How to write an open letter – the trolls guide

The world is a sucker for open-letters. Poor quality of writing or poor arguments haven’t dissuaded people from consuming or publishing them in ever greater numbers. Maybe there is an open-letter inside of you too.

I have discovered some golden rules that will help you launch your own assault on the sensibilities of the world through an open-letter. I have paid a severe price for discovering these rules though, many millions of my nurons were destroyed in reading a few open-letters and I hope you wont let this sacrifice go in-vain and heed my advise. These tips will help you troll the social media, get an emotional responses from your readers, get those those likes and comments which make your life worth living, and which give you that satisfaction that people actually care for your views. Well lets not break that illusion for now and proceed…

CALL THAT RANT AN OPEN-LETTER

Start with calling any of your rants an open-letter. This will lift it from being a stream of mean and meaningless thoughts to a secret that you are revealing to your readers and turning them into your co-conspirators. Rather than being ignored you might arouse curiosity as the readers will reflexively assume that you have some big secret to reveal. They wont have any time to evaluate your real motivation – your attention seeking behaviour, your film debut, or that axe that you want to grind against someone. Your motivation doesn’t matter because most people just don’t care nor have the time or capacity to process so much information. Just like you, people are pretty simplistic in their thinking too.

CHANNELISE YOUR FRUSTRATIONS

The first rule of writing an open letter is that you should get really angry at something. To be successful it dosent even matter what the issues is. You can choose to be angry about your mobile bill, or the lethargic cops, or the TV anchor, or the Indian captain, or if nothing else then horny delhi men is a sure win. Just ensure that before writing you can summon-up all that pent up frustration. It is much easier writing something in anger. So tap into all the hurt you carry inside you, all the scars that bad parenting left on you, those bad bosses you suffer everyday, traffic rage, rejection, etc and channelise it all into your words. You will realise that words flow easier when you are angry than when you want to say something nice. For instance, when was the last time you actually appreciated something in your life, or gave anyone a complement, or expressed your love for someone? And now think about the last time you moaned and cribbed or cursed or lost your temper? See what came to you easier… that is precisely my point. Anger can propels you into doing things that you wont ordinarily do. So while in a calm state of mind you may worry about your language skills, your coherence,  clarity of thought and self doubt, anger just wipes it all away and you may end up doing something that may surprise you. I am here to help you direct that fury into pushing that open-letter out of your system rather than cause some other damage.

BE THE MOST PISSIED GUY ONLINE

Always remember who your reader is. They are probably even more pissed than you are, so your writing needs to out-do their general level of frustration. Todays mantra is – the most pissed one wins. Positive emotions never make it to the headlines. When was the last time you saw a headline saying ‘Yesterday was the happiest day in the last century’; but you will read about the worst flood, the worst terror strike, the most gruesome murder etc. You get the point. Human emotions are easier to tap into if they are based on fear, anger and irritation – newspapers know it look how well they all are doing. Tapping into happier states is too much work for you and beyond the scope of this little blog, and if you really were that happy you wont be thinking of writing that rant as an open-letter anyway. Just remember what you want to achieve with your open-letter… not to say the right things, but to feel right. Saying the right things just dosent work – people’s eyes glaze over, and your ego just wont get the satisfaction of proving someone wrong, which is the point of this open-letter at a subconscious level. Hey I am your buddy here, I know what you want.

BECOME THE UNDERDOG

Always pick someone bigger than you for the open-letter to make sense. It is not like the real world where you will get beaten up by provoking the bigger guy. You don’t need to worry even if you are a coward in your real life and scared to even ask for your change back from the shop keeper, or if you dont have your facts right. There is almost no harm that can come to you now, even 66A has been scraped. If you are still too scared, then rant on an issue that you can generalise, and ideally use the worst example of it to make your point even if it is rarest-of-the-rare variety, and show how small you are against such grave injustice. Just remember that this is the inter-webs, here the big unwritten rule is – that the world belongs to the underdog, to the helpless, and to the weak.  You will soon have social-media backing you and, the cacophony of all those little voices will join you if you can somehow convince them that it could have been them, that little guy trampled over. Even if you are the CEO, or a powerful politician, or a wealthy businessman, you can still tap into this support for underdog as long as you never ever let people know your real power. That is the key to your open letter hitting the mark and getting that public sympathey. I mean if people actually saw you as one of those powerful people who can do something positive rather than moaning, then the whole illusion will be destroyed. It will be like Arvind Kejriwal on a Dharna.

DO NOT TRY TO BE ORIGINAL

People have a very simplistic view of the world, just the way you do. If somehow a really complex thought enters your brain or is too lateral, you will first struggle to communicate it, and then will end up confusing your readers. Ignore such distractions. Stay with short lines. Throw in name-calling for good measure for all those bastards/ jokers/ losers/ as@@$%#s. Use the popular frustration to your advantage. When people read your open-letter, they should feel like it is their thought you are voicing. When that happens then magic of virality starts to take over. People will pass on your letter to others by calling it a work of genius, or something equally profound, basically because someone agrees with what you said. This isnt the world of intellectuals where genius are the ones pushing the envelope on un-thought of thoughts, and challenging the rest of the established thinking. The more you stay with cliches the better it works – you want a reaction and an FB like, not change the world. Remember most the pioneers suffered too much ridicule or died a horrible death, dont risk it.

YOU ARE ALLOWED ONLY ONE

After publishing the first one, you may think you can write another one, but I strongly suggest that you dont. Everyone is allowed just one open-letter in this lifetime, it says in the holy books somewhere. The world has a capacity to take a lot of bull-shit,  but no-one can take two open-letters from you. Make this one shot count, wait for that perfect open letter to come to you, let that pressure build up, and then take that deeply satisfying dump, and dont worry of the world carries on like nothing happened. Celebrate the dump, it is out of your system.

If nothing else, by getting that open-letter out of your system and getting a few likes, you will know who thinks like you. And to those who ignore you, well you can choose the most ultimate revenge online by not liking their new profile pics. But do this at your own risk, your relationship will never be the same.

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