Do We Need A Social Media Is Bullshit Sequel?

Camp Nowhere Sucks, but the Social Media Is Bullshit sequel won't

Not the first time The New York Times would be wrong about something …


I’m working on the book proposal for the Social Media Is Bullshit “sequel”. I’m using quotes around “sequel” because it’s sort of a sequel in the sense that Perfect Dark was a sequel to GoldenEye 007. And if you’re not a giant nerd like I am and don’t get the Nintendo 64 reference, what I mean to say is that the Social Media Is Bullshit sequel is a sequel in the way a Daniel Craig James Bond film is a sequel to a Sean Connery James Bond film. Yeah it’s James Bond and it’s another adventure filled with the same sexism, anarchy, and alcoholism that you’ve come to expect, but everything else is different.


For the Social Media Is Bullshit sequel, that means you don’t have to read Social Media Is Bullshit to follow this one, but if you did, you’ll know immediately that the new one is a follow-up. and understand why it starts where it starts. Make sense? So “sequel” is kind of a relative term. It’s a follow-up, but it’s not exactly the follow-up you think it’s going to be. This isn’t “SEO Is Bullshit” or “Content Marketing Is Bullshit” or even “Growth Hacking Is Bullshit”. If you read through the first book, I already sort of covered all that, even though the term “Growth Hacking” doesn’t actually appear in the book itself. This is because the first book was just using “social media” to explain that a lot of what we know concerning online marketing is bullshit. Not just the social media part of it. That’s not to say, “Don’t do online marketing”, but it is to say, “Hey, that guy calling himself a growth hacker is probably a fucking asshole. Don’t listen to that guy. Here’s why.”


By the way, it’s not too late to buy a couple of copies of Social Media Is Bullshit and give it to your friends and co-workers. The book is going to celebrate it’s second anniversary on September 4th, 2014, but it’s still as relevant (and needed) today as it was when it was released. So if you want to help pay the rent and support this site, you can do that by clicking here and buying the book from your favorite bookseller. And while we’re doing some random bits of house keeping here, if you want to get the latest from me whenever I update this site, make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the post and enter your email address. This way you can get new posts delivered right to your inbox.


Why Does A Social Media Is Bullshit Sequel Need To Exist? Reason #1: This Time, It’s Personal!


I’ve been having some trouble with this one section of the book proposal, where you basically have to explain why this new book needs to exists. Here’s what I think the answer is:


We all know that you don’t make money writing books, so that’s not really a factor for me. This will probably put me in a terrible negotiating position later, but I’d probably take a super low advance from a traditional publisher (enough to make sure my agent is paid but not much more) in order to put out the Social Media Is Bullshit sequel. The reason being is that the new book’s existence is deeply personal. I have something I need to prove to myself.


The other thing you need to keep in mind when writing a book proposal, and explaining why YOUR book needs to exist, is that whatever it is you choose to write will wind up consuming your life for at least two years. So, you better like whatever it is your writing about and be able to justify it’s existence without hesitation. Otherwise, what’s the point? If you can’t justify your own books existence, writing it is going to feel like you’re being tortured by watching all the bad Christopher Llyod movies that exist. And there are many. Have you seen Camp Nowhere? You’re going to wish you hadn’t after you do!


You have to love what you’re writing about and you have to understand that you’re not (likely) to see any money from doing what you’re about to do for a really long time.  That alone usually scares people off from writing books.


And I can tell you right now, I’m not going to spend the next two years of my life researching and writing about social media again. I barely made it through the first time without wanting to stab myself in the face, and that was even with all the research being done before I sat down to write the actual book. I’m happy with the way the first book came out, don’t get me wrong, and I know a lot of people found it useful, but I’m definitely not doing that to myself again.


So … why does this thing exist and what is it that I have to prove?


First things first: I have something to prove to myself. And this won’t make any sense unless you do a lot of fiction writing, but hang with me here for a second. When I was working on Dracula & Kittens, I was able to “hear” John Harker. There’s that point when you’re writing fiction and the character sort of dictates what happens next and you just sort of go along for the ride. I think that stems from building out characters so well that you know them as well as you would another person, at least, if you’re doing your job right as a writer I think. After I had the heart surgery, John Harker was gone. And I’ve tried pretty hard to bring that character back, but I just can’t do it. Whatever was fueling that character is gone forever.


The same can also be said about the way I write in general. It’s completely different now after the heart surgery. I see, think, and interact with the world in a totally different way. Whatever the engine was that was fueling a lot of what went into Social Media Is Bullshit and Dracula And Kittens doesn’t exist anymore. Some of that is really good news. I think there was a lot of “anger” people picked up on in the first book, and that anger isn’t there anymore. And some of that is really bad news, because a lot of that “anger” fueled the humor that went into the book, so I’m a little worried if there was another one, it wouldn’t be as sharp or funny. So the question is, can I write another book at all? I think so, but I also know it’s going to be so different from the first time through that I’m anxious to see how it comes out.


The thing I want to prove to myself is that the “new”, post-heart surgery / catastrophic near death experience, me is capable of writing a smart, funny, and entertaining book. One that far exceeds the first one. Because if you’re going to do a sequel, it better be like The Dark Knight and not Spider-Man 3, you know? Otherwise, and you’ll notice a theme forming here, what’s the point? Why put yourself through at least two years of bullshit just to put out a product that’s well inferior to its predecessor?


In my case, I gotta be honest with you, I don’t want to write anymore books. At least, not for a really, really, long time after this one. Social Media Is Bullshit was supposed to be a sort of one and done thing itself, so I kind of want to really nail things this time through and then move on to the next thing.


Why Does A Social Media Is Bullshit Sequel Need To Exist? Reason #2: I Didn’t Finish The Fight, This Time, I Will


You know what the most common response I get to Social Media Is Bullshit is? “Ok smartass, I get what you’re saying, but now what am I supposed to do?”


The book did a really good job of explaining what didn’t work, but really only touched briefly on the stuff that does. Although that was deliberate, it also was a problem. Especially because a lot of colleges across the country are using the book in their classes and it sort of leaves the students hanging. (The most frequent thing I’m asked when I talk to college students is also, “Now what do I do?”)


I really didn’t want to write a marketing book, and I really didn’t want to be the guy running around and prescribing advice when the truth is, we’re all different. What works for me might not work for you. That’s why I cringe whenever I see all those gurus out there spouting off their nonsense. What worked for them or that person might not work for you, and in a lot of cases, these guys never even used the advise on themselves that they’re getting paid handsomely to spout off to you. So I was really hesitant to get into that stuff in the first book for that reason. This was a big mistake. There were many mistakes with the first book, but this is the one that absolutely needs to be corrected, and doing it in the form of a book is the appropriate way to do it. This way those classes aren’t just using the first book and then using some social media guru dipshit’s book to explain “What to do next”. No! Don’t use that guy’s book. I just got done explaining to you why he’s an asshole, why would you do that?


This problem is what gave me the idea for the Social Media Is Bullshit sequel. Having something to prove is one thing, but that leaving people hanging thing though? That needs to be corrected. “Why does this book exist?” I have something to prove to myself, absolutely, but more importantly I left the audience who read the first book sort of hanging, and we’re going to correct that.


How Do I Answer The Question Of “Now What Do I Do Smartass?” In A Non-Guru Like Way?


So I have this thing I want to prove and I have a job I need to finish. There is not going to be another book after this one. You can roll up to my parent’s house with a truck filled with solid gold bars, strippers dressed like Wonder Woman, and my ex-wife wrestling my best friend Jackie in a kiddie pool filled with mud, and I’d still say no. There is absolutely nothing on this planet that’s going to get me to write another one. It just ain’t happening.


That’s because I sort of subscribe to the philosophy that you should plan your decades. I’ve been at this book thing since 2009, and by the time I research, write, edit, have published, and then promote this second book, we’ll be pretty damn close to 2019. There’s other stuff I want to do with my life. The book thing was fun, but there was a lot of stuff I also messed up the first time around, and I’d like a chance to correct that before I move on to the next thing.


That means this new book has to be pretty damn good, right? Right. And here’s how I know it will be good: I already know what the next thing I want to do in my life is, and that’s make movies.


More specifically, I want to make funny movies. But here’s the thing: I know absolutely nothing about making a movie. I don’t even know anyone in the film business. So this is a thing I want to be doing, that I know nothing about, and  I don’t know how to get there. Sound familiar? It should. This is really the same question people are asking me when they say, “Ok smartass, I get that it’s bullshit, now what do I do?” That’s the root of the question. I want to spend my life doing this fun thing, and not this shitty thing I’m obligated to do for any number of reasons, but I don’t know how to do it. Can you get me there? And, can you get me there in such a way that anyone can copy this and doesn’t require me to already be wealthy or well connected?”


That’s the real question, and if you read a lot of books about entrepreneurship, you’ll see that most of them fail to answer this question in the same way the online marketing books fail to answer the question of “How do I promote this thing successfully?” So, I want to make movies, you want to do stuff that you enjoy doing, how can we both do what we love successfully?


I’m going to answer that question by applying my own advice to a project I’m working on, and then take people step by step through the process. It’s really the only way to answer that question in a way that’s not total bullshit.


I’d love to have a parallel case study going on where I’m working on something with a big brand, and I’ve talked to a few ad agencies about this, but I have no control over that process. So if that other case study happens, great! If not, that’s ok to, we got the one case study of my film, and the one case study is pretty damn close to what a lot of people want to do with their product / brand: Take something from concept to creation and then market it successfully.


So that’s what this “sequel” will do: I’m going to make a short film, then release it online and market it the same way I would tell the startups I advice or the Fortune 500 brands I get called in to consult for. I’m following my own advice and showing that it legitimately works without the typical preconditions you find in a marketing or entrepreneurship book. I’m not a wealthy guy. I’m not terribly well connected when it comes to the entertainment business (unless you want to count a very loose connection to Lady Gaga, which I don’t). This way when I work on the book, I can enjoy writing it and transition into what I actually want to be doing, which is making films.


This book exists because I have something to prove to myself, I left a lot of people hanging with the first one, and I hate these entrepreneurship books that come out that are totally disingenuous and just sort of give you platitudes about what to do all the while the author talks about how awesome they are. Or worse still, the author just sort of gives you advice that they never actually had to follow or never bothered to use because they already had some other kind of advantage, like holding a marketing position at a huge brand or already being wealthy and just spending their way to more wealth.


I want to make a funny, short, movie and release it online, and then promote it in the same way I’d promote something for a company regardless of its size. All the while explaining why I did X,Y, and Z but didn’t do A,B, and C. And since the film is being released online, there’s absolutely no reason why someone reading the book couldn’t read it and do exactly the same thing I just did to similar success. And THAT’s what I’m going for. I want a book like that. You read the thing, and you can just fucking do something with it. If I can do it, you can do it. Simple. Easy concept.


So, that’s a long answer, but that’s why this sequel exists. And if I can do this in a smart, funny, and entertaining way that exceeds the first book? Then I have nothing more to prove on the book front. It’ll be on to the next adventure.


United New York’s Founder Explains Why It Exists

Finally, though I can’t speak for the Petitioners Attorney, I would be happy to ‘cease characterizing residents who have concerns about the Annexation as being intolerant.’ The problem is that many of United Monroe’s supporters are eager to announce their intolerance, and down right bigotry in their comments posted on the Photo News website, the UM Facebook page and at Town Board meetings, the intolerance goes well beyond the debate over 500 acres of land, as United Monroe is proudly aligning itself with compatriots in Bloomingburg and Ramapo.

The only thing that these areas have in common with Monroe is a large concentration of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews. Demographic changes and land use decisions are facts in every community over time. For United Monroe to form a coalition with others combating the growth of Jewish communities, calls into question both. their motives and methods.”

-Kiryas Joel Superintendent Joel Petlin

United New York Founder B.J. Mendelson Explains Why The Group Exists

I’m taking a quick break from writing the new book proposal to address the above piece of rampant stupidity. Especially because United New york, the coalition Mr. Petlin is talking about, is sort of my creation. And since I’m Jewish, my Mom and Dad were raised Orthodox, my grandmother’s family was killed by the Nazi’s, and I even once took my ex-wife to temple in Potsdam for Yom Kippur (she was Episcopalian) because I take my faith kind of seriously, I wanted to nip this BS in the bud.

Dear Everybody …


My name is B.J. Mendelson, and I’m the one who came up with the idea of forming a PAC known as United New York and unifying the efforts of United Monroe, Preserve Ramapo, and the Concerned Citizens Group of Pine Bush. These groups, and others like them, have been battling rampant corruption and the complete failure of New York State to provide any sort of remedy against it.


I am not speaking on behalf of United New York as a group, because as a political action committee we more or less have to let our candidates talk for us, but I thought I would explain why I started the organization and what I hope it will go on to accomplish. Everything I share with you from this point on is my personal opinion.


United New York is a political action committee designed to support candidates who pledge to fight against corruption in New York State. It is, without a doubt, a tall order, but a worthy battle that can be fought and won with your help. In America, the ubiquity of technology and wireless access across our country has made it possible to catch corruption, expose it, and demand action instantaneously.


Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said that “sunlight is the best disinfectant”. Thankfully, we now live in an era where those who operate in the shadows can no longer afford to do so. It’s my hope that United New York and the candidates it supports will provide the kind of sunlight New York State needs to end our reputation as one of the most corrupt states in America. We now possesses the tools to do this, but we also must now possess the will to do so. It is my goal to find and support candidates who share this will.


Now, I tend to ignore letters to the editor written by Kiryas Joel Village UFSD Superintendent, Joel Petlin because his letters can usually be boiled down into, “Blah blah blah, you’re all anti-semites. Something, something, organizations like United Monroe are part of a conspiracy against the Jews!” As you can see from the latest excerpt above, he’s gone back to that well again after being asked by the people of United Monroe to cease doing so. And just as a point of fact, almost every Monroe Town meeting is recorded, and you can in fact go and look through the archive and see for yourself that town board meetings do not have anyone spouting any sort of hate.


As far as blog comments and Facebook postings go, I documented in my book that the fringe 1% tends to do the majority of the talking on the public forums, and while that doesn’t justify the comments that are made, I can tell you with absolutely no doubt in my mind that no member of United New York or United Monroe has made any such comments. This is just the same old BS from the same old people. “What’s that? We’re under investigation? Everyone looking into us is anti-semitic!”


It would be kind of hilarious if the rampant pattern of stupid claims and illegal behavior didn’t have such a devastating effect on the surrounding communities.


I do not doubt the existence of anti-semitism in the Hudson Valley, but as a proud member of Orange County’s Jewish community, I admire Mr. Petlin’s continued comical attempts to deflect reasonable and justified claims of corruption by the actions of the village of Kiryas Joel leadership and the Town of Monroe “elected” officials by using this weathered old trope.


Frankly, I’m surprised Mr. Petlin hasn’t started calling everyone Hitler, but I guess the day is still young. And Mr. Petlin, I want to assure you that the only thing I have in common with Hitler is a complete and utter inability to paint.


(By the way, one need only look back into the archives of The Times Herald Record, for example “KJ: Two Sides of The Story” from 2004, to see citizens responding to the “Did we not get what we want? Claim anti-semitism!” trope. To say it’s an old routine would be kind.)


Mr. Petlin, I think I speak on behalf of many members of our shared faith when I say: The anti-semitism / bigotry act is older than jokes about Michael Jackson liking small children.


Now if you want to pretend the “elected” officials from the Town of Monroe aren’t puppets for the village of Kiryas Joel, that’s fine. I’ve met Harley Doles, it’s hard to believe there’s even a gerbil upstairs in his head spinning that wheel. I mean, have you ever read an email written by him? It’s like he mashed his palms against the keyboard in a failed attempt at forming a complete sentence.


Really? That guy? That’s who you want to leave big decisions to? How about we try something else?


If United Monroe says, “Hey, stop being a jerk and saying everyone in Monroe is a bunch of bigots”, the appropriate thing to do would have been to say, “Hey, how about I come to a United Monroe meeting and see for myself!” I am sure they would welcome you.


Or better yet, you could say, “Yeah, you know what? From this point on, I will make a good faith effort to not assume the taxpayers of New York, who contribute to my generous salary and contributions package totaling $249, 214 (as per Newsday), are not all anti-semites.”


Besides, I’m virtually certain the New York State Education Department may have some concerns about a public school superintendent running around and constantly making such claims, wouldn’t you?


But enough about Mr. Petlin. Nothing I say here will change how he will continue to behave. He’s been acting this way since the ’90s and he’ll be acting this way well into his ’90s.


So Why Does United New York Exist?


I wanted to explain why I created United New York. Simply put, I believe we don’t have the resources to win the fight against corruption on our own in smaller groups. We don’t have the time, the money, or the manpower, and I thought together we might be able to change things for the better.


You see, I don’t oppose expansion of Kiryas Joel. Heck, I don’t even oppose the creation of Kiryas Yetev Lev in Bloomingburg. America’s demographics are shifting. New York City is getting so expensive that only the incredibly wealthy can live there, and so many people need to relocate elsewhere. I welcome everyone and anyone no matter where they may come from, whom they’d like to pray to, or how they’d like to do so. It is ignorant and impossible to stand in the way of change. That’s not what United New York is about.


Here’s what I do have a problem with, and I found this is an opinion shared within Kiryas Joel, Monroe, and across the Hudson Valley: We want fair elections. It’s not ok, for example, to send people to vote pretending to be someone else, which numerous sworn affidavits can confirm happened in Kiryas Joel in November 2013, or for bus loads of people, or a ton of people from outside the area, to come and vote in a local election, which also happened.


When you see the full story of what happened in Monroe on Election Day 2013, you will see the facts are indisputable. Even my new friend Mr. Petlin can tell you, this sort of activity is illegal. Religion plays no role in this complaint, unless you want to point out that this behavior is directly violating one of the ten commandments (“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”, to say nothing of Proverbs 6:16-6:19)


And you know what else I have a problem with, as do my friends in Kiryas Joel, Monroe, and the Hudson Valley? Misappropriation of funds. It’s not ok for funds meant for public schools to be intentionally diverted to religious schools and have parents foot the bill, and for programs meant for public school children to be hacked to the bone so more money can go to the private schools. Even the Governor agrees, as he recently appointed a monitor to overlook the East Ramapo school district named Hank Greenberg.


Again, religion plays no role in this complaint. Misappropriation of funds is misappropriation of funds, and again, it is an illegal activity, and that is what I am concerned with. It is my hope that in East Ramapo, all children regardless of whether or not they attend a Yeshiva or public school, can have access to a high quality education.


One last thing I have a problem with, as do all of us across the Hudson Valley: Growth is fine. Growth is inevitable. But what’s not fine, is a rampant disregard for the rules and regulations set forth by the EPA and New York’s DEC. If you’re told a water pipeline has to be 18″ in diameter, and you’re caught putting down one that’s 24″ in diameter, that’s not ok. (Where religion plays a role in breaking the law is anyone’s guess.)


If you have a factory on your property that’s polluting the Ramapo river, and the EPA or DEC says, “Hey you need to fix that”, your response shouldn’t be “STOP PERSECUTING ME!” The response should be, “I’m polluting everyone’s drinking water including my own? How can I fix this?” If you start clear cutting trees before you even have the permits to expand your property, and people catch you in the act, it’s not ok. Again, religion plays no role here.


Don’t break the law. That’s all we’re asking! Don’t do it. And this goes for everyone across the State. If you’re breaking the law, then it’s my hope that this organization will back candidates who will stop you. That’s why we exist. It’s really that simple.


And why is United New York  focused on the Hudson Valley right now? Because the people feel powerless here. They’ve felt powerless for a long time. I want to see them get their power back, and then move on to different parts of the state and do the same for everyone.


I want to show that all of us across this country, not just here in New York, are not powerless. It’s a new day with new tools and a growing resentment among millions of Americans of all colors and faiths against corrupt and illegal behavior by our elected officials and those who want to hide behind them.


United New York wasn’t formed to dictate to anyone how they should live their life. We are welcoming, supportive, and inclusive to all. United New York exists simply to allow ALL citizens across New York to take action against corrupt behavior through their elected representatives, no matter where it can be found.


In Monroe, that corruption takes place with Councilman Doles and Burke, both of whom will be hearing from the people of Monroe real soon in court to have them both removed from office for a litany of fraudulent activity. Neither of whom, by the way, are Jewish.


In Rockland, our goal is to make sure the state monitor does his job and makes sure that all children, whether attending a Yeshiva or a public school,  are treated equally and given the best possible education that they can get.


And in Bloomingburg, where you have a desperate developer, Shalom Lamm, in the crosshairs of the FBI breaking his own windows and hanging signs in his window evoking Kristallnacht (an event that lead to the murder of my grandmother’s family by the Nazis), we stand with the people of Bloomingburg to say, “Hey buddy, knock it off.”


No. Actually, we make sure that our new neighbors in Bloomingburg from Brooklyn are treated with the love and respect they deserve, and that the laws are followed properly, which they haven’t to this point by the developer.


In fact, if I can be so bold, I’d submit to all of you that nobody would have had a problem with the creation of Kiryas Yetev Lev if Shalom Lamm hadn’t resorted to back room deals with the local mayor (who also isn’t Jewish) and was honest about the development’s nature from the very beginning. He wasn’t. In fact, he’s still not, ignoring numerous stop work orders and continuing to advertise his development in such a way that must make a good HUD attorney salivate at a chance to take him to court.


United New York was created because our corrupt state gives little recourse for the common man against such abuses. The only people claiming that religion does play a role in the actions of this group and others like it are the people trying to hide behind religion as an excuse for breaking the law.


Rest assured that history, time, and technology is on our side. The fix is not in. We can still win this and ensure equal treatment under the law for all.


P.S. If I can add just one more thing: Tikkun olam. In Judaism, we believe that all of us, whether you are Satmar or Reform, have a shared responsibility to make the world a better place. That is the spirit in which United New York was founded. Corruption, whether it be voter fraud, whatever it is you want to call Harley Dole’s sad existence, or ignoring the law at the expense of your neighbors, does not help all of us in our mission to make the world a better place. Therefore, we seek to end this corruption using our shared resources, and pledge to battle it no matter what form it takes.