Friday, April 15, 2011

Social Media: The Next Bubble?

I sat down at the breakfast table this morning and booted Twitter on the Macbook. As the familiar cerulean page came up I found myself facing that eternal question: What the @#$% am I doing on Twitter? Why am I writing two blogs a week, free for nothing, when I could be working on my next book, the book my agent is waiting for, the book my readers are waiting for, all three of them, book one of a thrilling new series whose name I won't even make public for fear someone will steal this terrific title before my book comes out?

And, lo, there in the Twittersphere was the answer. Someone had tweeted a link to a blog post entitled "4 social media lessons from the world of book publishing." Eagerly I opened the page and began to read. Now I would find out what I was doing on Twitter.

The first thing that occurred to me was that social media is a career now. An industry, even. The publicity department of one of my own publishing houses employs a social media expert full time. That's her job. Social media. It pays her a good living. It pays a good living to the people who put the social media blogs together. The social media advice books, maybe not so much. Books, you know.

So here we have yet another instance of the American economy sliding into the production of nothing but services, which is to say the production of nothing. Social media is a bubble. It is the real estate boom of the twenty-first century. The social media experts sell you the means to make hundreds of artificial friends, very few of whom will actually say hello to you on the street, meet you for lunch in Doylestown, bring you a casserole when you get out of the hospital, show up at your signing, your wedding, or your funeral, tell you when you have spinach on your teeth, or stand by you in times of real trouble.

But the blog looked slick, maybe even helpful to folks who buy the concept. So I retweeted the link to the post. I could tell you what the four handy tips were, but I would have to charge you money.

Kate Gallison


  1. I think you may have something there. Social media does have that whiff about it, doesn't it?

    I've just started blogging and at the moment it's fun. It gives me a self-imposed, short-term deadline, something that revising my mystery does not. In other words, a valuable procrastination device that I can tell myself will pan out one day.

    Member MWA-NY

  2. We'll see how it goes, Joan. Let us blog on, not forgetting to write our books while we're at it.