A Cynic’s Guide to Social Media

I suspect Social Media is a bit like sex – if the idea fills you with dread or gives you a headache, you’re probably doing it wrong. And if the idea of an SM (no, not that one…) cold turkey leaves you in a panic, perhaps you need to look at things from a different angle.
After David French and I wrote The Little Book of Cynics, several people asked us if it was humour or genuine cynicism. We knew then that we had found our brand. With that in mind, here’s a Cynic’s Guide to Social Media.
Facebook – Millions of people in a crowded square, all trying to sell the same thing at the same time – themselves. And they do this by wearing bright colours, shouting and being quirky. LOL.
LinkedIn – A massive dinner party where everyone tries to simultaneously pass out their own business cards, while giving a cursory glance to everyone else’s cards, adopting the standard phrase, “We should do business some time,” and then waiting for someone else to buy something from them first.
MySpace – Lots of people at a party where most all the trendsetters have left, now telling one another that at last the party can get interesting, with no idea how to make that happen.
Twitter – Mass texting for those without a mobile. Perfect for those with a little something to say and very little time to say it.
Website – A shop front. Customers will be coming soon, probably, because the Google sandwich board man just walked past and waved at you.
Blog – A constantly revised press release for your shop front. Which means you then leave your shop and walk the streets handing out press releases to strangers.


  1. Great post, Derek – you cynic you! So what party(ies) do you like to hang out at? Me- facebook, linked, blog, and a coming soon website. Cheers!

  2. Derek says:

    As you may have gathered, I'm not a massive fan of FB. I use LinkedIn, Twitter, the blog of course, and a website. I've still to convinced that my social media time is well spent though.

  3. …the fact that you have 59 followers on your blog, 170 followers on Twitter and 60 followers on Facebook that actually interact with you would suggest that it's time well spent in terms of 'social media networking' – it's worth keeping up the effort and I have a feeling the rewards will become apparent later 😉

    Linedin's the worst of the lot in my opinion – absolutley useless – and there's a priest on his way to Myspace for the last rites.

  4. Derek says:

    LinkedIn seems to have a business specific focus.
    I agree that an interactive community is part of the purpose of social media.

  5. Social Jump says:

    I think MySpace should be: people too stubborn to grow up and indy artists who think that their garages are still the best place to make music.

  6. Derek says:

    Hi Social Jump, and thanks for stopping by. Are you in NJ or is that just a figment of Sitemeter's imagination? I had a couple of MySpace pages, back in the day, to promote my writing. You know when you wait on the street in winter for a bus, and no bus ever comes? Well that's what it felt like! I think part of the problem is that everyone is looking for a guaranteed model to follow – whether that's publishers looking for 'the same, only different' or writers or musicians. Someone should start a site called 'original thought' and see how much traffic it pulls.

  7. Social Jump says:

    Derek, Sitemeter's definitely not imagining things, I am indeed in the great state of Jersey. 😀

    and a site called "original thought" that pulls traffic, LOL. Have you seen how many news clips that are exactly the same? Original thought is going down a slippery path, my friend. A long and slippery path with no end in sight… at least, no original end anyways.

  8. Derek says:

    Many years ago, back in the day, I spent a little time just across the water on Staten Island – in Stapleton. My misadventures there and further west are part of a completed novel, Scars & Stripes, that I'm looking to get published.

    I know what you mean about the news clips. It's as if they've all left the word 'new' out of it. S clips, anyone?

  9. Good one Derek and so true. It's impossible to be part of all of these sites so I pretty much try to avoid most of them. Facebook and Twitter are about my limit (although I rarely use Twitter at all)..wait, and a blog, which I can go months without writing on..dammit. If we all keep migrating to every new SM site that comes out what is the point, we are just going to keep adding the same people. Plus it's the 'our site is a 'must' if you want to reach the largest audience' exaggerated claims that put me off straight away. Cynic through and through.

  10. Dave Hardy says:

    Someday I'm gonna move to a cabin in the Davis Mountains and cut off all social media. That reminds me, I need to update my FB status to "Someday I'm gonna move to a cabin in the Davis Mountains and cut off all social media." and Tweet it too!

  11. Derek says:

    Hello Garry, and Dave, I go through bouts of SM overload! Generally, though, my SM priority list runs: blogs, Twitter and a sprinkle of FB (although I've yet to be convinced).

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