Phil Friedman

5 years ago · 7 min. reading time · ~10 ·

Phil blog
Double Trouble Returns

Double Trouble Returns

He Said...He Said


hoa: lel



Copyright © 2018 by Phil nedman


uct Jun Murray — ASRighE, Reserved
PHIL: Well, Jimbo, it’s been a while since the last He Said He Said. About four months, to be exact.

For the most part, we’ve both been busy chasing paying work and trying, I think, to figure out what the winds of change in social media are blowing our way.

You’ve additionally been carrying on a single-minded, solo-staffed reality blitz against the guy whose name rhymes with “chump” and who masquerades as the U.S. President. And me, I’ve been working to help get a new professional networking platform off the ground.

But here’s the thing. I’ve really missed our verbal sparring sessions and the edge they generally left me with. So, here I am again, ready to poke the bear in the eye...

Maybe it’s just me, but when I look around these days at publishing on social media, I see the playing field shifting. The Zuck is taking a beating for being essentially a government quisling. Arianna Huffington has been reduced to hawking self-improvement pap. Medium is, well, falling on its face after Ev Williams banked on the judgment of his post-Millennial Valley-Kinder staff to exercise editorial “judgment.” And, of course, there are the heart-throb superstar entrepreneurs of affinity networking, referred to by some of us as the “J-Twins”. They seem to have all but abandoned beBee in favor of chasing to the end of the rainbow for the proverbial pot of … crapto-currency.

None of which is to mention the Linkedaholics, including me, who at one time swore off drinking the algorithmic-Koolaid, but are now returning to LI at an accelerating rate.

So, my question is fairly simple: What is going on? Is publishing on social media going to hell in a handbasket? Or are the tectonic shifts I’m seeing part of some global realignment? Moreover, what do you think the near future is going to bring to writing and self-publishing on social media?





hi (ET ZX Zee




JIM: It’s funny that you should present me with this topic, as I had been noodling that very idea for a couple of days now. And I too have missed this back and forth.

There are actually two answers, IMHO, to the question of what’s going on. One is the personal answer. And the other is the philosophical one.

On the personal level, I have grown bored with trying to cut an idiot a new asshole. I have come to the conclusion that you guys, (Yanks) collectively, are smart enough and grown up enough to use your votes to put a cork in his pie hole. If you don’t, then you are well and truly fucked and you might as well just go out and get yourself a supply of Tiki torches, because you, my friend, and all the other thinking beings in America will soon become, officially, an endangered species.

Having said that, I just stopped the posts, the memes, the reposts. Anything overtly political. I am sick to death of it. I have also, and this relates directly to what’s going on philosophically, revived my old Couch Potato Chronicles column, but because of the fatally fractured attention span of the populace these days, I am doing it in terms of meme instead of long format posts.

To segue into #2, I am doing this because a big part of what I believe is happening is that people are just worn out from looking for needles in haystacks.

The overall quality of writing on sites like beBee and Medium has grown worse instead of better. Most of the stuff worth reading on LinkedIn is all reportage as opposed to op/ed. And to quote my man, Dylan… “I used to care, but things have changed”.

There’s only so much bullshit you can put up with. I’ve been on a search for honesty, and I have to tell you, it’s one ton of uphill work. I think the net effect of how the world has changed, and not for the better, is discouraging a lot of people from writing hopeful stuff.

I would rather be warm and comfy and writing about things like TV shows and movies and sports right now than I would be being nose to nose with the rest of the world in the life and death struggle to eradicate fake news and alternative facts.

And I believe, my brother, that there are a lot of people feeling the same way.

It’s not about getting old of being tired or having deliberately stepped outside of the mainstream, which I actually have. It’s about beating your head against the wall, which I, and I suspect many of us, have stopped doing. Just to find a little peace and quiet.

Today Heather and I spent the afternoon on the outside in the 16-degree warmth planting plants, raking leaves, filling up leaf bags, and generally not thinking too much about anything. It was very pleasant.

Tonight we’ll watch a couple hours of something and I’ll write a tiny column and post it and people will like it, but they won’t have much to say about and that’s OK.

I think the world is on a coffee break, trying to figure out how it’s going to get rid of all these assholes that seem to be slithering everywhere these days.

This may be a little broader a response than you hoped for. But what the fuck, eh?

Over to you, Boat Boy.

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No 3
PHIL: That’s Mister Boat Boy to you, JimmyBob.

You can correct me if I’m wrong, but from what you say, I think we agree that the quality of writing and expression of thought on social media especially on beBee is declining rapidly.

It seemed to me, for a while, it was actually improving. I was reading more stimulating pieces than a decade ago, fewer kitten memes and vacuous “inspirational” missives, and instead some good philosophy and science, as well as many interesting perspectives in business, engineering, and ethics. It almost makes me gag to put it this way, but for a while, I felt there was a real “buzz” on.

Then… poof! The glow was gone, the light extinguished, the exuberance dissipated.

I could just be speaking autobiographically, but I don’t really think so. I believe the decline is real, due in large measure to disillusion including the spreading come-to-religion realization that the moguls of social media are not our friends or benefactors, but instead play Morlocks to our Eloi.

After all, what does it say that a significant number of online writers and publishers are returning to LinkedIn as their central platform? I guess that the grass which looked so much greener on the other side of the fence has actually turned to muck once we started grazing on it. Which is what’s motivated me to become involved in helping to launch a new not-for-profit, member-driven networking platform for writing, self-publishing, and groups.

JIM: Agreed, agreed, and agreed. But as I was reading the above, a thought occurred to me. And it’s not really a new thought. It was one that I had a while ago, and that is simply that the game is rigged.

A while ago I wrote a piece on digital marketing based on the hypothesis that it was all bullshit. It was all designed to create a system where you had to so much work to make any sort of impact that, eventually out of frustration, you would bite the bullet and hire some digital marketer to do it for you, or failing that, you would grow weary and resentful of supplying all this content to sites like Facebook, Medium, LinkedIn, and to a lesser extent beBee, and just say fuck it and pack up your tent.

I have come close to that a couple of times. In fact, you could argue that it’s probably happening to a lot of people right now. So maybe it’s not so much that quality of writing has gone downhill, but that the actual number of well-written posts being published is declining.

You and I are both professional writers and have been since god was a kid. Running out of gas or getting cynical about what we are doing isn’t really in our DNA. But the whole content marketing concept required that a lot of people who weren’t pros start writing at an obscene frequency and at a high level. And maybe some of them did for a time, but they just ran out of gas or ended up getting frustrated by pathetic or, in many cases, non-existent ROI.

You and I will keep writing till we keel over. And you (more than me) have a specific vertical and digitally reachable target and a market to sell part of your writing into. My business runs off getting to know people and referrals, both of which are, in great part, 3-D activities. And I think there are a lot of people out there who come to that realization at certain points in time.

It’s been my experience that anything significant that happens in the world is the result of a number of factors. We have hypothesized several of them here. I suppose there are more, but several is a good number.

Sadly, none of this bodes well for the future of the blogging medium. I know there is a substantial movement afoot to get people to do more video messaging. But then again, it’s really just more of the same, isn’t it? Give us your content and we’ll give you access to millions of uninterested people, and you can keep on beating your head against the wall.

BTW, that’s Laird JimmyBob. I just found out from

PHIL: Laird, Lord, or Lard-Butt… whatever you prefer, JimBob. I’m just trying to yank your chain, anyway.

But seriously, I think you’ve kicked the issue squarely in the groin. It isn’t us, the writers and digital self-publishers, whose quality is flagging; it’s the networking platforms that are deteriorating.

They are consistently failing to deliver the environment they promised. Failing to deliver the audiences they promised. Failing to deliver the marketing ROI they promised. And failing to deliver the quality content they promised or at least, they are allowing whatever quality content that appears to be buried in an avalanche of insipidipity and outright BS.

To be sure, this complaint is not new to social media. However, I believe that what is evolving lately is a clear understanding that this flawed situation is not transitory, but endemic to the medium (small-m).

The moguls of social media are interested, first and foremost, in stimulating use irrespective of whether that use is purposeful or meaningless. Because usage translates into dollars when the gangsters of SM sell access to their respectively accumulated databases.

Moreover, many if not most of these “social entrepreneurs” are, in fact, closet fascists lock-stepping in cadence with overreaching government control freaks.  Sadly, those thought by so many to be messiahs of social connection turn out to be devils of manipulation and betrayal.

Yeah, I know, maybe that crosses the line into hyperbole… but not by much, my friend. Cheers!

Phil Friedman and Jim Murray


Postscript:  When Jim Murray and I first conspired to co-author this series, we saw it as a not-so-literary experiment.  Well, so much for experiments. We're now completing our third year and on our 34th installment. Along the way, we've developed a reputation for not pussyfooting around sensitive subjects or avoiding sensitive toes. Indeed, "politically correct" is not found in our lexicon.

That said, we also endeavor to remain faithful to the idea that these exchanges are not just about us and our idiosyncratic ideas, but more importantly about the exchange with you, our readers. So, as always, we invite you to join the conversation.

Author's Notes:  If you found this interesting and would like to receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee archive page. Better yet, you can arrange on that same page to follow my "blog" by email. As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.

If you enjoyed this post, please take a minute to share it around to your network — whether on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, provided only that you credit Jim and me properly as the authors, and include a live link to the original post.

About me, Phil Friedman With 30 some years background in small business and the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation. In a previous life, I taught logic and philosophy at university.





Phil Friedman

5 years ago #27

Thank you, Milos Djukic, for sharing this post. Cheers, my friend!

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #26

Thank you Don Philpott\u2618\ufe0f, for sharing this post. Cheers!

Lada 🏡 Prkic

5 years ago #25

I always understand what you say, even between the lines. :)

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #24

Please do not misunderstand, Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic. O am not suggesting that everyone on social media is looking for paying work. I am just saying that some of us have to, from time to time, pay attention to securing paying work. At least those of us who lack tenured positions at educational institutions. :-) Just teasing, of course. Cheers!

Lada 🏡 Prkic

5 years ago #23

Phil, that's the difference between you and me in using social media. I was never searching for paying work on social media. Actually, there were several job offers I received on LinkedIn, but I have no intention to change my current job and also have no time to provide additional services. What I like, and it's something I miss on beBee, is to be connected with people in my field and having a conversation about construction. There's too much conversation about the concept of leadership, but nobody writes about followership or about leadership from the followers perspective (as far as I know).

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #22

Jerry, old guys with humor make my day. We veterans of the Irony Man competitions need to stick together. Cheers!

Jerry Fletcher

5 years ago #21

Phil, And so it goes. The dialogue continues but at a less frenetic pace. Those of us with a writing Jones just keep on doing it and there are some rewards as the folks that have become kindred souls respond in a positive way whether or not they agree with a stated viewpoint. Glad to see you and the mad man of the north are once again slinging barbs at each other. Thanks for hanging in here from the guy in the upper left corner of the Continental.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #20

Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic, perhaps, but sometimes it is necessary to chase paying work even if that is to the detriment of activities on social media. I've also been spending more time these days on professionally-related network building on LinkedIn which is, speaking bluntly, the only place where I've connected with paying work on social media. That, by the way, is one of my ongoing complaints about platforms like beBee -- they pay only lip service to being a place for B2B networking and do little or nothing about actually fostering a business-oriented environment. Cheers!

Lada 🏡 Prkic

5 years ago #19

Sometimes pausing can be counterproductive. :)

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #18

Me too, Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic, but perhaps during the hiatus that Jimbo and I took from poking the bear in the eye, too many people on beBee became too comfortable. (Yes, that is a challenge!) Cheers!

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #17

Kevin Pashuk, you might find the concept interesting. As a not-for-profit platform, it will be owned by its members in a way similar to how a mutual insurance company is actually owned by its policyholders. Also, OW-NA will not have its own native (internal) publisher, but rather will provide a distribution network in which members can reach other members with notices of their posts on other platforms -- with distribution of notices controlled solely by the elections of the recipient members 100% of the time, without any arbitrary meddling by platform management. In other words, OW-NA will exemplify #LetTheAudieceDecide. Cheers!

Lada 🏡 Prkic

5 years ago #16

Thanks, Phil. I already follow the progress of the mentioned platform. BTW, I was hoping to see more commenters on this post and vivid discussion as on some of yours previous instalments.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #15

My two Beezer Buds are back at it, discussing what in the world has happened to online blogging, social media, and coming up with new pet names for each other.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #14

While I can't say for sure that Social Media has 'had its day', I can certainly attest to my waning involvement. Part of it is a time commitment with a new role, but mostly it was the amount of fluff and willful ignorance that has become a hallmark of so many of my social media feeds. It's getting harder to have a genuine conversation (where there may be opposing viewpoints) these days. Even the news media, and the events they report these days, stretches my ability to be surprised these days. The days of open dialogue are numbered. Those with a differing viewpoint are vilified, and Social Media is the primary tool to flood the market with misinformation. Genuine dialogue is drowned out and quickly marginalized. It's no fun to be contributing to such an environment. The early days of beBee seemed to be contrary to the manufactured 'community' of other SM platforms... In fact, I still count many of the fine folk I met in those days as friends and acquaintances. Perhaps we should create a Social Media platform where in order to get membership, you have to present a case as to why they should not let you in. We can name it after Groucho Marx who said he would never belong to a club that would take him as a member.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #13

Charlene Norman, I am only "mildly" opinionated because I'm willing to listen to the opinions of others -- even when I don't agree. And by the way, the "rant" is a distinct literary form which requires the machine-gun cadence that you see employed in HSHS. I am normally much more of a huggy-bear, don't you agree? Cheers!

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #12

Only partly, @Deborah Levine... for we've actually programmed ourselves for shortened attention spans. However, the fact remains that almost all social media users have been bamboozled by platform ownership who are, when the chips are down, in it for the money. Once you understand that, you can see that the only chance for social networking to achieve its higher potential is to shift the paradigm to platforms that are member-centric and member-owned. Thank you for reading and commenting so astutely. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #11

You are correct, Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic, a social networking platform can be so much more than simply a publishing venue -- but for it to serve the needs of the membership, rather than the greed of the ownership, a platform has to be member-centric and, moreover, member-owned. Check us out at and -- where the not-for-profit platform will be member-owned and member-driven. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #10

Not naive anymore, Milos Djukic. We now know, if we have more than a couple of functioning brain cells, that the entrepreneurs of social media platforms do not have "our" best interests at heart. And the rest is up to "us". Cheers!

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #9

Thank you, Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador, for your support and kind words. I think we agree that the lesson to be learned is that it's up to "us" to create a networking environment that serves our needs, rather than rely on entrepreneurs to do it for us. . Cheers!

Lada 🏡 Prkic

5 years ago #8

Phil, this post is definitely more than poking the bear in the eye. :) For me, social media is and always will be more than writing blogs on publishing platforms. There are many more social media contents which can encourage conversation and engagement, but they are pushed into the background on beBee, contrary to LinkedIn where the vast majority of users post updates and short text-only posts on their homepages, and it works very well. Another issue is the quality of blog posts. I agree with Jim that "maybe it’s not so much that quality of writing has gone downhill, but that the actual number of well-written posts being published is declining." One more issue I noticed lately is the decline in the number of readers, mentioned in Pascal's comment. Also, very few beBee newcomers are engaged with posts, even their own. Mostly the same group of people (loyal connections :-)) are trying to stimulate conversation and traffic by commenting and sharing. I still try and want to read beBee blogs as much as I can, but reading books is my first choice.

Milos Djukic

5 years ago #7

Social media, what was that? We are social, they are not. They are manipulators. However, fractals are forever, many even naive too.
Glad to see you back, guys. I keep plugging away at beBee but I have noticed a lack of bubbly attitudes. I have been spending more time on LI, as well and the LI crowd has livened up some or it seems that way. With that said, I'm not referring to publishing on LI because it is still lack-luster. I've never been a fan of Thrive or Medium because I don't care for how those sites are set up. There is no warmth or personality in either one, IMO. WordPress fuels my creativity and the engagement with my followers is becoming more satisfying with each piece I write. I hope to see more from the dynamic duo and - He Said...He Said. Here are some of the live links to Phil's social media endeavors (I hope they're live) main link - “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect”-Anais Nin

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #5

I understand, Pascal Derrien, what you are saying. And I have to admit that probably most of the anger and, as you put it, bitterness can be traced to an initial naivete as to what these platforms represent. But to me, that smacks of blaming the victims for not knowing better than to believe the salesmen. I also agree that we only get what we fight for and, therefore, deserve. Which is why I am personally involved in creating a not-for-profit social networking platform that will be member-centric and member-owned in the way mutual insurance company policyholders own the company that insures them. I know you are aware of these efforts, but I would like to take this opportunity to invite others to check us our at: See also: If you're weary of being used and cast aside, check us out. You might just find a home you can occupy indefinitely. Cheers!

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #4

Denial and naivety are sometimes a feature of the American psyche as many if not most of the active Yanks on this platform have left for reasons of their own but not the first time I see high level of ''whore''shipping followed rapidly by bitterness. You could oppose loyalty and commitment but that could also be seen as naïve, the reality is that anybody who spend two minutes to observe will notice there is a steady decline in publishing quality or even frequency, some would say it's abysmal some would say its normal. My personal experience is that I only publish two max articles per month which seems to interest only a pocket of loyal connections, the same pocket of loyal connections seemingly being the only very active bunch who are still trying to stimulate or salvage anaemic numbers. LI publishing is poor, Medium is a ghost town, Thrive lacks warmth etc..... I am not a fan of Dylan but … it is what it is.....

Jim Murray

5 years ago #3

Right back, Phil. This was a good. Although I fear we will make a few enemies this time out.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #2

Charlene Norman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #1

Well, Jim Murray, it's been a while. Good to cross keyboards with you again. Cheers, bud!

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