Whatever "social media" was intended to be, in the last few years it seems to have begun an inexorable decline into what it always had to become:

A 24/7, always-on, personalized fear machine.

All you have to do is look into the "black mirror" in your pocket, and you'll see what I mean.

How many scrolls, swipes, or taps does it take to find your first piece of bad news?

While writing this, I decided to run my own experiment.

I started by opening up a new browser (Firefox).

On the homepage, I'm greeted with Firefox's standard homepage settings: a search bar, as well as a list of articles they state are "Recommended by Pocket."

Pocket is a robot.

Here's what Pocket is recommending today:

  1. A disease you've never heard of that killed someone you didn't know in a part of a world you've never been to nor have plans to go (and, I kid you not, part of the headline is: "how worried should we be")
  2. An innocent grandmother gets scammed
  3. Something or other (that you probably have to register or pay for) to tell you if "your home is doomed"
  4. A sponsored ad to play a new game "Free!"

Sorry Pocket, but after browsing your recommended reading list for the last minute, I think I'm going to need a cold shower, not a free fake farm so I can ignore my real farm.

And if you're thinking "but Tom, that's curated based on what you read. You're the culprit!"

…I opened the browser with a cleared cache, VPN'd, not connected to Pocket.

If I had been connected (signed in and synced up), and if I were playing the game they wanted me to play (engaging with their content; clicking, sharing, liking, whatever), the fear bait would only get more personalized.

But here's the thing:

Even if the fear gets more personalized, it doesn't get any more real.

I'm not saying the crazy rare disease didn't strike; or that the grandmother is just a narrative hook to generate more interest; or that some homes may, in fact, be doomed…

These things might be factual…

…but even if they are, they have no impact in or on your life beyond what you allow.

As in, you have to CONSENT to letting this information into your head, and you have to CONSENT to letting it affect your aim, your attitude, your work, or your life.

But if you don't give consent…if you ignore, delete, simply opt out…all of it vanishes, as if it never existed in the first place.

On the side mirrors of my car there's text that reads:

"Objects in mirror are closer than they appear."

The purpose is to help you avoid a deadly accident by reminding you that what you see…isn't exactly what you're seeing…and to adjust your behavior accordingly.

I think every device with a screen that can access the internet should have its own label:

"Objects on screen are not real and are intentionally designed to spike your cortisol levels."

Don't get caught in the fear trap. It's not real.

What's real is right in front of you; your friends, family, and loved ones, the people you serve, and the meaningful work you do, day in and day out.

Now that you know this, how will you show up?

Stay frosty,

Tom "thoughts" Morkes

p.s. this was originally going to be 3 reasons you should be excited for 2020, with reason #1 being that life is a lot better than it looks online…but I realize I gotta establish some foundational things before I move forward.

My interest this year is in taking an ecological approach to marketing and sales, and I'll be using this newsletter to put out new ideas to better codify my thinking. 

Who knows, it might turn into my next book. Your feedback, questions, and insights are appreciated!!

p.p.s. Recently, several people have asked me to help them launch products / set up affiliate marketing campaigns / create and implement referral programs for their brands, etc. Straight up - I don't do project bids. I also don't do 'initial consult' calls. If you want my help, you can book an Accelerator Coaching time block or Lightning Session right here. 

Started, finished, and shipped from high up in the Rockies | Writing time: 5 hrs | Soundtrack: silence

Jennifer Lehner is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Adjunct Professor of Digital Marketing at Cleveland State University. She shows entrepreneurs how to build an audience and monetize their expertise online using social media and digital tools. She creates online courses and trainings, while also speaking at businesses and universities about the fast-changing world of digital media and how important it is to know exactly how to use these new tools to differentiate yourself, to tell your story and take control of your future.

On this week’s episode, I’m sitting down with Jennifer Lerner to discuss how to start and grow a profitable recurring revenue membership site. But that’s not all we discuss! We also dive deep into membership sites, including why membership sites are all about the experience, how to grow a membership site that requires minimal content creation, what content to restrict and what to share, how to use events to reward existing members while generating new paid membership signups and so much more.

Typically I would highlight one of my biggest takeaways for the episode, but it’s kind of hard to do today because the whole episode is very solid! So if you want to launch, grow or run a recurring revenue membership site, then I think all the different components of what you’ll hear today will be worthwhile to you.

In this broadcast, Jen and I talk about:

How to Connect with Jen:

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Did you enjoy today's broadcast of In The Trenches? Please click here to leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review helps me spread the word of this podcast, which allows me to line up amazing guests and continue to produce this podcast ad-free. Thanks so much in advance for your support.

Podcast and show note production by Nives Kurjak. Click here to get 10% off your podcast production for life.

Mojca Zove is a Facebook Ads expert, author of the Facebook Ads Manual, and international speaker. Her work focuses on helping businesses generate more leads and increase profits with a professionally-made Facebook Advertising Strategy so that they can devote their time to other aspects in their business. Mojca works with multimillion-dollar businesses from all over the globe. In her work, she focuses on implementing previously tested and already successful strategies for generating the best results.

I brought Mojca onto the podcast to discuss what’s working in the space of Facebook advertising, how she’s setting up campaigns that are lucrative, and what Facebook Ads funnel structure will actually convert. My biggest takeaway from today’s conversation is that even though we’ve heard a lot about how Facebook Ads are becoming more and more expensive and results are decreasing, I have a better understanding that these negatives are really because of the level of competition and not Facebook itself. So if you’re truly hoping to see results from your Facebook Ads, then this is one podcast you do not want to miss.

In this broadcast, Mojca and I talk about:

How to Connect with Mojca:

Get the Latest Broadcasts of In The Trenches

Subscribe to In The Trenches on iTunes

How You Can Support In The Trenches

Did you enjoy today's broadcast of In The Trenches? Please click here to leave an honest rating and review on iTunes. Your review helps me spread the word of this podcast, which allows me to line up amazing guests and continue to produce this podcast ad-free. Thanks so much in advance for your support.

I'm building a new closet in our house:

It doesn't look like much, but it's coming together, believe me.

When I started, I didn't really know what tools I needed to get the job done; I just used what I had (the hands of a man, the heart of a lion).

It wasn't until I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together that I realized I needed something better than sand paper to remove entire lengths of board to get them to fit together.

So I searched online to see if someone else had my woes...after several searches, it turned out there are tools out there that can help with getting wood lined up correctly in seconds (instead of in hours, by hand).

So I bought this thing called a planer and it ended up being a win-win:

The company that makes the planer wins (they got the sale), and I win (this tool will help me do a job better, faster, etc.)

But here's the thing:

If you had asked me a week ago if I needed a planer, I would have said no. In fact, I'd have no idea what you were even talking about.

If you tried to make the case that I will need this thing at some point down the line, it wouldn't work. I would have ignored you until I came to the point where I recognized the need for myself.

Once I understood my own need (aka: I got the joke), then I could properly process what sort of offer was in front of me. No marketing attempt made before I got the joke would have worked.

So you want to get more sales? And you want more people buying from you?

Learn to market and sell only to people who get the joke.

I'll show you how to think about marketing so you get more customers buying now, instead of later, in this video:

(p.s. subscribe to my youtube channel here)

What we cover in this video:

Things I mention in the video:

Leave a Comment

What are you selling and to whom?  What’s the joke that they get that others don’t?(i.e. the reason people buy from you, and not someone else)

Share below!

Did you know that half of all internet traffic is fake?

True story:

According to research conducted and compiled by HostingFacts, 51.8% of all internet traffic comes from bots.

In other words, every other person who visits your blog, lead magnet, or sales page is very likely a bot (and totally fake).

Have you ever wondered why you get such dismal results from activities like posting on social media? 

Because fake people don't buy things.

So here's a better strategy:

Target REAL PEOPLE who have actually BOUGHT REAL THINGS before, and then get your offer (book, product, course, software, whatever) in front of them.

I'll show you how in this mind-melting new training video:

(p.s. subscribe to my youtube channel here)

What we cover in this video:

Things I mention in the video:


This is part 2 of my series on the long tail. Click here to watch part 1:

"The Long Tail: the secret to making a profit from digital products over the next decade"

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What’s your topic / niche / subject? Where can you "slide in"?

Share below!