Friday, July 22, 2016

I’m trending, I’ve gone viral, and I broke the Internet.

Well, not really.
But since those phrases are tossed around like rice at a wedding, I figure they may as well apply to me as the next guy.
Besides that, they have no objective meaning that I’ve been able to discern or ever seen quantified. Which means, in the end, they are nothing more than what’s long been known in the advertising business as “puffery.” Or, to abbreviate the term I am more likely to voice, BS.
Such vague and nebulous (and meaningless) superlatives are easily assigned to anyone or anything at any time by anyone. Some people will be fooled by them. Most will ignore them. And rightly so.
Even extreme claims with some factual basis can be meaningless. For instance, in the book world, “best seller” and other such rankings are often accurate but still worthless. Years ago, in the days when Amazon ran a short-lived program of selling short stories online, I had a couple of stories that, for several weeks, were listed as either the top or number-two selling Western stories. But they never sold enough copies to accumulate enough royalties to result in a paycheck—and the threshold was pretty low, as I recall.
Still and all, I guess it gives me the right to claim being a “Best-Selling Author!” After all, I am the guy who broke the Internet. Not to mention “trending” and having gone “viral.”

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