how to be a very public joke…

Someone said my blog posts were getting very short – well, it was a temporary aberration. This one is “packed lunch and a waterbag” time. I’ve had time to read, thanks to being too sick to do much else – gosh, tis fascinating, other people’s squabbles. You don’t have to follow the links to get the gist of this – but they’re there if you want them.

There have been some entertaining catfights in the Sydney media scene (the Mumbrella site has been reporting the spats, and the links below are all to their articles/posts). A lot of the warfare is over who twooly has their finger on the pulse of the new media and are twoo soshal meejah gurus – cos ya gotta be a guru or a guerilla or an entrepreneur – and who’s just cashing in, man. This battle is one that goes on in every ‘scene’ – we are more real than you!

It’s being said that some people are not joining Twitter, and having social media get-togethers, just because they’re fun people, oh no – they just want to make themselves look good. *sudden intake of breath* That’s right, some evil meejah peeps are trying to manipulate public opinion! OMG.

It’s suspected they may be holding events to make themselves more attractive to clients. This is obviously completely against everything the marketing, PR, TV, journalism, and advertising worlds stand for. Sponsorship or even participation, for personal gain? Say it ain’t so!

Now, aside from possibly chatting with or following some of these people on Twitter, i don’t know them. I don’t know what they do, really, other than make snarky comments about each other. However, i do know this – being that nasty about people doesn’t make you look like a social media guru, or even like an adult. It makes you look like a bitchy schoolchild.

A few years back, i went to a multimedia conference. Not one of the experts could tell me in simple English what multimedia was. I found myself doubting my own understanding – if all these experts didn’t know, maybe i didn’t either. However, it’s this simple.

multimedia –noun (used with a singular verb)

1. the combined use of several media, as sound and full-motion video in computer applications.

Instead of simplicity and making their speeches accessible, they drowned their meaning in catchphrases, buzzwords, and jargon. The conference was an education in the puffed-up power of bullshit – the other people attending were mystified, but were pretending that the Emperor was wearing clothes.

Lately I’ve been hearing social media experts unable to speak in plain English when asked for a quote – this exposes them as well as the Emperor’s lack of clothes did. You can’t teach people to use the new media if all you can do is speak in buzz words.

I gathered that the experts quoted on on Mumbrella meant – let us help you make your company look good online, and teach you to use the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube along with your own (interactive) web presence – like a website and people who Tweet. Mind you, that’s just an educated guess. I have no real idea. (I checked Wiki and various other sources for a less wordy explanation, and got nowhere, lol.)

I heard a ‘social media guru’ interviewed a couple of weeks ago. What is social media? Instead of being enthralled by an enthusiast, I found myself laughing at nudity. Salespeople – they master the field-specific jargon just enough. Ever tried to buy a stereo? A car? A horse? Clothes? Anything?

Baffle you with bullshit is the name of the game. If you know your subject, the salesperson either morphs into a fellow-enthusiast (a pleasure to buy from), or someone out of their depth. It’s no use being able to dribble a string of jargon. When someone says, yes, and what does that mean? and all you do is dribble more, you look like  a twat.

The ones who need to probably won’t read this – they’re too busy Retweeting the latest marketing guru on Twitter. Copying tweets and RTing them is a common part of Twitter interaction – but it shows up the relentless self-publicists, and those trying to suck up to celebrities or the successful. These are the kind of publicist types having meetings with clients where they persuade the company that to put their name out there is the important part, it doesn’t matter if one gets negative attention.

This is the biggest lie in social media. And shows how little they know. Just being mentioned is not enough – this is the new media – you need to know what they’re saying. If they’re saying, your company does fucked ads and your products suck, it is not “just as good” as them saying, omg, i love this company, and their product is just fanfuckingtastic.

When a company is associated with something negative – like Amazon recently when they removed all gay and lesbian texts from their online database – like many people online, if it’s something i care about, I spread the word. I tell my friends,  I Tweet it, put it on web pages, blog about it, and resolve that i won’t buy that product or use that service in a hurry. There are plenty of others like me – we like outing bullshit.

I appreciate it when people do this – i often don’t get what’s really happening the first time round. Especially in Australia, where i’m missing 15 years of cultural experience due to being an expat. The thing that hasn’t been covered in Social Media 101 (what  unfortunate initials – SM is sadomasochism), is that the new media removes a lot of the bullshit surrounding marketing your image to the world.

If you act like a petulant child in the public domain, if you treat your audience like fools – it’s much harder to do it without people noticing. Even if they don’t understand at first, there’s always someone who’ll take the trouble to explain.

Suddenly, a lot of people realise
that you’re naked and talking shite.

That’s the beauty of the internet. And the horror, also.



About stinginthetail

On Twitter as @stinginthetail. I write as Lee Abrey. Free copy of my top-rated book Polo Shawcross: The Birthday Dragon at View all posts by stinginthetail

13 responses to “how to be a very public joke…

  • Davis

    Don’t ever apologize for the long-form post. Some of us still have decent attention spans.

  • stinginthetail

    🙂 i usually write long – this one lost about 450 words and ended up around 1,000. But it’s much better for the loss, lol.

  • Damian D

    Great blog post, and a great way to sum up much of the “social media” fog and associated crud going around at the moment.

    Consider this blog added to another reader’s RSS feed.

  • Stephen Collins

    I hope I’m not one of the buzzworders you speak of. I do my level best to speak plainly – not for the benefit of my clients (although it helps), but to make sure I don’t sound like a windbag wanker.

    So far, I think it seems to be working. My clients are happy and, for example, the feedback I’ve received from the radio and TV I did last week in NZ (I won’t link, that’d look needy – it’s on my blog) has been positive, all the way from the experts I know to acquaintances that don’t use social media at all.

    As for the four you point out above, I know three of them personally. They’re good people. And smart. Bad choice of marketing copy, perhaps?

    • stinginthetail

      I’m not a member of the media industry and don’t think I know any of the people involved – oh, though i was followed by Mumbrella while i was working on that post, which is kinda spooky. However, I just got a laugh out of watching and listening, and then doing a blog about it. i also i appreciate that they’re your friends, you wouldn’t want people thinking the direct quotes or the live interview were more than an aberration on their part.

      I deliberately didn’t mention names, as i don’t want to join in the catfighting. I included 3 links, only 2 of which were about the 4 people (unless i missed something there) – though to be honest, i only saw/heard 1 of the 4 being quoted/interviewed. The other 3 may be clarity incarnate, and about to ascend to buddhahood due to them only ever being nice to everyone.

      My point was that as far as I am concerned (and this is my blog, my opinions, ideas, and perceptions) the two companies who had people quoted are not doing well with their own image through the new media, (Mumbrella’s site, Twitter, podcasts) which is the only window i see them through.

      I don’t know you – so wouldn’t have been talking about you – phew 🙂 I went to look at your blog – i particularly liked “This Conversation Has Rules” (company guidelines in social media and why they’re necessary – the people i read about could have used the article and not ended up on my blog). I didn’t comment because i figured ‘good post’ might sound sucky – like i was trying to get seen and get people to come to my blog, lol. From the 3-4 posts i looked at, you’re doing well on the clear language.

  • @mikeh2bi

    I found myself nodding my head over and over again and probably said “exactly” out loud a few times as I was reading this. I’ve been dumbfounded at some of the things I’ve read over the past few days and honestly thought I was back in the school quadrangle.

  • rowe

    Hi Sheila,

    interesting post. I’m not in the media business myself but have had some experience within the periphery of it – doing the jobs that are considered less important but important enough to keep the wheel spinning. It reinforced the notion that street sweepers (for example purposes here only) do provide a wonderful service in reducing the crap that otherwise we would have to wade through ourselves.

  • emgib


    you’re brilliant – am I allowed to say that or is it ‘sucky’?

    The other day someone explained they used to work with a webmaster in an interview and I knew what they meant. Say webmaster at a social media conference where all the new kiddies are the new experts and they’ll have no clue.

    • stinginthetail

      *clutches the compliment to my heart where it warms a cold morning* darn it – someone else said they wouldn’t RT this post on Twitter because he might sound sucky – it’s not sucky if you’re promoting ME and you genuinely think i’m good (brilliant! i ❤ u) instead of being paid to promote me. 🙂

      I too know what a webmaster is – one day, i even hope to hire one – i imagine not having to do all the finicky web stuff and the ceaseless checking – lovely.

      Thanks for the nice words 🙂

  • so, how big is your virtual penis? « Sting in the Tail

    […] blogged before about most people who are held up as authorities, or say they understand social media – don’t mean to include the Scobelizer in that, btw, he deserves credit for shanking […]

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