I wrote this original piece over a year ago but I think it still has relevance today. Conor McGregor has been in yet another skirmish with the law and surprise, surprise, social media has exploded. Since I originally wrote this article, the fascination with him by all areas of the press has increased even further and the stories and rumors have tended to get even darker – as I expected they might. It’s all part of the modern day information cycle.
In the latest ” incident” Conor McGregor allegedly threw someone’s phone to the ground. Is this something society should give a damn about, in the grand scheme of things…and yet at last look it has been trending on twitter at a rate of about 100 tweets a second……It is now – as it was then ……all about the clicks.
Here is my Original Piece from a year ago
Have you noticed how Floyd Mayweather has quietly drifted off over the horizon with barely a mention since his August showdown with McGregor?
He’s a couple of hundred million bucks wealthier and it seems a quiet and semi anonymous retirement beckons. Not so Mcgregor. He too has done sweet f*ck all since August but he has rarely given us a week’s rest in the meantime.
He is about to see the real downside of fame though and of being a click machine. You can almost feel that the media and interestingly the MMA media are starting to turn against the Notorious one.
This past weekend we have a seen a couple of Fake News articles about him that have generated the desired click rates. First a big hullabaloo about him and Rita Ora. The Story facts? A picture of the two of them with the tongue in cheek caption ‘Date Night’.
Another story the same day was about a dancer he had his picture taken with at a club. This one was a little more insidious. Again nothing in the facts department here.
However the subtext is clear. The media are on the hunt to try and catch him in an uncompromising position with a woman. A woman other than his long standing girlfriend Dee Devlin. Why? – Think of the clicks!
I don’t think that there can be any doubt, that since hitting the lottery jackpot on the Mayweather fight, his antics have taken a turn for the wild. Maybe he was like this all along – but what is certain is that the mainstream media have stuck with him post Mayweather.
The Daily Mail, Independent and the Sun are still regularly producing content about him in the UK. These publications are not known hot-beds of MMA activity or even Conor material pre- Mayweather.
Fake News is a much maligned term thanks mainly to Donald Trump. But here is the truth as I see it – not only does it exist and thrive but mainstream media outlets don’t even understand how they are part of the problem.
The problem is online clicks are driving what content is being mass produced more and more. The beauty of the internet is that every article or blog post has metrics. Metrics that are exact and quantifiable.
If a story gets traction you’ll know from the number of clicks the online edition of the newspaper or magazine is getting. In fact the number of physical copy, printed material is being dwarfed by media outlets that just focus on online content. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in MMA and the UFC.
Now this in itself is not a problem. What is a problem is that almost every media outlet allows advertising or sponsor links to appear on EVERY SINGLE article of their on-line content. This does two things obviously.
- It tells them what people are reading and exactly how many are reading it.
- It tells them what future articles and people to write about because they know what is generating clicks and from there revenue.
So what does this do? It encourages EVERY media outlet from Bloggers like myself, to on-line and traditional sources to produce more material on content and people that are generating the most money for them.
Here is an example of a mainstream Irish Newspaper’s online content. CNN do the exact same thing, in fact everybody does the exact same thing when it comes to advertising online.
Look at the VOLUME of sponsored links which they are encouraging you to click into – Being kind I will describe them as ‘Questionable news sources’
So now we have two problems again. Firstly paid advertising on articles is helping drive the production of more of the same kind of articles and content because it makes money.
Secondly these popular content hotspots within online main stream media are then in turn encouraging people to click on articles in their promoted links section which are not a hot- bed of fact-based news. In fact they are the opposite. Next time a CNN journo laughs off the suggestion of FAKE NEWS just point them in the direction of their own website.
Now Let’s take three superstars of the genre. Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian and Conor McGregor. The reason they are constantly, constantly in the online arena is that they make a huge amount of money for the media ( all types of media) whether media outlets like to admit this or not.
At this moment in time – the big 3 are the ultimate in click-bait material. People for whatever reason want to look at them or read about them. They literally cannot get enough.
The problem all three have is – and this is from the perspective of media content providers – One person can only generate a certain amount of genuine content a day. Even as big and content savvy as the above three are. So content providers then start to invent/ manufacture / massage the truth and angles of stories – Hey presto FAKE NEWS and hey Presto more clickety clicks. More revenue. More of the same.
I’ll tell you now folks what is happening in the media at the moment in a sense is not a million miles away from what happened in the mortgage debt debacle of 2008 and our old friend the Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO). Instead of tranches of shitty mortgages we have increasing tranches of shitty and questionable sources of news.
If I haven’t lost you all with the CDO reference Let me tell you one thing I believe to be true. The reason the media absolutely hate Donald Trump tweeting isn’t for any of the constitutional bullshit reasons they lay out ad- nauseum. It is because he is BYPASSING THEM.
This would be problematic enough except that he is bypassing them and this is costing them a lot of revenue.
You may hate all three. You may love all three. Or you may not give a shit about all three. But one thing, I think, is clear from what I am saying, is that a lot of the content being generated about them is not fact based. Why ? Simple. There aren’t enough facts in the world to keep the media monster fed on these 3.
All of this begs a very simple question. Who are the Ultimate beneficiaries of this phenomenon ‘ FAKE NEWS’? . I mean OK the media outlets of all shapes and sizes are making money from it, But the real beneficiaries are the Internet Giants like Facebook and Twitter but the Huge, Huge winner is Google.
Google Adwords is the largest single online advertising platform in the world by some distance. They charge advertisers large and quite frankly, questionable amounts for clicks into the advertisers website or social media accounts. In order to be able to do this they can’t rely on just their own sources of content. They don’t produce enough of it. They need larger and larger content sources in which to publish their Advertising and that’s where the media in all it’s guises comes in. They generate huge amounts of unique content every day and Google gets it’s grubby large paws on it for, relatively speaking, very little.
If you want to blame anyone for ‘Fake News’ in my opinion – start with Google and their methodology of selling advertising.
As for little ole me and my blog…….well did I use the words Conor McGregor in the Title of this article? Of course I fucking did…and oh yeah….. while your here …..don’t forget to click on one of the Adverts…. I’ve gotta try and get paid for this shit — 😉 😉
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