Ryan Holiday is a liar. As a media strategist for American Apparel and other clients, Holiday specializes in media manipulation. His work went beyond the standard press release, though: Holiday would “leak” unauthorized photos, falsify inter-office memos, and create controversies out of thin air to get press for his clients. Holiday would do anything to make a story for the blogs—and as it turns out, so do the blogs themselves, which puts readers at a dangerous disadvantage.
After watching the brave new world of online media beat him at his own game, Holiday writes Trust Me, I’m Lying to detail his strategies to manipulate blogs, analyze the economics and workings of new media, and criticize the insincerity and inaccuracy of online reporting. Holiday writes with a clear and easy-to-follow manner, first describing the tactics blogs and marketers use to hook readers (and advertising revenue) from titillating thumbnails to exaggerated headlines. The second part of the book analyzes what happens when blogs go wrong, such as Shirley Sherrod’s firing because of a misleading, well-edited YouTube video by a political blogger. While Holiday offers no real answers for the future of our new media, Trust Me is a wake up call to consumers and creators of online media—if you think he’s telling the truth, that is.