YOUTUBE HAS A STRATEGY. And it’s Not Magic Dust.

August 26, 2021

It shouldn’t be news in The Washington Post or anywhere. But this analysis of YouTube’s ducking of congressional crossfire has me shaking my head.

Quoted is Harvard Law School’s Evelyn Douek who posits, “(It’s) YouTube magic dust. It’s just the only explanation for how they keep managing to stay off in the shadows while the other platforms take the heat.”

Actually, no. There is an explanation that precisely describes the social media giant’s magical move. It’s called the Crowd, shown below, one of 23 exhaustively tested strategies that influencers employ to condition, control and confront actors of their markets. It’s particularly useful for players seeking shelter in rhetorical storms because it distributes the blame and certain shame of, oh let’s say, a government’s inquiry.

In defense of news literacy, the fake news battle cry, journalists like The Post’s Will Oremus might delight in knowing that the strategies of influence—as employed by social media surrogates, marketers, salespeople, PR reps (that’s you Farshad Shadloo of YouTube), lawyers (that’s you Evelyn Douek), CEOs, politicos, activists and terrorists—are not terms of art. Like elements of a periodic table and species in a phylogenetic tree, they are observable and even predictable. Their definitions, effects, risks, rewards and counter-plays are chronicled in the Taxonomy of Influence Strategies.

The playbook that influencers employ—especially to outwit media—has structure and strategy. For some it’s instinctive. For others it’s conscious. But it’s not alchemy, it’s chemistry—heretofore unpublished, underrated and deadly serious.


Post by Alan Kelly

Screen image credit: The Washington Post