Mike Adams (aka HealthRanger) Goes Berzerk over Shorty Awards
For those of you who aren’t Twitterers (or “Twits” as some would have it), the Shorty Awards are the latest iteration of the high-school-redux popularity contests that are new media awards. In this one, Twitterers are invited to vote for their favorite fellow-Twits in a variety of categories.
Alt-med guru Mike Adams (soi-disant “Health Ranger”), who was in the lead in the health category a few days ago, was disqualified when someone noticed that a large number of the votes for him came from Twitter accounts that appeared to have been created solely to vote for him, in violation of the rules.
Why would Adams care? The only benefit of winning is that the honoree gets an instant boost of fame and followers—two attributes that are only important to egocentrics or marketers.
Oh, right… we’re talking about Mike Adams.
While many of my pals believe Mike has finally had one too many coffee enemas (or whatever it is he does to be able to extrude the shit that comes out in the form of his daily e-mail newsletter), I think he’s just doing what he does best: sellin’ it to the credulous souls who believe in him.
Mike Adams may not be much of a scientist, investigative reporter, or writer, but he is clearly a talented salesman. And he knows his audience.
If you read his rants, you might well ask what belief in God, the soul, free will, or (G-d help us) the tragedy of 9/11 have to do with Mike’s main topic, “natural” health.
It’s simple: Mike’s playing into the religious beliefs, paranoia and general prejudices of people who tend to be the most ardent alt-med devotees. When he demonstrates that he understands their preoccupations, it’s much easier to sell them the kind of books, products, real-estate tours in Ecuador, or even MLM schemes by which he apparently makes his living.
Snake-oil salesmen like Adams have a harder job than many of us give them credit for. To be truly successful, they have to appeal to at least two disparate groups of people: those who fall for any and all appeals to nature, and who tend to have left-wing sympathies and a deep mistrust of businesses like “Big Pharma;” and government-hating conspiracy-theorists, who tend to lean right or libertarian.
Adams has clearly found the sweet-spot in alt-med marketing by mixing stuff like God, new-agey mysticism, and all-encompassing conspiracy theories into his “health” messages.
Adams’ marketing tactics—not to mention his multiple meltdowns–suggest that seemingly stupid contests like the Shorty Awards are more important to him than they are to people like the current leader, Dr. Rachael Dunlop (“Dr. Rachie”), who has nothing to sell. Adams’ success is dependent on his ability to build a following among people for whom a popularity contest is a measure of credibility.
Either way—winning or DQ-ing out—the Shorty Awards are a boon for Mike. If he had won, it would have lent him an air of credibility among those who believe in the wisdom of the masses regarding health-related matters; among his conspiracy-theorist fans, his disqualification is simply confirmation of his persecution by the Forces of Evil, setting him up as a Galileo-like figure.
However the cards—and the credulous—fall, Mike knows how to play ‘em.
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- Alt Med guy whacked with Shorty end of the stick (blogs.discovermagazine.com)