Before We Get to the Dos, Let’s Cover the Don’ts

From my perspective, what I do is incredibly simple. I have a curated list of topics I use repeatedly and I add some nonsense to whatever news is trending wherever possible. Easy peasy. Getting to this point, however, was a long and arduous learning process. I’ve always been good at headlines, but there’s far more to it than that. There’s a process…and there are rules.

Some Things Are Just…True

One of the earliest lessons, and one of the most common errors of new ALLOD writers, is that there are absolutes that can’t be broken. The right is the right and the left is the left. Ted Cruz is never going to defect to New York and run as a Democrat. AOC won’t be joining the Trump campaign. Alabama isn’t going to legalize abortion through the fourth trimester. Those may sound extreme, but they are actual things that were presented to me.

Keep the basics that are true, even for the dolts at ALLOD. That doesn’t mean you can’t straight-up invent people, places, and clauses of the US Constitution. It just means Kevin McCarthy is never going to run as a Democrat, and even the dumbest people know it. Part of this operation is, without a doubt, deception, at least on some level. That deception is within the storyline itself. It has to sound at least somewhat plausible to imbeciles. Yes, that’s a low bar, but it takes some practice to limbo under.

Stick to the Outskirts of Politics

This is something I learned this year. I took a good long look at the stats of ALLOD over the years, and something hit me: Since about the time Zuckerberg was dragged before Congress in 2018, only a handful of the really big hits directly involve politicians. Nancy Pelosi’s Wall demands and a couple of indictment things. A SCOTUS ruling here and there. between 2016 and 2018 there was far more. We had Trump signing executive orders before he took office. The Obamas were investigated for stealing time and time again.

In the current Facebook climate, writing pure bullshit based on real politicians or policy is pretty much futile. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but for some reason, any time I type the name “Hunter Biden,” which should be a goldmine, I get a flop that seems to hurt traffic more than help. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. The Facebook Top 10 list used to be an ongoing homage to right-wing assholes like Bongino, Ingraham, and Hannity. Because reaching that base of people is, come to find out, really not that hard to do. So…”Meta” made it more difficult.

That’s why if you look at ALLOD in its current form, you’ll see recurring themes. If you spend a lot of time on the page, you might even be sick and tired of them. Whoopi and the View, Roseanne, Alyssa Milano, and a few others are things that keep the page alive and spinning. A bunch of those articles you see time and time again don’t get posted because I like them. They get posted because they get clicks.

Then Kid Rock shoots up some Bud Light, and ALLOD makes the Top 10. Things happen in the real world that are political in nature, or at least politic-adjacent, that are fair game.

Who will your cast of characters be? I switch it up and have some other favorites here and there. Michael Jordan, John Elway and kneeling football players, Scott Baio for shits and giggles…The roster of people, places, and things they want to see punished is extensive, as is the list of Baio-like asshats they want to see rewarded. Ted Nugent, Kid Rock, James Woods…all the turds qualify.

It’s a difficult ask, to stay away from politics directly. It’s what I wrote almost exclusively for years. But there’s a lot of fun to be had on the outskirts, a lot more absurdity you can get away with, and a whole lot more reach Facebook will allow your piece.

Other Straight “Don’ts”

If you’ve seen the “Tater Farming Guide,” you’ve seen my editorial standards. There’s a common sense list of things I won’t publish:

  • Hate speech against Muslims and/or minorities. Again, the headline isn’t the story, the story is. There are headlines you can’t use, however. You can NEVER use a race or religion with a hateful adjective: “Dirty Muslims.” “Violent Mexicans.” “White Trash.” All bad.
  • Rape/assault apology or denial. Dr. Ford is a perfect example. “Ford Arrested at Orgy Smoking Crack.” Yes, that was a real headline I had to shut down. There’s enough material out there without crossing that line.
  • We do NOT get involved in elections whatsoever. 
  • Sick Democrats and decent people don’t get our attention. John Lewis’ cancer, for example, was off-limits. Turds like Rush Limbaugh are fair game.
  • Coronavirus and other public health crisis-related misinformation. Just…nope. You can have things happen around it, but don’t question the science or call it a political hoax. No anti-mask rhetoric, implied or otherwise.

In the next post, I’ll get into developing an idea into a headline and how to proceed from there.