11/07/2014
"The local hospitol has been shut down"

The job opening said "Viral Content Writers".

I've long not checked my job openings. In fact, I haven't updated my CV in a while - it doesn't even say I've had my current job for two years. Talk about being too, you know, lax. I also haven't updated my settings in a while, so I'm pretty sure I'm still getting mostly entry-level writing jobs, even though I've been working for six years and I'm eligible, more or less, for middle-level jobs.

The job opening said "Viral Content Writers" and, perhaps testament to the nature of the job, I just had to click it.

We are in need of copy writers to create quality write-ups and articles that cover a wide range of subjects/topics that catch the readers' curiosity and interest. Such topics and write-ups are expected to be social media-shareworthy.

That is, I must say, a very clunky paragraph. I know it's a job opening, but it's... I don't know. It's shabby. But then again, I am not a copywriter. I am just a guy running a blog. What do I know?

Also, that paragraph is not viral in any way. So much for selling yourself.

The monthly salary, depending on how experienced you are, ranges from P20,000 to P40,000. Good deal, you might think. You get paid forty grand to just sit there, mess around on the Internet, looking (half-heartedly, but don't we all?) for something that might just be viral, and write about it. Let's say you have to write eight articles a day, a hundred words each minimum. You have to hit the metrics, make sure you cite your sources, and not be a pain in the ass of whatever you're writing about. Forty grand. You can be a jeje living the life of a yuppie.

I know, I know, this is similar to my old job, although we did not have pretenses of being viral. Then again, "viral" was not a thing in 2008. Hashtags had yet to be invented, and Facebook still suggested we start each post with "[name] is", resulting in clunky statements like "Niko is wanting to get out of the house," although you can always delete the "is" and write "Niko wants to get out of the house" instead.

Anyway, we had to hit the metrics, make sure we cite our sources, and not be a pain in the ass of spoiler-phobic fans and network executives. It was a pretty straightforward affair, until at one point our bosses decided to spice things up. Hey, we watch those television shows too, right? Why not let us insert our thoughts into what we write too? Me, it helped a lot. It was the one time I really (gasp) enjoyed my job, because I really felt connected to my audience, whoever that may be. "Snark is in" was the motto. It should draw people in. Didn't quite work, but those who did stick around loved the personality.

But, well, times have changed. It no longer matters what you think; what matters is whether something is, err, passable. Well, that's for the most part. The more established bloggers draw lots of eyeballs due to their personalities alone. But if you're not up there, and you want to be up there, well, good luck trying to be hit by lightning. Might as well just be passable. Be, um, social media-shareworthy. God, I hate that term. It's just so clunky.

So what makes something viral? Puppies? Kittens? Babies? Babies interacting with puppies? Puppies fainting while babies interact with them? Someone out there has turned that into a science, evidently, because now we have positions such as "viral content writers" whose job is to bombard us with frothy articles of cute things. Or string-tugging images of very sick people who, supposedly, will miraculously get cured when you comment "amen". Or stories of scary things being much closer to home than you might think.

Today I saw at least three posts about ebola apparently infecting twelve (specifically) people... in Pasig. And in Cebu. And in some other place in the Philippines. "The local hospitol has been shut down," the blurb says, and yes, it does say "hospitol".

And then I scrolled down and saw another post, about a woman being abducted and raped in a van in Magallanes. I bet this also happened along Roxas Boulevard and on the Skyway.

Most likely, this earns someone P40,000 a month.

And your responses...

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