Elliot, thanks for the shout out. But you’re the man.*

To be clear, the comment you linked to contains three serious articles that were written by other people. Everything written by me on the subject of gaming the system is satire.

I completely agree with your message “Stop Caring About Stats and Just Write.”

I just don’t say it as clearly and sincerely as you do. I’m a wise guy who rebels against authority — even when I’m masquerading as the authority:

My anti-advice on everything that has to do with writing to be popular is concealed advice asking people to write from the heart:

I recommend every writer new to Medium to read the above guide.

Not because I want you to follow me or give me a stupid heart — if you click on my various calls to action, they are all parodies as well — but because you’re all “Neo” and I’m a pasty, watered-down version of Morpheus trying to warn everyone not to be fooled by the illusion created by Medium. (See, it starts with an “M” just like the Matrix. Who could ask for further proof of the connection?)

Here’s the only thing I will say in complete seriousness:

Depending on what kind of writing you do, “making the bar” may prove to be a mixed bag. It will take you out of the comfort zone of people who understand you — in my case, a small group of friends and followers — and drop you squarely in the swirling, shark-infested waters of the internet.

Say one word that can be completely misinterpreted and you may experience a “popularity” you never imagined was possible — the “privilege” of getting the kind of feedback so many women and people of color are subjected to on a daily basis. Respect to all of you who put up with that bullish*t. I’m so grateful that I can go back to being an anonymous clown.

*Without your brilliant contribution of Medium’s Content Lab, The Grammar Games collaborative story would never have become whatever it has become.

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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