What Baby Yoda Can Teach Us About the Future of Memes

When George Lucas was pitching Star Wars and every major studio was rejecting it except for one, he probably couldn’t have imagined the three words together: “Baby Yoda memes.”

Although, given that the word “meme” orginated from the Ancient Greek word of mīmēma (“imitated thing”), maybe Yoda himself – a connisseur of broken English translations of ancient languages – would approve of Baby Yoda memes.

Baby Yoda memes have become a true viral sensation. Every social network is infected. Millions of hearts have melted upon sight of a speechless, big-eyed creature in a space western.

But why? And what does this mean for the future of streaming?

Beneath the sentiment, the true Force behind Baby Yoda and Baby Yoda memes, isn’t Star Wars or The Mandalorian.

It’s Mickey Mouse.

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What Musicians Can Learn from YouTube Millionaires

Musicians can learn from YouTube millionaires.A few years ago, I saw a video kicking around Facebook called “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking.”

It was a standard YouTube video: a webcam photoshoot of some person, doing something. This video was pretty funny, and featured a monologue by someone named Jenna Marbles.

Today, Jenna Marbles’ YouTube earnings are valued at over $4 million. “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking” has over 55,000,000 views. The channel for Jenna Marbles videos has over a billion views.

Where’s all this money coming from? YouTube. How? Ads.

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How to Use a Blog to Sell Your Book

Blogs can sell books... kind of.The government shutdown is over. For now. After so much productive and rigorous hashtagging on Twitter, complaints on Facebook, and half-plagiarised news articles looking for traffic, our representatives had no choice but to start funding things again. And agree to fund the things they passed this year already.

During that time – while I was caught up in the virtual world of eating different blog posts like Cheetos – I stumbled upon one entitled “The Great Library of Alexandria was destroyed by budget cuts, not fire.”

Interesting headline. Related to the current crisis, albeit peripherally. It was enough to get almost 100,000 views since October 8, along with over 200 comments, so I would consider the piece a success.

And the best part? The blog post was advertising a book by the author. A book I actually clicked.

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Art-Shelf: A Platform that Lets Artists Do Art, Not Marketing

artshelfhomeWhether you’re a painter, a sketch artist or a sculptor, the Internet can be an alluring place to market your art.

But a lot of the time, artists get bogged down by the amount of work it takes to maintain a website, promote their work on social media, and constantly offer new pieces to stay relevant in the noise of the online world.

One of the platforms that’s trying to help change that is Art-Shelf, an online retail start-up that offers artists a place to sell their art, without having to spend the rest of the day marketing and advertising.

I recently spoke with founder Josh King about how the business started and what it’s like to market art online today.

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Forget Facebook, Your Band Needs Email Marketing

karnivoolemailBands have a lot of different attitudes when it comes to how they use Facebook.

You’ve got the guys who don’t like to fill out any information. Then the ones who prefer to post vague and mysterious, almost nonsensical blocks of text. You’ve also got overly gracious bands that thank fans for being at shows or buying an album or posting on their wall.

Most, though, reserve Facebook for just a few things: behind-the-scenes photos, concert pictures and announcements.

That’s usually the case whether your band’s Facebook Page has 10 Likes or 10,000. The real curiosity, then, is why all those Likes don’t translate into something more tangible a lot of the time.

Every band has been there: You post something about an upcoming show, sit back and… no one likes the post. Or comments.

Why? The truth is that only 15 percent of your fans see your posts. If the average band has about 200 Facebook fans, that means 30 people see that you’re having a show.

What’s the solution? Get email addresses. And keep getting them.

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6 Ways to Promote Your Band Online

promotebandWhen it comes to promoting creative stuff online, I think bands might have a bigger problem than anyone, even authors.

Now that bands can upload music to a Bandcamp page in about five minutes, they can give their stuff away. You know, the music they made. For free. To no one.

They can also charge money for it, which no one will spend because everyone is an entitled content thief.

So what’s the secret formula for bands trying to break through the noise with their own noise? How can they get discovered in a way that actually helps them… make money?

Here are the first six steps in that journey:

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How to Market Your Book as a Product Without Feeling Guilty

100_1264When it comes to the word “marketing,” writers get squeamish.

Call our books a “product,” and you’re likely to catch a fist to the face.

Okay, maybe not a fist. But at least a curled nose and some whispered muttering about the evils of capitalism.

Well, unfortunately for your sense of social justice, capitalism is here to stay. That means that marketing is a key to getting anyone to read your stuff and, well… your book is a product.

Your book is a product.

I know, I know. It doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t feel right. So let me tell you a little story that involves some mountains, a national park, and the inescapable crowd of Humanity.

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When You Can’t Just Make Art for Art’s Sake

My last blog post, which talked about the merger between Penguin and Random House, reminded me of an important lesson that, as someone who enjoys the notion of “being creative,” I shouldn’t have forgotten.

On the internet, you can’t make art for art’s sake.

If you do, that’s more or less assuming that your art is so good and so compelling that it will radiate through the deep infinite space of online content like a burning sun of genius.

I was guilty of this notion for a while. I took pride that I didn’t “blog” in the traditional sense, I just generously gave away my masterpieces to the unknowable masses.

That’s the biggest misconception among writers, artists, and musicians who are trying to use to the internet as a platform for their pieces:

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4 Things You Need to Know About the Brave, Lonely World of Blogging

Sometimes, blogging will make you feel like a lonely, misty mountaintop in the Scottish Highlands, except less scenic and more whiny.

When I posted my first attempt at “15 Minute Fury” – blog posts that I don’t spend more than 15 minutes on – I thought pretty hard about it.

You know, afterwards.

I was wondering if I was sacrificing quality for quantity. If, by trying to force myself to create something by giving myself a very tight deadline, I would write the equivalent of an essay someone would (charitably) grade as “D+.”

Then, I reflected on what blogging is these days. I’ve been doing it since about 2009. I’ve had two blog posts take off, two masterpieces that got around 25,000 views and ~500 social shares via Facebook and Twitter on Open Salon.

Yes, folks, they went “viral.” Or at least bacterial.

Here’s what I learned about the state of blogging from that experience:

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