys will feel familiar to anyone who has dealt regularly with public relations reps — both the good and the bad. But the story of Ryan Holiday is uniquely creepy, especially his manipulation of the blogosphere and social media. Holiday preys on journalists who are either too lazy, overwhelmed, inexperienced, or too anxious to win readers to catch his scams. Reviewer Larry Getlen writes:
Websites make their money by selling ads that are evaluated by the number of pageviews they receive, putting bloggers under constant pressure to produce as many clickable posts as possible. …
Given this environment, Holiday says that spreading one’s own agenda can be as easy as sending carefully tailored e-mails from a fake address or via some other false pretense, techniques that Holiday has used frequently.
Once, when he wanted certain legal information about American Apparel widely circulated, he alerted several bloggers, who responded with a collective yawn. So he wrote a fake internal memo and e-mailed those same bloggers posing as a low-level company employee, with the note: “memo we’d just gotten from our boss.” The same blogs that rejected the official news, he says, now covered it with a big “EXCLUSIVE!” tag across the top.
Can’t see anyone in this story comes out looking particularly well.