Trust me, I’m lying. That’s the title of a sensational new book by Ryan Holiday, a self-styled “media manipulator” who exposes the blogosphere as corrupt to its very core. In the book, Holiday – whose clients include best-selling authors like Tucker Max and Robert Greene – argues that all the major blogs represent a form of “entrepreneurial journalism” obsessed with driving page views. Everyone – from our own Arrington to their Arianna – plays this game, Holiday argues. It’s written into the very architecture of the Internet.
“The Internet is full of liars,” Holiday thus told me when he came into our San Francisco studio. Beneath what Holiday describes as “the veneer of credibility,” lies what he calls an army of “self-promoters” all fighting to maximize page views in our attention economy. And the funny (or, at least, ironic) thing about his argument is that Holiday is himself a supreme example of this media manipulator – a master of the digital universe who, as he confessed to me, doesn’t get out of bed in the morning for less than $10,000. Not bad for a 25-year-old kid from New Orleans.
Trust Me, I’m Lying is essential reading for anyone concerned with the current health of our digital media. His is an important new voice. Trust me, I’m telling the truth. And so, I suspect, is Holiday.