Everything Is Selling


“I’m a brand, albeit a very small one and in a limited domain. So are most national journalists I know, especially those who cover tech, media, politics and sports. With the help of the social engagement team at The Verge, I use my Twitter account and a brand page on Facebook to promote my own work, and those of colleagues at this website and others owned by our publisher.”
 — Everything is gross because of stuff like this, but it’s somehow inexplicable when people follow Bounty Paper Towels on Snapchat or whatever? We’ve all gotten so used to the simultaneous tweets from the happy campers at this company or that who are part of a coordinated effort to sell you on a particular story that we no longer even distinguish between an attempt to push content and an attempt to push product. There’s no longer a difference, really. “Content,” as the great marketers of our era understand, “is content,” and that holds true whether you’re discussing a post about how to argue with your transphobic uncle at your family’s Arbor Day celebration or a quiz that is designed to make you think more positively about a specific brand of cakey goo you smear under your arms to minimize their fetid odors. “The publisher of this website, Vox Media, has an arm that helps companies create engaging content that promotes their brands,” notes Walt Mossberg in the piece, but it’s fairer to say that Vox Media is an arm that helps companies create content that promotes their brands. All successful media companies of this era are. We’re so far along in our acceptance of this idea that acting as if there is something off-putting or untoward about it marks you out as naive or deluded. This is not a shocking revelation or anything, which is why it’s so amusing to see someone act surprised by its logical conclusion. It’s a funny old world, I guess. Anyway, this post was brought to you by whatever product pops up adjacent to it, so I hope you have an improved association with it by virtue of my candor. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go get my colleagues to tweet this out.