When DC Comics decided to reboot and update all their titles last year, all of their marquee characters got dragged into the modern age. Yet Clark Kent (who can still leap tall buildings in a single bound, but he does it while wearing a hat and glasses so no one can tell he’s Superman) still had a job as a reporter at the Daily Planet (which can be delivered to your doorstep everyday but wears a hat and glasses so no one can tell it’s the New York Times).
Print? How 20th century! Sure, the paper was owned by a large corporation and it was more of a multimedia platform, but couldn’t he have gotten a job as a blogger, a web reporter, or at least a TV news segment producer? I mean Newsweek and The Guardian are ceasing their print editions, why shouldn’t Superman? Well, now they’re correcting their mistake and having Clark quit his job.
In a “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore,” moment, Clark gets up, gives a big speech about how journalism is being ruined by trying to be like entertainment, and storms out of the office. He was sick of his bosses treating him like crap for not getting enough scoops about Superman… I mean himself… I mean…you know. “Superman is arguably the most powerful person on the planet, but how long can he sit at his desk with someone breathing down his neck and treating him like the least important person in the world?” Scott Lobdell, who writes Superman, told USA Today, a newspaper that still prints itself on paper is like a dinosaur.
Lobdell isn’t spilling the super beans about what Mr. Kent’s new gig is going to be, but he hinted that it would be something like the Huffington Post or the Drudge Report. “We’re going to really see Clark come into his own in the next few years as far as being a guy who takes to the Internet and to the airwaves and starts speaking an unvarnished truth,” he says.
Well, being that I know a thing or two about being a journalist on the internet, here is a little bit of career advice for Clark Kent while he revs those serves up and tries to pwn the Internet.
Get Over Yourself: Truth on the internet is great. But do you know what fills the homepages of the websites you want to emulate? “Michelle Obama Says Vote Early on Election Day Because Your Toilet Might Overflow.” “Adopt a Shelter Dog. It Could Save Your Life.” “HORROR: Black Woman Allegedly Set On Fire By KKK.” “PHOTOS: 10 Grossest Things In America.” That is what people want to click on. So, sure, you can sneak in the truth about the presidential election, the wars in the Middle East, and climate change in there somewhere, but people are still going to click on cat videos 10 million more times than they’re going to click on some boring expose about corporate malfeasance.
Make a List: No one wants to read paragraphs and paragraphs of all of your deep reporting and interesting quotes. They just want to skim on their way to the cat videos. I bet no one is even reading this right now. They read the heading and skipped to the next item on the list. Watch. Cantaloupe watermelon cat bomb water glass meat pie sassafras Coney Island serial killer television screen strawberry rhubarb pie I just took a dump in my pants. No one even read that nonsense sentence. If it’s not in a list, no one will care.
Scoops Matter: If you don’t want to use your knowledge of Superman to get yourself some attention for your website, then you’re an idiot. Why should we read your Drudge Report when there is, you know, the Drudge Report: Original Recipe? You need to give people a reason to read your site, which means having information that no one else has. Who knows more about Superman? No one! Capitalize on that to drive traffic. Oh, and if you get a scoop about the Justice League movie casting, you might crash your servers.
When in Doubt, Steal from Reddit: Real people can’t figure out this insane internet hive mind, so just rip off their best stuff and pass it off as your own. Internet gold!
Kick Up the Nostalgia: There is nothing people on the internet love more than remembering the good old days. OK, maybe YouTubes of people falling down, but other than that, it’s Lisa Frank stationary and clips from Pete and Pete. You have been around since 1938. No one has been there like you, (Super)man. Start trotting out some old pictures or remembrances of those days gone by, particularly of the ’90s. You need everyone on Twitter to feel warm and fuzzy about their childhood like you’re wrapping them in their favorite footie pajamas. Just one gallery of how the original Superman serials were made and you’re golden. Oh, or maybe a Superman II reunion!
Embrace the Animated GIF: Seriously, dude. It’s the future.
Be Sensational: No one wants to read an article title “Barack Obama and Mitt Romney Tie in Debate.” No. Here is a headline for you. “Obama Demolishes Romney in Final Debate – PICS.” Or, how about this? “Is There Any Way Romney Can Lose the Presidential Election?” The answer is no, but if you put it in the form of a question, you can say whatever you want. “Might Superman Finally Be Defeated in Battle by Bizarro?” No, of course not, but don’t care about the truth, care about the clicks, you can do it. And if any of that fails, just write an article with “naked,” “boobs,” or “Justin Bieber” in the headline. Those are always good for increased readership.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: DC Comics]
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