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If 6,000,000 People Read This Article, I Can Pay Off My Student Loans

And the monetary value of your attention

By Steven Christopher McKnightPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
From my Instagram, with the added caption, "Finals Mood." I have no recollection of this photograph being taken.

Okay, so I’m going to be a bit meta here. I’ve been a freelance content writer on Vocal for maybe a week at this point. In the past week, I’ve racked up about 170 views on my articles. Not bad. For those 170 views, I have cashed in at about sixty-nine cents (nice). You know, the big bucks (or, cents?). Legitimately the most income I’ve made since graduating from college in May. That being said, I’ve crunched the numbers, ran the theorems, did math-things, and I have determined a goal that is far beyond the realm of possibilities. If six-million people read my articles, I will be able to pay off my student loans in full.

It doesn’t even have to be six-million different people. It can just be six-million different viewing sessions on my articles. At 170 views already, I’m already 0.00283% of the way there. Isn’t that nifty! Math is fun. At that rate, then, at one-hundred and seventy views per week, it will take me about thirty-five thousand weeks to hit my goal. Evidently if I could nudge that weekly viewer count a little bit upwards, that would really help my chances of doing this thing. In thirty-five thousand weeks, my debt is going to accumulate a disgusting amount of interest. So if we could knock this out by the end of December, that would be great.

You may be asking, “Steven, why are you doing it this way?” You may also be asking, “Who the hell do you think you are, asking us to read this stupid article asking for our attention? Why can’t you go out and get a job?” To which I reply, first of all, you’re reading it, aren’t you? Second of all, I could, and I definitely will. This is an experiment, in which I slap up a picture of myself for the banner, beg for your attention, and see how much of it I can get. And maybe I’ll promise that once I break six-million reads, I’ll donate half my earnings from that point on to some undetermined charity. In fact, I would love to do that. The reason I don’t give to charity is because I don’t have the money to do that. If I break six million views, obviously the next few hundred-thousand will come pretty easy, and I can coast off of that. And, even if this doesn’t work, I’m sure I could find a job and pay off my debts eventually. Nothing to lose here, and everything to gain.

And at this point, you may be asking, “But Steven, what about those writers who write and market their articles with great care, use all the tools, keep track of the latest trends, utilize Search Engine Optimization (whatever that means), have worked for months or years to get the science down precisely so that they may make a decent income off of this medium?” And I don’t mean to disrespect them at all. They have their own tactics for making money, and it’s safe. It works for them. But that’s not where my talents or passions lie. I’m not about to rank all the talking animal characters in Marvel films in terms of strength, intelligence, and agility. I don’t want to share fun autumn recipes. I want to sell out. I want to announce loudly and proudly, “I am some dude named Steven, and I am shamelessly grappling for your attention.” That’s what I’m good at. Social media has made me excellent at demanding validation, and Vocal offers me the chance to monetize that skill. Yay, Vocal.

Our attention, our views, and our clicks are the most useful currency we have to offer in determining who rises and who falls on the internet. If your attention were worthless, there wouldn’t be ads on YouTube or billboards on the highway. If you have a device, my friend, you have power. What I am asking for you to do is use that power to benefit me for no reason other than the fact that you can. I won’t cite my potential as a writer or as an activist or as a person. As prescient as those ambitions may be, you don’t care about that, dear reader. You read this article because you could, and now I ask you to please check out my other articles, or bookmark this page and read through again, or share it with your friends on your Facebooks and your Twitters and your TikToks (still not sure what that is) and tell them, "Hey, this guy on the internet named Steven needs just a few moments of your time to help pay off his student loans." With your help, I could pay off my student loans by doing absolutely zero hard work. Do it for the meme, my friend. Do it because it’s possible. I’m just some guy on the internet named Steven, shamelessly grappling for your attention. You know what to do.


About the Creator

Steven Christopher McKnight

Disillusioned twenty-something, future ghost of a drowned hobo, cryptid prowling abandoned operahouses, theatre scholar, prosewright, playwright, aiming to never work again.

Venmo me @MickTheKnight

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Comments (2)

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  • Mackenzie Davis10 months ago

    I'm truly frightened to check in on your progress in this endeavor. So. I won't.

  • Jay Prajapatiabout a year ago

    ;) ;)

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