How to NOT suck at social media by Malcolm McCutcheon Notes

The author takes what he calls a guide that attempts to address four goals he will address and in doing so he reduces it’s importance by only covering the surface of what it is to be a business on social media. The goals read as follows:

1. To not suck
2. To engage with your current and prospective customers
3. To build your “tribe”
4. To network, damnit!

I would like to in my book review deal with how affectively he discussed each goal he himself spelled out.

The book’s purpose as the title suggests is with the intention of guiding it’s readers/ businesses through marketing on social media but in a manner that is contrary to traditional marketing. By teaching these methods therefore, he wants to ensure you don’t “suck”. Central to his purpose is who his imagined audience was for this book because in my personal opinion, it seems best suited for someone who truly doesn’t know much about the social media world. I think he would like to believe that this guide would not only help some older businessmen but that it could have an effect on new business owners that are looking to make a splash from the onset, but that doesn’t mean it will actually lead to their success.

I think the concept behind the book is a powerful and important one; however, his writing style and the limited time he uses to address the SNS sites makes it that his piece doesn’t give something to reader who is already well-versed in the social media world.

Of course, he calls this a “beginner’s guide to businesses” which allows him justification for how basic the books concepts and form are, but I cannot help but believe anyone in this class could have produced this work with just a little research.

The author also basically acknowledges the fact that this isn’t some great piece of work in his “disclaimer” section with the full caveat that he doesn’t see himself as a “social media expert.” Having read the book in full before reading the disclaimer, this does help address some of my concerns about the basic nature of the book. On that note, it also makes me question why someone should read this book if he is not some researched expert and his intentions behind writing this book. Considering the author himself isn’t doing super well on social media, he has a minimal 165 followers (including myself and other Group IV members), he probably wrote this book with the intention of gaining credibility and less as a way to make money. However, I want to question just how credible he is considering that the aim of his book does not translate into his own life.

I think the best way to go about analyzing the book would be through a social shaping standpoint. McCutcheon enters the discussion of these social media websites by telling the reader how their technological affordances can help their business grow its social media presence and therefore its brand once they know how to use these affordances properly. Moreover, it is how you use these affordances that will decide how successful your efforts will be.

Here is a tentative list of the articles I would like to address in my analysis of McCutcheon’s work:

  1. Nancy Baym’s discussion of weak, strong and latent ties
  2. Social grooming as it relates to the “tribe concept”
  3. Who’s watching who as it relates to McCutcheon’s privacy concerns
  4. Liu’s taste statements
  5. Goffman’s backstage vs. frontstage and impression management as it relates to his belief in marketing yourself differently as an individual vs. as a business.
  6. Applying Banet-Weiser’s description of self-branding to evaluate how his methods are or aren’t helpful.


  1. […] interaction and reflect on the content businesses should be posting on their social media sites. Tara, Jenny, Shivonne, and Aimee agree that the idea of frontstage, backstage, and impression […]

  2. […] business Bossa Nova Interactive have over 200 followers on Twitter. As pointed out in tyn205’s notes, there is a disclaimer to the book that McCutcheon does not consider himself a “social media […]

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