B.J. Mendelson is a former online marketer who is fed up with the lies and the all-encompassing positivism surrounding the promise of social media. Some of his attempts to be funny are grating, but his honesty is refreshing and is what makes reading this book worthwhile.
This book’s main point is that social media is bullshit for small businesses (“like us on Facebook!”) that don’t have the massive financial backing of giant corporations to launch a Facebook/Twitter/YouTube/Yelp!/Instagram marketing campaign. The lie that these avenues for getting customers is a lie propagated by marketers who stand to gain from running these small businesses’ social media presence. The most effective advice the author has for these companies is a quickly-loading, uncluttered webpage and focusing on personal relationships with their real-life customers.
This book also has a practical lesson for everyone, even though it’s only a peripheral argument. Social media is bullshit for regular people because companies like Facebook gather all the value their users produce without giving anything back. Facebook owns all the content you create, as well as the advertising dollars your eyeballs generate. And that, my friends, IS bullshit!
Samuel Brannan—Morman businessman who became a millionaire publicizing the California Gold Rush of the 1840s.
Adbusters Kalle Lasn—Baby Boomer journalist who incited the Occupy Wall Street campaign
New Yorker article: “Lessons from Late Night” by Tina Fey
Telecommunications Act of 1996
Cisco’s “Ted from Accounting”—Cisco’s abysmal failure to replicate Old Spice Man’s advertising success (I could find tons of commentary on this but not the actual video.)
Chewbacca defense—a joke from South Park that has become legal terminology to describe a legal strategy in which the aim of the argument seems to be to deliberately confuse the jury rather than actually refute the case of the other side.