Weekend Guide: 07.30.2021

Clickbait crazy

Gawker is back. Seeing the name pop up on my twitter feed brought an instant pang of nostalgia. Remember when you would actually go to a website and read posts? You would type the name of the website into your browser. Open new tab. Repeat. Refresh. Repeat. Refresh. Fast forward ten years, and this circuitous motion is essentially how we all navigate apps on our phones. Less clicking. More swiping. Up. Down. Left. Right.

That internet was lorded over by Gawker Media. They essentially set the tone for what digital journalism would become. Snappy headlines befitting a tweet. Clickbait.

Gawker. Deadspin. Gizmodo. Jalopnik. Jezebel. Lifehacker. Idolator. Consumerist. Valleywag. Defamer. Fleshbot. io9.

☝️ all Gawker Media properties

The Gawker Media empire was really good at getting people to click on stuff. It wasn’t capital ‘J’ journalism. It was the new digital journalism. Gawker's content centered around celebrity and media industry gossip, critiques of mainstream news outlets, and New York-centric stories. It was something to help pass time at an entry level job.

Pre-Instagram internet fun.

Until it wasn’t. Until Gawker happened to you. Or, to Peter Thiel and Hulk Hogan.

The original Gawker, founded in 2002 by Philadelphia-land native AJ Daulerio was shut down in 2016 by Hulk Hogan & tech billionaire Peter Thiel. Hogan sued Gawker after they posted a sex tape starring him and Heather Clem - wife of Tampa, FL radio personality, Bubba the Love Sponge.

Peter Thiel spent upwards of $10 million on legal fees in support of Hogan and his suit against Gawker. Why would he do such a thing? Well because in 2007, Gawker outed Thiel as gay. He was pissed. Thiel could not let it go, he sat and stewed for years until the Hogan story broke. Then devised and rolled out a kill campaign.

Even now, writing out those paragraphs feel completely insane. But I assure you the rest of the story is even better.

I could keep trying to explain it -- but ex Director of Marketing at American Apparel turned motivational speaker and life coach/guru Ryan Holiday beat me to it.

Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue

This story is truly bonkers. Holiday is always easy and fun to read. I liked Trust me I’m Lying (2013) and The Obstacle is the Way (2014). He’s pretty bratty with a hint of Brene Brown energy. But, Holiday aside, If you also wasted countless hours of your life clicking on Gawker Media articles — I think you’ll enjoy this book.

I do have to say — this motherfucker be reading though! He has a very popular book recommendation newsletter. He does read, a lot. Every month he basically recommends 15 books about Teddy Roosevelt. He claims to have 100,000 subscribers. The world is truly a wild place. 🗺

Keep it locked! Peace and love my good people!

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