Social Media Top 5: Humorless vs Unfunny: Who Wins? Plus, Schools Get Smart & More Brand Bullies

Image Credit: Iván Niño on Flickr

Image Credit: Iván Niño on Flickr

When Parody Run Amok and Lack of Disclosure Clasp Sweaty Palms and Jump off the Bridge of Propriety

I just thought that was a cool sentence, but I found this story to force into a clash two things I hold dear- the hilarious denuding of social media pundit egoism, and the need for disclosure in all forms of publishing, from newspapers to individual Tweets.

What happened? First, witness the parody Twitter account, “Prof Jeff Jarvis,” an often-funny comic stream of semi-consciousness, which rightly infuriates the real Jeff Jarvis of TV Guide and “Dell Hell” fame, and currently a CUNY professor and regular contributor to the This Week in Google podcast (I’m a fan); he would rather his name not be used in vain (rather than vanity). That he may be right (I’m no lawyer) is separate from the quality of the Tweets, so may they live on in some form.

Recently, Esquire Magazine published an article by “Prof. Jeff Jarvis” about some thing or another. I forget, I was bored, but you can check out a cached copy here.

The biggest crime of the piece, of course, is that it is not very funny. Perhaps that is part of the root of the second crime, that there was not a clear enough disclosure that the piece was not authored by the Real Jeff Jarvis. RJJ has obviously had it with the misuse of his name, as he published on Medium (not to be confused with Measured). 

Real Jeff Jarvis is perfectly within his rights to have no sense of humor about this- something I try to keep in mind every time I laugh out loud at this parody account. I personally don’t care about the battle between the Tweeter and Mr. Jarvis, and if it is legally shut down, so be it. But Esquire absolutely did a poor job clearing up any potential confusion (no wonder the article was taken down).

Also, “Professor” Jarvis is much funnier on Twitter than he was here. Leave Esquire to the likes of Charlie Pierce. So, yes, we should endure (Real) Jarvis’ windy indignation, simply because he’s right.

Disclosure, people.

Also, I take it all back- THIS Jeff Jarvis is far more entertaining than either of the other old bores.

Ahead of the Curve Meets Better Than You Think at Syracuse University

I found this story about a Buzzfeed partner teaming up with Syracuse University to offer a course in social media content to be interesting for two reasons:

  • A decade ago, I expressed concern that public relations curricula were not evolving fast enough to embrace social media and keep students up with the changing landscape. I assumed the same was true for journalism and other content-related pursuits. A course like this threatens to make college educations current with trends and technology.
  • It’s a reminder that Buzzfeed is more than listicles and cat videos (I don’t even know if they are really a big source of cat videos, but I hope you get the point); there is more serious thought into the content and kinds of content on that site, compared to others. And if they are planting seeds in students that will grow into a tree of talent for their future plans, then good for them.

Brand Bullying Run Amok or Brands Being Inappropriate and Just Need to Stop? 

I’m a week late and an indignant opinion short by now, but I have turned from fretting about brands trying to horn in on public events, such as the unexpected death of Prince, towards the attitude that maybe social media pundits ought to take a break- to shut up about brands shutting up. Telling Minneapolis-based companies like General Mills, makers of Cheerios, how they should mark the passing of one of their hometwon icons- or whether they should do it at all- is now feeling foolish.

So all I will say after a week of observation is that it is time for “social media gurus” to stop bullying brands and do something more entertaining- shame and destroy each other- as long as it’s done in an entertaining manner. Have at it, guys and gals.

Besides, my friend Christopher Barger surpassed any thoughts I might have had- and certainly any word count I could have applied to it – in his worthwhile post, so go read that.

Besides, our anger should be focused at Mr. Rogers and Purple Panda for appropriating Prince’s signature color and flaunting it in the media, decades before His Actual Purpleness – right?

HBR is Too Important to be Left to Hacky Bloggers

The line above is not a reference to the quality of the article “Social Media Is Too Important to Be Left to the Marketing Department,” but certainly to the flippancy of the headline, which suggests that if something is important it should not be left in the slippery hands of marketing. Any marketer should be insulted by that inference, which is too bad because the article isn’t the kind of hacky hatchet job the title suggests and which I’d love to look down on, especially given the varying quality of posts on the Harvard Business Review‘s blog. It is, if espousing ideas that should long be familiar with any social media professional, well-reasoned and supported by examples, so have a read.

This Week in Things I Hate for No good Reason:

People using their Snapchat “Ghost” template profile pics on Facebook. Just stop it.


No, really. Why on Facebook? Stop it.

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