Everyone is always complaining that the drama and controversy is ‘all about the traffic’ — that the only reason people take controversial stands on the internet is to stir up noise and get lots and lots of attention. I’ve been saying for years that it’s not true; you can get brief flurries of traffic by highlighting some infuriating topic, but it doesn’t really build an audience.
And now I learn the true recipe, and that I’ve clearly been doing it all wrong. Michael Nugent did a rough experiment to evaluate the popularity of sexist jokes, assessing the popularity of two pages with the same joke, but different photos.
…the joke with the sexist photo has received more than 43,000 likes and 24,000 shares.
But the exact same joke has also been posted on a different Facebook Page, without the sexist photo, and has received only 53 likes and 18 shares.
Taking into account that the first page has nearly four times the audience as the second page, that means that the joke is 200 times more popular when accompanied by the sexist photo.
Well, you can’t really make that kind of quantitative measure: traffic growth isn’t usually trivially linear. But clearly if I want more traffic, I have to stop promoting minority issues and begin pandering to social dogma, so I’m going to have to make a few changes around here.
The Monday Metazoan is going to become the Monday Meat Market, in which I post a photo of a bikini clad woman and encourage people to comment on her appearance (Send in your pictures! Or better yet, pictures of your ex-girlfriend!). The Wednesday Botanical will be the Wednesday Flower, where flower is a euphemism for female genitalia: we’ll be showing off gynecological closeups. We’ll still keep the squid around, sort of, for the Friday Cephalopod, but now it’ll be Tentacle Rape Friday, with nothing but hentai clips.
I know it will be tough on the regulars, and many of you might depart and never look back, but hey, 43000 ‘likes’ on one lousy joke? Think of the money! And all I’d have to do is throw away my self-respect and spend the next few years hanging out on the internet with assholes.
That’s how you get lots of hits on the internet. I’ve just been wasting my time calling out religious nonsense and sexism. (Hmmm…I could also suck up to religious people, there’s a big traffic base.)