What is tangential content and how does this content strategy help me?

“Oh, you have this and that problem? This could be solved by chance with our product!” This summarizes a large part of the content that many companies still seem to think is unbeatable. However, if you stick with this strategy, you will not be able to keep up with those competitors who have already discovered tangential content.

You can find out what that is, how tangential content works, and why this content marketing strategy makes your brand a hundred times more appealing!

What is unrelated content?

Anyone who has paid attention in math knows that a tangent is “a straight line that touches a curve at a certain point”. This is precisely what tangential content is all about: points of contact. And not mathematical, but content.

Talking about the topic – what is the point?

With tangential Content, content is meant only indirectly with a theme do have. If you like, you could say that unrelated content deliberately scratches the actual sales aspect.

What is that supposed to do? Quite simply: The user automatically establishes a connection between useful/informative/entertaining content and the brand – not because he has been aggressively blasted with advertising, but because he has found added value for himself in the material. As Kerry Jones from Moz explains, this type of content makes it easier to gain backlinks and social shares.

How to do Tangential Content: a few examples

The art behind tangential content is not to market yourself too aggressively. Because the fact is: nobody likes showing off. You probably know that from yourself: what reason should you have to believe a provider immediately that he is the best in his area? Everyone makes this promise, but as a new customer, you have no idea what’s really behind it.

If you are on the other side of the field, and you are the person who wants to reach a broader target audience, you first have to win the trust of potential customers. And this works best if you offer them added value without any advertising, for example:

  • A dealer for wooden furniture reveals how best to combine which type of wood with the rest of the interior or how to maintain the surfaces. As a consumer, this brings you much more than just reading: “Wow, our furniture is simply unbeatable!”
  • A real estate agent gives tips on how to make your home more burglar-proof or which must-see insider tips are available in a specific environment.
  • A credit card provider makes a contribution to the most popular festivals or concerts in summer. After all, many (young) people pay the tickets for such events with a credit card – et voilà, and a whole new target group is addressed.

To make one thing clear straight away: if you start with unrelated content, it won’t automatically drive your sales up overnight. That’s not the point. Aha, and then why ? Let’s take a closer look at that, but first, let’s ask what speaks against good old branded content

What is there to object to branded content?

Well, it’s not that branded content is generally harmful. At the same time, content that is primarily concerned with the brand or a product is not the ultimate. But we don’t want to baseless for no reason – here are a few concrete examples of where the weak points of a branded content lie.

Branded/sponsored content does not look authentic.

Yes, it hurts to admit it, but: Advertorials are easy to recognize as such. And they are valued much less than content that actually offers added value and serves the search intent comprehensively. You can find out more about search intent here:

If the central message of a post is, “Wow, XY happens to be great,” it is not precisely convincing and is far from being as subtle as the marketing department might think.

Branded content makes link building tedious.

No landing page is keen to publish content that is too obviously advertising. Or would you, as a publisher, want to be continuously associated with extremely ad content? For the backlink portfolio, such material is not exactly the yellow card.

Branded content poses a challenge for content creators.

The more you have to write about a topic (and of course as enthusiastically as possible!), the more likely it is that the writer’s block will come at some point. Sooner or later, all enthusiasm will be used up. Then, with each repetition, the content becomes like the pasta that you warm-up for the third day in a row: boring, without substance, and unsatisfactory. You can do better.

 So never branded content again?

If you now get the impression that brand-related content with an advertising tendency is pretty much the greatest content sin that you can afford: No, of course, it isn’t. The content can deal with your brand or your product – but to the right extent.

Summarized:

  • Don’t just keep writing about how incredible your brand is so that you have something to post.
  • Focus on meaningful content, ideally a mix of branded and unrelated content.
  • A certain percentage of your content strategy should always be about unrelated topics.

What you ultimately want is to reach the users and arouse their interest. What you don’t wish to is random content for which people have only a tired shrug. And that brings us back to the question of what is the significant advantage of tangential content!

What does tangential content bring?

In the pilot episode of Mad Men, advertising professional Don Draper announced: “Advertising is based on one thing: happiness.” And there is not much else behind Tangential Content: This content works so well precisely because it hits a nerve on an emotional level.

Admittedly, it is not always about feelings of happiness, but it is about generating specific reactions. If you think a little bit around the corner, you quickly notice: Pretty much every topic can be emotionalized. The user always brings along any problems or wishes – the art of tangential content is to respond to these needs. And that has several advantages:

  • trust

By showing that you have more content than stubborn advertising phrases and instead also regularly gives helpful advice or insights, you become a trustworthy source of information. Trust is the basis for every good customer relationship – and a critical factor in Google’s EAT Score.

  • backlinks

If, for example, a blogger rates your guest post as enjoyable for your target group, you have a much better chance that this person will publish your content. Ideally, you will get backlinks from sites that the Google algorithm considers to be particularly relevant and thereby ride on the wave of success.

  • Range

With unrelated content, you reach completely new target groups and no longer “only” the audience that you have already built up in your niche. That means: In theory, you can also use it to address people who have never heard of you or who would never come into contact with your offer on their initiative.

It is also essential that you are one step ahead of the competition with Tangential Content. Surprisingly, many marketers still shy away from deviating too far from their content line. A tip on the side: It’s best to be smart about the principle of content gap analysis!

If you do your thing well and diligently disseminate your irrelevant content, you are already making a pretty big leap forward with your content marketing strategy.

Tangential content: step by step

Perhaps you think now that in this article, you have hardly discovered any specific tips on how you should proceed when creating such content. With this in mind: Time to change that! Here are the four most essential tips for original tangential content :

  1. Set your personas.

A buyer persona is nothing more than an ideal customer as you imagine it. This fictional personality is the template that you use to tailor your tangential content: what needs does it have? Where can you pick them up? What is she interested in, and what not?

  1. Forget the thought, “This has nothing to do with us.”

Think outside the box, that’s always so easy to say. However, it is and remains one of the essential rules for creative, exciting tangential content. Most of the topics can somehow be modified in such a way that they become unusual for a broad target group. Ideally, you can even relate them to current events. Overall, you want to generate emotions that have a positive response – and of course, the bright idea for it often doesn’t come overnight, but it definitely does exist.

  1. Test the resonance of your tangential content.

Before you try to build links, you should first test how your content is received. With a sponsored content ad on Facebook, for example, not much is lost, and you quickly notice whether there is still room for improvement or, unfortunately, your topic wasn’t as good as you might have thought.

  1. Think about who might be interested in accepting you as a guest author.

Are you pretty sure that your tangential content has potential? Then it is high time to build a link. Dare to speak to people in niches where you have never moved before.

As I said: this is not about the safe but boring standard route, but about the promising, adventurous detour.

So how could that look at a concrete example? Let’s take the real estate agent that we mentioned earlier and take a look at which direction tangential content could go here.

How does tangential content work? An example

Housing or renting is a topic that is bound to affect pretty much everyone. As a beginner of irrelevant material, our brokers could, therefore, initially simply turn to a broad audience and take up a very paramount concern: What if my house/apartment is broken into?

What is most helpful to the user?

The break-in scenario is a concern that the brokerage office should take seriously as a content provider and can thus prove to be trustworthy. So a guide for the company blog is written on how to protect your own four walls from burglars.

If you google “Tips against burglary,” an example immediately catches your eye: In addition to the police themselves, electricity provider E.on also gives security tips, making it number 5 in the organic category at the time the screenshot was taken Search results accomplished. Not bad when it comes to visibility. And would you have automatically bridged the gap between “electricity provider” and “home security”? Just.

It is all the more professional and credible , of course, if experts can be quoted in your article . In addition, because not every reader will be willing to spontaneously invest in a security front door, there should also be tips that are easy to implement and do not cost the world.

Where is the content best?

As soon as our brokers are satisfied with the content, they can start sending out inquiries . For example, you could try a travel agency, which of course works best when the holiday season is high and people realize that their apartment will remain empty for a while …

What alternatives could you offer?

And what if the bureau in the brokerage office or the travel agency that is supposed to publish the article were too negative about the topic of burglary? Then another twist would have to be created, for example a checklist with tips on when and whether you can sublet your apartment as an Airbnb. Or what rights and obligations you have when renting an apartment. Or, or, or.

And how does that relate to the actual service?

All of this content would not have to do directly with the job of a real estate agent, but nevertheless with the topic of living. It would thus not directly of advertising and yet thematically related and useful to the User Content . In other words: articles that could theoretically achieve a pretty good reach because you offer added value and cover the most important keywords (keyword: keyword research ). 

Attention: Our example here is of course extremely simplified . It starts with the fact that “a broad audience” who is “worried about a break-in” is not a serious target group. But it’s also more about clarifying how tangential content works and what you can theoretically do with it: quite a bit!

 So it’s best to think about your next Tangential Topics today and tell us here what experiences you’ve had!

Why politicians shouldn’t block followers

Just one click. The critical Twitter follower is blocked and never annoying again. Politicians also use this social media function. Can you do that?

Politicians like to block critical users on Twitter./ Blocked: (c) Getty Images / gustavofrazao / Twitter

I block those who don’t agree with me on social media. Politicians always act according to this motto. Can you do that? One who is not allowed to do this is US President Donald TrumpThis was decided by a New York court and thus confirms an earlier judgment. The US president blocked seven of his critics on Twitter. Trump violated the first constitutional amendment of the United States. This prevents the government from suppressing critical opinions. Judge Barrington D. Parker Officials who use social media for government work are prohibited from excluding people who disagree from the online dialogue. The Justice Department, which Trump legally represents, argued, “President Trump’s decision to block users on his private Twitter account, does not violate the first constitutional amendment.” A spokesman announced after the verdict, to consider further steps. Trump unlocked the seven followers during the trial.

Journalist sues politicians

Trump exemplifies a whole range of politicians on social media – including in Germany. Kerstin Schreyer, Bavarian Minister of State for Family, Labor and Social Affairs, Green Party politician Renate Künast and Niels Annen, Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office are some examples. Blocking users becomes particularly questionable when it comes to journalists who are prevented from doing their jobs. That was the case with Annen. The Minister of State blocked Israeli Benjamin Weinthal on Twitter last year. They immediately announced a lawsuit against Annen.

It is not entirely clear why the state minister, who is followed by around 9,000 users, blocked the journalists. Presumably, the article “Foreign Ministry celebrates Iran’s Islamic Revolution” in the Jerusalem Post provided the occasion. Weinthal criticized the participation of the Minister of State in a celebration at the Iranian embassy in Berlin on the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran. He described the blocking on Twitter as “illegal interference with the freedom of the press, information and freedom of expression”. It was no longer possible for him to read Annen’s tweets, which also included public announcements by the Federal Foreign Office. In the meantime, Annen has lifted the blockade. Weinthal’s lawyer warned him. However, Annen sees “no legal basis” in the complaint of the journalist.

Interference with freedom of information and expression

The Society for Freedom Rights (GFF) sees it differently. “If an authority blocks people on Twitter, there is an interference with freedom of information, and at the same time illegal unequal treatment,” GFF board member Boris Burghardt wrote on the GFF website in 2018. Authorities questionably sealed themselves off critical voices through Twitter blockades. The GFF, therefore, planned to sue the police blocking the users. Affected parties should report taking part in a model lawsuit. However, the association has not yet become active. When asked by press spokesman, Anna Mattes said, Head of Fundraising and Office Manager at GFF, in writing: “Our experience so far is that in all cases the blockages have been lifted after this has been requested in writing.” Therefore, there was “no need for a lawsuit.”

The blocking party criticizes the disagreement among users on Twitter, among other things. In a small request from April 2018, members of the Bundestag Niema MovassatAndré Hahn and Petra Sitte requested information about the blocking of Twitter accounts by the federal ministries and federal authorities. The Federal Government’s response shows that it has blocked at least 260 reports since 2013. The number of unreported cases is probably much higher. Many authorities did not provide any information. Because “only the number of currently blocked users can be viewed on the Twitter platform. Evaluation over the requested period (editor’s note: 2013 to 2018) is technically not possible and is not maintained.”

Scientific service and lawyers disagree with the federal government

Another finding: the authorities and ministries all act differently. “The federal departments decide independently and according to their rights which criteria are used to block users.” Because “a central decision by the federal government would violate the departmental principle.” The authorities and ministries each had their criteria. Focal points are to prevent the spread of insults, defamation and violent, discriminatory content. Many jurisdictions also referred to netiquette for their social media channels. The Federal Government does not see freedom of information and the press (Article 5 GG) as violated by this practice. After all, a blocked user can still view a Twitter account publicly. He shouldn’t log in.

However, an opinion of the Federal Government’s Scientific Service in 2018 comes to a different conclusion. Specifically, it deals with the blocking of users by the police, but the view also applies to politicians, according to legal experts. The Scientific Service sees the following fundamental rights restricted by the blockade: freedom of expression, freedom of information, the right to equal participation and, in the case of media representatives, freedom of the press. “For the encroachment on the freedom of information, it should be irrelevant that users can gain access to the short message account under a different identity”, the scientific service contradicts the Federal Government’s assessment. “The fact that an official ban on houses does not burden a citizen because he can enter the office again with a false identity” is an equally “pointless” argument,

Blocking is only okay with crimes

Exclusion of a user is only permitted if he is following the neutrality requirement. This means that a user cannot be blocked simply because he expresses “an unpopular opinion”. In the case of crimes such as insults, blocking is okay.

The German administrative courts take a similar view. You define the comment function of official social media channels as a “public institution”. Anyone who creates one undertakes to grant all users equal access — this obligation results from Article 3, paragraph 1 GG. Anyone who blocks users for no reason and thus excludes them is violating their right to equal participation. Blocking affects the freedom of expression and information of those affected. By the way: If you declare your account as private and think that blocking users is allowed per se, you are wrong. A political statement is always regarded as a public institution if part of the communication relates to the office and the exercise of office.

Why the Iranian government is following Instagrammer

Four Instagram stars were arrested earlier this year. What that means for the young protest in Iran.

Influencer Sahar Tabar (22) and dancer Sahra Afsharian (26) were arrested for “immoral behavior”

A young woman shuffles across the floor with her new sneakers, tank top and platinum blonde hair to electronic music. It is not clear whether she is dancing on a roof or in a courtyard. After a few seconds, she holds a poster in the camera: a poster by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The face of the young woman cannot be seen on the video, but it is probably the 26-year-old dancer Sahra Afsharian. Afsharian was arrested after the video was released last week. Your account, which had over 95,000 followers, was set up privately.

Arrested for posting on Instagram – the dancer is not an isolated case. Iran has estimated to have arrested several dozen Instagrammers in 2019, reports Jasmin Ramsey. She is the communications director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran based in New York (“Center for Human Rights in Iran”). This independent organization, with the help of whistleblowers in Iran, reports on human rights violations in the country. It is located abroad because civil law NGOs are not allowed to work freely in Iran. Four arrests of female Instagramers have been reported in the past week. Among them are two other dancers and the influencer Sahar Tabar, who became known for her grotesque pictures on Instagram as “Zombie Version” by Angelina Jolie.

According to the “Center for Human Rights in Iran”, athletes, actors and models were also summoned by the Iranian authorities, and some were charged. To protect those affected, Jasmin Ramsey may not disclose any names or other information. Kickboxer Shabnam Shahrokhi explains on Instagram that she posts less because “being sincere can be viewed as a crime that results in a three-month to the two-year sentence”.

Women took off their headscarves on the street, took photos and filmed themselves

The arrests are justified with “immoral behavior” that violates Sharia law. The term “Sharia” includes all moral and moral codes, such as the prohibition of alcohol consumption and public dancing. Women also have to wear headscarves and are not allowed to sing publicly. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has been an Islamic state of God according to the constitution and has the Sharia as the sole source of jurisprudence.

The recent arrests and the government’s repressive stance are “a way to put pressure on and scare young people,” says women’s activist Masih Alinejad on the phone. She lived in exile in the USA and founded the protest movements “white Wednesday” and “secret freedom” in 2014, She posted old pictures of herself on Facebook, in which she takes off her headscarf at various locations in Iran. Alinejad asked if other women also had such views and triggered a feminist wave. Women took off their hijabs on the street, took photos and films, and then uploaded the videos to social networks. Through these protests, Masih Alinejad has now gained three million followers on Instagram, more than the Iranian president.

What young people have previously done behind closed doors can now be shown to the public via social media. “Iran’s government wants to impose a stunning lifestyle on the people. But on Instagram, you can see the daily civil disobedience of young people who choose their lifestyle,” said Alinejad. Nowhere is it more evident than on Instagram that social networks are a platform for the rebellion of young Iranians against the regime: while on national television women have only been shown in black body cover for 40 years, young Iranians can be seen on Instagram colours. Hashtags like #DancingIsNotACrime, #WhiteWednesday or #MyCameraIsMyWeapon made the posts increasingly government-critical. And: The whole world can watch

Their success proves that many people in the country want to see a change

“The Iranian government has lost the fight. We only see Iran on the world map. But in truth we have two. One in the official media in the country, one in the social media,” emphasizes Alinejad. Iranian officials recognize the power of social media and want to control it. But every time they force someone to close one account, another pops up. With their success, Instagrammers prove that many people in the country want to see a change.

In addition to the Sharia law, which also prohibits dancing and singing on Instagram, there seems to be another reason for the actions of the Iranian authorities: offended pride. In April, US President Donald Trump classified the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a “terrorist organization”. This guards, among other things, compliance with Sharia law and is considered a moral police in Iran. As part of Trump’s U.S. sanctions, Instagram blocked the accounts of several members of the Revolutionary Guard. Since then, Alinejad says the government has been putting more pressure on Instagramers, especially young women, to demonstrate control. However, the women’s activist believes in a change in the country: “Iran is in a severe crisis.

The U.S.’s maximum pressure on Iran will work in addition to the Sharia law, which also prohibits dancing and singing on Instagram, there seems to be another reason for the actions of the Iranian authorities: offended pride. In April, US President Donald Trump classified the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a “terrorist organization”. This guards, among other things, compliance with Sharia law and is considered a moral police in Iran. In the wake of Trump’s U.S. sanctionsInstagram blocked the accounts of several members of the Revolutionary Guard. Since then, Alinejad says the government has been putting more pressure on Instagramers, especially young women, to demonstrate control. However, the women’s activist believes in a change in the country: “Iran is in a severe crisis. The maximum pressure from the United States on Iran will work, just like the maximum pressure from FIFA on Iran will do: women can now watch the stadiums to watch football.

It is unclear whether this pressure will affect. Facebook, Telegram and Twitter have been banned in recent years. The Iranian government’s conservative and reform-minded forces are currently debating a ban on Instagram. The platform was initially apolitical. Young people took photos and had fun. They ignored the political events. But Instagram has changed. It became the only popular western social media app used by millions of Iranians every day. “The press is talking about a possible war in Iran,” says Masih Alinejad, “but let’s be honest. You don’t wear a headscarf when you are seven? Then you are a criminal. When you dance, you are a criminal. If you go for a walk with a dog, you are a criminal. When you post a video are you criminal You will be punished and arrested. This is war.” Iran’s young generation has attracted attention with the help of Instagram. It is questionable how long they will have this remedy.

Facebook is said to have deliberately induced children to spend money in online games

Minors unintentionally spent a lot of money in online games – Facebook even enforced this practice, as was revealed in a lawsuit.

Facebook is said to have systematically persuaded minors to spend money on online games for years, and their parents subsequently refused to refund them to generate more profit. In individual cases, this involves several hundred or even thousands of US dollars, as has now become known in the context of a class-action lawsuit in the USA. This reports the website Reveal, which belongs to the non-commercial organization Center for Investigative Reporting.

Unintentional purchases by minors in online games

The approximately 135-page documents released by Facebook as part of the lawsuit include internal company memos, confidential strategy papers, and messages from Facebook employees from 2010 to 2014, Reveal writes. The class-action lawsuit at a US district court in 2012 is directed against Facebook’s business practices when buying minors in online games. For titles such as “Angry Birds”, “PetVille”, “Happy Aquarium” or “Ninja Saga”, children have equipped their game characters with items that are subject to a charge and have spent money without the consent of their parents.

According to Reveal, despite knowledge of the situation, Facebook has even encouraged game developers to continue to motivate children to buy without parental consent. According to the court documents, the company has downplayed this approach internally as “friendly fraud” and also as part of its game strategy. The children were sometimes not even aware that they were currently spending their parents’ money on a linked credit card. In one case, a 15-year-old spent $ 6,500 in two weeks.

Facebook employees spoke of their own “fraud.”

Facebook employees were aware of this, as can be seen from the documents: There is talk of the “problem” that “FF-minors” (minors in connection with the “friendly fraud”) did not realize that they were spending real money would. Another document shows that many parents do not know that Facebook has stored their credit card details and uses them for debits – and that their children could use them to spend money without any authentication.

Facebook is said to have ignored warnings from its employees on the subject for years and even rejected a system developed by employees to prevent such unwanted purchases. With this system, minors should enter the first six digits of their parents’ credit card before making a purchase. The process was tested for a while in 2011 and is believed to have reduced unwanted purchases and the rate of chargebacks. However, Facebook did not use it.

A lot of reclaims from parents

After parents had become aware of the costs caused by their offspring, Facebook mostly refused to reimburse the resulting claims. Instead, Facebook referred the parents to the bank, to an arbitration board, or the lawsuit. According to the documents, the chargeback rates by credit institutions were so high (an internal Facebook report from 2011 gives them an average of 9 per cent) than they would have exceeded the two per cent threshold set by the US FTC for overtly fraudulent business practices,

An employee of Rovio, the developer of “Angry Birds”, had noticed the high refund rates of up to 10 per cent in the game, and he turned to Facebook. Facebook then looked at the matter and determined that 93 per cent of the claims for “Angry Birds” were due to unintentional purchases. A Facebook employee wrote: “In almost all cases, parents knew that their children were playing Angry Birds, but they thought that the children couldn’t buy anything without a password or authorization (as in iOS).” According to Facebook’s investigation, the average age of “Angry Birds” players at this time was five years. This employee also writes that if you block this path, “good profit” will be offered.

Game developers “educate” to stick to practice

Phone as Source of Light

However, Facebook decided to keep this practice and launched an internal memo titled: “Friendly Fraud – what it is, why it is challenging, and why you shouldn’t prevent it”. The memo states “maximum profit” as a corporate goal and instructs employees to “educate” game developers accordingly so that children can continue to spend money without their parents’ knowledge. In the event of complaints, the money should not be reimbursed, but the dispute should be settled with free allowances for the game, the memo says.

If parents contacted Facebook via the credit institutions and asked for a refund, the company also planned to use a program that would automatically reject the claims without being checked, as can be seen in another document. According to Reveal, the company was waiting at this time to see whether it could successfully reject enough reclaims so that the use of the automatism made sense – but whether the decision about the deployment was made is not clear from the documents.

On request, Facebook only told Reveal that it regularly reviews its business practices, revised the guidelines in 2016 and has since held special funds for reimbursements of minors’ purchases.

Published internal documents increasingly criticize Facebook’s business practices. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, for example, the British Parliament confiscated documents that were said to reveal the company’s knowledge. The whistleblower Christopher Wylie, who was responsible for the announcement of this scandal, also reaffirmed that Facebook had known about it from the start.

I hate this internet!

I hate this Internet »- that’s the name of a book by the American writer Jarett Kobek, which was published in 2016. And I have to admit I haven’t read it. I no longer have time to read books; after all, I’m wasting my time online.

I hate this Internet. I just stole that sentence even though I didn’t yet read the book, but that’s okay. In the internet age, you can take ideas from each other. You just have to call it “quote” or “share” or speak wisely of the “postmodern remix culture”, and so it is excellent the stealing. That’s why I hate this Internet.

I hate this Internet because it made me a goofy fool. I have forgotten how to read it correctly. And by that, I mean going through a text carefully, from top left to bottom right, sentence by sentence, idea by idea. Instead, I have turned into a potent scanning machine that can look at a newspaper article, search for keywords and within a few seconds can reproduce the content of what I have written – without even thinking about it. The worst part is that, unlike reading, scanning is not fun at all, like a lot of things that are subject to productivity logic.

When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is scroll through my feeds, always following the same procedure.

I can already hear the first objection: “But on the internet, there are mostly cat videos and stupid challenges like the one with planking, and don’t you remember the Harlem Shake?” I remember it logically, but like me, As you can see, the Internet is now divided into two poles: the funny, stupid and the rushed-efficient one, which forgets that we are human beings and not machines. (Of course, things are not entirely as black and white, and I would never put it that way in “real life”, but in the Twitter era, it takes steep theses to be read.)

In his book “How to waste time on the internet”, art critic Kenneth Goldsmith formulated the idea that people today are no less concentrated than they were fifty years ago – and he advocates that we fundamentally rethink concentration: not as contemplative sitting at the desk, but as juggling lots of information at the same time. So he thinks that there is also a kind of concentration in the distraction of the web – scanning, sharing and chatting. I understand what he is aiming for, and I don’t think in principle that everything was better in the past because in the past there was also Chernobyl and shoulder pads – but I can’t get anything out of this idea because the digital-only stresses me.

When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is scroll through my feeds, always following the same procedure: first messenger, then mail, then Instagram, then Twitter. On the plus side, you could say that I have never been as connected as I am today. In my teenage years, while I spent hours on Myspace at the cost of the time I could have spent with real girlfriends, social media has become a facilitator for my “real” relationships. So a friend sends me a voice message every morning to wish me a beautiful day, and I have a chat for each group of friends in which people short-circuit who is where.

After ten years of Internet torture, I can no longer think just one thought at a time. My brain always feels like ten tabs are open at the same time. When I think of my mind, I don’t think of a red, slippery mass, I think of my browser. In one window it feels about deadlines, in the other about an argument with a friend, in the third, an inner voice thinks about what you could cook for dinner, and in the fourth self-doubt rages because a text does not want to come. And the nasty thing is: when I go to bed at night, these tedious pop-ups pop up mentally. But it’s not about terms and conditions, it’s about fundamental issues. Am I living right? What does happiness mean? How is dying? Who Invented the Internet?

Tweet instead of writing a CV

I hate this Internet because I could read a book, but I get stuck on a tweet saying “Pretending to work more stressful than working”. I hate the web because I want to put out the waste glass and then do a BuzzFeed quiz to answer the question: “Which Kardashian sister are you based on your favourite pizza toppings?” I curse myself because I have so many every day. Look at things that I don’t enjoy. If I were to muck out my feed with Marie Kondo, 99 per cent of the stuff would have to be removed. To be honest, I would like to delete all of my social media accounts – but don’t, because I feel like I don’t exist otherwise.

And the thing is: I would not exist. I don’t just tell myself. Sure, I would be less stressed – but honestly: What good is it if I don’t get any more from parties and podiums because all the flyers are posted on Instagram? What brings me relaxation when nobody thinks of me anymore? And what should I do with more freedom if I don’t get any more jobs as a freelance writer? Finally, an employer once told me that he didn’t want a CV, he’d rather watch my Twitter.

I have so much to do — no time for internet security.

That said: I hate the impatience that comes with overstimulation. On Spotify, I push almost all of the songs away after a minute because they’re boring me. I hate the Internet because there are people now who choose their holiday destination according to the criterion of how “instagrammable” it is. I hate it because everyone behaves like they’re famous. How do people get to post three selfies a day? Why do you feel that I am interested in your new gym outfit? I know: It is not imaginative to get upset about people who share photos of avocado toasts or “inspirational quotes” – you could say it is as unimaginative as people who take pictures of avocado toasts or “inspirational quotes” divide. But unfortunately, my brain is so dull

The Internet controls every aspect of my life. I have no idea how much information I feed these algorithms, but I can say this much: The Zalando recommendations are getting better and better. While they used to suggest ugly college sweaters to me, today they want to make me pretty leopard coats. It populates my credit card number on almost all websites. I am the worst in internet security. I know I should read myself in there, but it’s so complicated and annoying, and I have so much to do with all the messages that I have to answer and the memes that my friends post. No time for internet security. And if I don’t want to react to all the beeping, I just open YouTube and watch music videos by the rapper Deichkind.

On evil days there is also the phenomenon of the «Internet Voids». There is such a dark gullet on the Internet that opens up now and then, mostly on Saturday when you have nothing to do. Then you start somewhere and google something that interests you (“What happens in the body if you don’t drink for a month?”). Then you end up with an animal documentary about the turtles of Galápagos – and cooking recipes for gluten-free bagels you to all music videos that have ever been uploaded to dead legends on YouTube. While the sun is rising again, you lie exhausted on your bed and ask yourself whether Falco is dead or whether he is making a beautiful life somewhere like it in this confused blog?

The Internet is a voracious monster that gobbles up all my life energy – which is a shame because once the mood was hopeful. For example, the scientist and feminist Donna Haraway had the utopia that the virtual would liberate us. In her famous “A Cyborg Manifesto” from 1985, she formulated the thesis that humans will soon become cyborgs in the technological age: hybrid beings who live in reality and cyberspace at the same time. She imagined that in this world all dichotomies (man-woman, man-machine, etc.) would become fluent, and egalitarian society would be possible. Because: If all avatars in the virtual consist of zeros and ones, it doesn’t matter what position someone has in “real life”.

It fucks

And to a certain extent, the Internet has freed us. Freed from a public in which only a few speak. Everyone has the chance to be heard. The Internet is the new street. The Internet is the place for discussion, for arguing, for protest, for # outcry, for #MeToo, for #blacklivesmatter. And nothing is further from me than to downplay this progress. However, what neither Haraway nor anyone else could have predicted was how social media would work. Because no egalitarian utopia is created. By filling these profiles with your own life – pampering selfie, relationship status, political opinion – old role models and prejudices simply shifted into the virtual.

I hate the fact that likes make me feel good. I hate the fact that I am afraid of the silence and that I am always irritated by information. I listen to podcasts while I’m cooking, I need the Nike app when I’m jogging, and I answer emails on the train. I hate the Internet because you can’t get lost in a city and generally think you know everything. I hate this Internet because it provides information about knowledge and we always confuse the two. We live in the age of two-dimensionality because the way the Internet works has killed the depth, the slowness and the stubbornness that is inherent in knowledge.

Sometimes life with the Internet feels like I’m starving to death, even though someone is choking me all the time. This feeling is particularly bad when dozens of people send me emojis at the same time – and I reply to their communication bombing seconds later with GIFs and carelessly typed «hahas». It’s like cotton candy: chatting is sweet and gives you a short rush, but in the end, you probably feel sick. Studies are showing that people have to spend time alone to be empathetic – so I’m concerned about how badly I can endure myself now.

I hate this Internet because I can only see what’s missing, what party I haven’t been to, what text I haven’t read. It hurts that I seem to be missing out on all of these things – and at the same time stupid. Whenever I have nothing to do, I reload the feed. Nietzsche once said that you have to endure boredom to experience creativity. But how should that work if you have 4G? I hate the Internet because I want to create something permanent, but I only watch Insta stories. I hate the Internet for its compulsive irony and Kylie Jenner. I hate the Internet because I’m afraid that in fifty years from now I’ll say fuck, I’ve wasted my life online.