How to win friends and influence people

In the age of social media, the old ways have been discarded. The advice dispensed used to be: be nice, be kind, be generous, be interested, acknowledge your mistakes, be grateful, make other people more important.

For the travelling salesmen of social media, desperate to sell their wares — ideas, books, online seminars, dawah, influence — such a course of action is unthinkable. No, there is an easier way.

It starts with a freshly minted account on the social media platform of your choice. Throw in a random profile picture stolen from the web — preferably of a young white woman. And then make a simple declaration: “I just became Muslim”. Within two just weeks you will have several thousand followers, most of them Muslim men — not to mention several thousand marriage proposals. Give it a month, and you may have ten thousand, or even more, depending on the quality of your inspirational posts.

The playbook witnessed thereafter goes something like this: quietly change your account username and profile picture, update your biography with a reference to your true calling: writer, thinker, imam, entrepreneur… and enjoy your now vast following to whom you can pontificate ceaselessly, safe in the knowledge that this vast following bears witness to your authority and influence.

For the impatient, yearning for their lucky break, desperate for attention, wishing they were somebody, capable of selling whatever it is that they do, this is how you win friends and influence people. In short: whatever it takes to succeed, by whatever means.

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