More Thoughts On Social Media Is Bullshit

David already covered the book, but author B.J. Mendelson specifically asked me for my thoughts. I’m happy to oblige.

9781250002952

With a title like Social Media Is Bullshit, B.J. Mendelson created a bit of a Rorschach test with his new book. Depending on how you feel about social media, or your role in using it for business, you’ll either love or hate his arguments.

But the truth is more complicated than that. Mendelson injects more actual Internet history (and yes, there is history) into his POV than any other book on social media I’ve read. Which is great to see — because it reminds us that even the newest social tools have been tried in some form before. And it’s clear to see history is repeating itself, even if the names have changed. Another major argument he makes is that some of the biggest social media successes had a boost — from either an offline media property, the power of celebrity or large business, or a little timing and pluck.

But one of the biggest targets of Mendelson’s writing, and derision, is the general circle-jerk ecosystem that’s sprung up around social: The self-proclaimed gurus who write “how-to” books, then go to conferences where they get to speak (and said books are distributed), and the companies suckered into buying some of their “consulting” or sending employees to these conferences. They all feed on each other, with little benefit to those looking in from outside.

Overall, the book is little scattered, jumping from point to point a little too haphazardly. But Mendelson does a thorough job footnoting his sources, even attributing quotes to specific conversations. It’s a good reality check, and very welcome wrench in the hype machine.

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About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.

  • http://www.microsourcing.com/ MicroSourcing

    The book offers a good perspective on social media. The historical approach to it is also interesting, since social media isn’t exactly new.

  • http://twitter.com/PeterLevitan Peter Levitan

    Two ways to view ad agencies and social media “sales.”

    1) Bereft of any new ideas, agencies have jumped on this one. And, good news, clients are way confused so it works. As usual, buyer beware.

    2) Why the hell not proclaim expertise and run with it? What else are these people supposed to do all day?