This. Oh my God. You have to consume this. This, right here. The thing I’m sharing in this post right now. Scroll down. See? No, too far. Not that. This. The thing that says a thing I agree with but didn’t know how to say for myself. This.
I refuse to write more than this single sentence: “This.” Why would I? “This” gets across everything I need to convey. It affirms my generally positive stance toward the piece of content I’m sharing. But, more than that, “this” signals confidence. I have no need to say more than that (by which I mean “this”) because, simply put, the content — the “this” in question — is powerful and moving enough to speak for itself.
This is a big deal.
Not every piece of online flotsam is “this”-worthy, though. Try sharing a nachos recipe and prefacing it with a stand-alone “this.” You’ll look ridiculous. No, if you want to wow your reader, you can only break out the “this” for something thought-provoking, like a Medium post about the moral failings of global capitalism. Or a Medium post about the current state of the Democratic Party. Any Medium post will do, really.
But it could also be something else! An op-ed about police accountability, a tweet thread about Russian hacking, a news report where the anchors don’t have American accents. How you deploy your “this” is a decision that no one can make but you.
This is a huge responsibility.
And that’s what makes this so exciting! You can drop a “this” on your followers at any time, freeing them from bland wedding recaps and pictures of more-or-less-interchangeable infants. Among all this anonymous content, your “this” will stand as a beacon: Here is a well-thought-out, powerfully stated, mentally stimulating argument that expresses what I feel better than I ever could!
This is it.
Some people will embellish this. They’ll post something like “this this this this this” or “ALL OF THIS.” This is wrong. “This,” followed by a single period, is all that’s required. (The period’s important — this shows that you’re being definitive.) Anything more and you’ll just be calling unnecessary attention to yourself, all while the item you’re sharing — be it a longread about Syria or an epic Serena Williams Twitter clapback — struggles for attention.
Don’t do this.
Another thing to avoid: the “this” cascade. This is when your profile becomes a never-ending series of “this” posts. This is dangerous. That’s because this inoculates readers to the wonder of “this.” They become fatigued, but worse, they stop trusting you. When someone clicks a link that you’ve introduced with a single-sentence “this,” they expect something big. They want this experience to engage them, to challenge them — or at least to reinforce whatever their pre-existing views are of Glenn Greenwald.
This is simply something you can’t deliver with every post. Remember, your goal with this isn’t to saturate your feed with “this.” It’s to entice your reader to click on an opinionated story that will supplant whatever inferior beliefs they held before, thereby making you seem smarter in the process. But this technique will fail if you overdo it.
Use this sparingly.
Which brings us back to this post I’m sharing. At this point, I honestly forget what this is, but it doesn’t matter. I’m confident that it has already taken over your subconscious with its direct, seductively vague message. This. You must learn what this is. If for nothing more than a respite from this unfeeling journey into cold, isolated numbness that we call the internet, you need to click on this.
This. There’s nothing more enticing than this.
Except for maybe something long and heartfelt that begins with “SINCERE POST ALERT.” God, those are irresistible.