How Social Networks Play Favorites, and Who the Real Winners Are | Literary Hub

To the partisans of social media, a sudden burst of viral fame is a path to success. The contours of this path may be elusive, but that is all the more reason to spend more time on social media, honing your brand, developing your voice, cultivating your audience, and all of the other vaguely buzzy practices around which a flourishing consulting industry has developed. But as with semantic analysis, the people achieving success here are not those trying to go viral at all costs, but rather those selling the shovels. It’s the writers of how-to books, the leaders of viral-marketing seminars, and the highly paid advisors, experts, and keepers of metrics who have profited handsomely from the hunger to go from unknown to famous through some social media alchemy. And most of all, it’s the platform owners.

Some of us have something tangible to sell—the rise of self-publishing…

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