Best of the best articles draw crowds



Updated: March 10, 2012

Welcome! Today, I'm going to rant and troll and stab cynically at the truth of this world we call Internet, where many a person seeks attention and successfully gets it by utilizing a variety of tactics and methods. To name a few, you have blatant and outright lies, scaremongering, shock, noob bashing, anti-corporation bashing, controversy, and finally, the hall of fame style writing. What would that be, the last one?

Aha, so here it's how it goes. For some reason, people like the word best, even when it is misused and abused. But take anything, be it a product or even just an ethereal concept or idea and label it with a merry handful of superlatives. What you get is a linked list of bestism, which leads to one thing every blogger in the blogosphere years for, the extra few clicks. Now that you know what this article is all about, feel free to go elsewhere and read something more interesting. Or stick toward the end for tons of nudity and some Python code, combined. Maybe.

Teaser

So what gives?

All right. I have taught you how to increase your website traffic. Now, here's a less stringent, more user friendly method that will not alienate people as much while still providing an handsome increase in clicks. The rules are very simple. Follow them and you will win.

Super polite

By using the bestism approach, you avoid having to offend anyone. In fact, just the very opposite. Over enthusiasm and cheerfulness play an important part in gaining trust and becoming everyone's woolly darling, directly translated into clicks. Probably has to do with the basic survival trait of having some ever-present slight optimism. We like good things or at the very least, the belief in good things. The fine line is there, but if you tread carefully, you can manage quite well.

Polite, cute cat

Super psyched

What you need to do is write articles. However, not just any articles. You must aim for ultimate, indisputable conviction in the absolute perfection of quality and experience of what is at hand that you happen to be writing about. Not even the best-of compilations will do, as they merely pit products of similar characteristics against one another. Here, you aim for a whole new scale. You use cosmic constants to evaluate the topic at hand. You supersize the word best with an extra est or two. It becomes bestest, or less radically spelled, best of the best. You are allowed to chainload as many iterations as you feel comfortable with. Still, please be aware that the human bullshit detector has exponential sensitivity to zeal. The magic is to find the thin balance between awesome and astroturfing.

Personal examples are important, as people will believe you more if you happen to be using the said product. Otherwise, they might take you for a shill. To make a convincing stand, your examples must be rich and colorful, with a plenty of screenshots and/or videos demonstrating the sheer awesomeness of whatever you're writing about.

Psyched

Exaggeration

It is important to exaggerate. Don't settle for percentage. You want orders of magnitude bigger, better, smarter, or faster. If you claim something is only 23% better than the rival, people will misinterpret your would-be analytical approach to truth as statistical molestation. However, if you write that your omni-cool product obliterates the competition by 9,000% percent, they might actually believe you. They will know that you are exaggerating and dismiss the 100x improvement as enthusiasm, but they will comfortably scale down to x3 and x4 figures, especially since they feel and appear more genuine and believable now.

It's called the discount syndrome and it's massively employed everywhere, for obvious profit reasons. Even seemingly intelligent people fall for it. Women are notorious for liking to believe the exaggerated cases of the discount syndrome. Take a product and hike its price up by a factor of 5. Then offer an 80% discount. Most people will fail to realize you are selling the product at the exactly same price like before, but they will love the awesome power of mathematics they can't really grasp.

Exaggeration

So if you have two browsers, stating that A is faster than B by 2 seconds is not really impressive, because 2 seconds are not impressive. However, if you can promise a 10x or 30x improvement, even though it may translate into fractions of a second or some other minuscule amount of something, you will surely draw everyone's attention. And then, treble the numbers for an even bigger effect. No one is going to dispute you, because people love fairy tales.

Grading

Make sure you grade your review. Now, there are several approaches to this. To appear credible, some people will always slightly under-grade the product to make it appear more genuine. Four out of five stars, even though five stars are deserved, or 9/10. Fractions also play part, for example, 9.5/10. Make sure you don't go too wild with decimal numbers, like 9.443/10. If you're trying to be funny, that's fine, otherwise, you look stupid.

Over-grading works equally well, but to a point. Never give more than 33% above the max. allowed grade. So if you're working with the decimal scale, 12/10, maybe 13/10 is the highest you can manage before the bullshit klaxon sound off. Here, slight modesty plays a significant role, until you remember you're already off the scale. The final approach is that of seemingly simple honesty. Flattery and round numbers, 5/5, 10/10 and such like. This is the most difficult of the three, so it's best left to professionals skilled in the art of bestism.

Grading, medal

Sharing

It is not enough that you lure everyone into your den of enthusiasm, you want to spread the word, which ultimately means people flocking back to your source. Therefore, make sure you remind everyone to be your prophets and preachers and go about the wires linking, relinking and posting about your mighty endeavors. In general, the more positive you are, the more likely you are to garner followers, as everyone wants to be the champion of a good word or deed. Kill the messenger, in reverse. Big icons help.

Sharing

Note: Image taken from Wikimedia, licensed under CC-BY 2.5.

Your grandmother

This is the Desert Eagle 0.5 Action Express equivalent of, uh, Desert Eagle. You wrap up the article by casually mentioning how your grandmother is now a happy and pain-free convert to whatever you have just reviewed. You get 100 points for Linux, 35 points for anything software, 10-20 extra points for other things in life.

Desert Eagle

Here's an example:

Yesterday I took my Citroen AX to this shop and they upgraded the 1.1-liter engine to a V6 turbo. I've got new ceramic brakes and gas shocks, too, w00t, w00t. The car is so sweet and the exhaust rattle shakes the windows in the neighborhood. Best of all though, they kept the original seats, they are so comfortable. And the gearbox is really slick, the car is so easy to drive. I even took my grandma, who's 76 of age, for a spin, and she liked it. LOL. She's not that much of a driver, but even she managed all right. The car is responsive and tame, and when you floor it, it flies. Really awesome.

This is the irrefutable, unshakable mother-of-all-closures to your review. In the Linux world, using your relatives becomes a bit cheesy, but it can still garner a handsome surge in clicks. You can replace grandma with other relatives, including kids, whom everyone seems to find cute, little scams. If you really want to shake up the tree and get a bit of controversy flying, you could mention having a mentally challenged friend or a neighbor and how they seem to get along fine. It is important to adhere to socially-acceptable modern and sympathy-invoking diseases and disorders that people can relate to. Winning.

Conclusion

There you go. This article teaches you about articles, the best of them. Or rather an article that teaches about articles that teach you about the best stuff there is. Or rather how you can write articles that will have an instant, cheerful, uplifting, positive, and socially welcome spirit. It's about tenderly navigating the straits of exaggeration, fanboyism and click-baiting without coming out as a moron.

Now, you're ready to wade into the brave world of pseudo-journalism and best your competition. The truth is less important than the perception of truth. And if you can trade quality for sheer enthusiasm, so be it. Well, that is all you need to know to become a celebrity. Party on!

P.S. The Kiev medal image is not an object of copyright, according to the Russian Federation civil code. The Super Guppy airplane image is in public domain.

Cheers.

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