September 19, 2012
Megan Garber has a great piece at The Atlantic on how Newsweek’s cynical ploy to use the #muslimrage hashtag to promote its cover was turned on its head. Newsweek has become a troll and people are all too well aware of it.
Newsweek didn’t give any indication that its incitement to discussion was motivated by a desire for anything beyond pageviews and newsstand sales. So its audience met it where it was, in that glib place of low expectations. But they turned the magazine’s own cynicism into something better — something funny and meaningful and insightful and real.
The lesson, it should go without saying, is that if we expect to engage with readers, we should be genuine and authentic about it. If we try to game the system, they’ll game it right back at us.