As an online editorial cartoonist, I pay homage here to some of the finest new and established cartoonists that are focusing their editorial commentary on social media. Like myself, many of these cartoonists have found the Web 2.0 world is just as exciting and newsworthy as political commentary. And then again...sometimes worlds collide!
While not one of the TOP TEN, one of my own editorial cartoons has also dipped its toe into the social media waters. Here you'll find kidd millennium interviewing Obama as to how he might be enlisted to solve the crisis of dwindling newspaper circulation.
This TOP TEN list represents some of the finest talent on the scene today. If you would, please take a moment at the end of this blog and vote for your favorite.
A relative newcomer to cartooning, Jones works as a developer for Engauge where each member of their social media team is required to blog at least once a week. His one-panel social media comics on a site called StatusThis are his contribution. Here he satirizes location-based social networks and the geolocation component that requires check-ins when users arrive at a restaurant venue.
2- Walt Handelsman
Walt Handelsman is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for Newsday in New York. His work is nationally syndicated by Tribune Media Services to newspapers around the country and internationally. One of the mostly widely reprinted cartoonists in America, Handelsman's work has also run in Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune. In this cartoon, Walt comments on the power of Twitter during the Iranian Election protests last summer.
3- Rob Cottingham
Rob Cuttingham is one of the principals and communications strategist for Social Signal, a social media marketing firm. He has maintained a long-running blog on technology and public affairs, and has been a regular freelance contributor to CBC Radio. He draws the the insanely popular 'Noise to Signal' web comic. Here he references how shortened hashtag names on Twitter allow for more bang for the 140-character buck.
4- Andrew Fowler (aka Guhmshoo)
Andrew Fowler ran his initial social media cartoons under the pseudonym Guhmshoo. He explains Guhmshoo comes out of the closethis rational for hiding behind his comic art as a means, "to freely flirt with social media without much risk." According to Fowler, by taking this approach, he "learned more about social media as Guhmshoo," than he felt would have possible as himself. Now, that he's 'out of the closet,' so-of-speak, this cartoon takes 'potshots' literally at Bing, as it tries to go up agains the the Grand-daddy of search engines, Google.
5- John Cole
John Cole has been Scranton's The Times-Tribune editorial cartoonist since Apri 2005. He draws five to seven full-color one-panel cartoons weekly. Here is takes on the current controversy Google has had with China. According to Cole, "Google’s threat to pull out of China reminded me of the old saying, “when you lie down with dogs, you’ll get up with fleas.” The Internet search giant bent its own rules for openness on the Web when it acquiesced to censorship demands by the Chinese government. Evidently, the ideals of free and unfettered inquiry didn’t matter so much when there was a buck to be made." This cartoon is a reminder and shouldn’t be a surprise to Google (or any other media-rich Internet concern operating there) that totalitarian regimes generally will stop at nothing to squash dissent.
6- Nitrozac & Snaggy
The team of Nitrozac and Snaggy are the creators of GeekCulture.com,
self-described as the "high-tech humor website and online community
for geeks and geek wannabees." It's also the home of their hit webcomic
The Joy of Tech,
a comic about technology and pop culture. They like to feature tech
news topics that focus on Apple products and its events. Here they poke
some fun at how secretive Steve Jobs was in advance of rolling his out
his latest toy, the iPad (see "The $1000 Apple Tablet Remains A Secret Until The Big Reveal " ).
7- Hill & Shah
Shah is an entrepreneur, angel investor and writer. As an entrepreneur,
he launched Pyramid Digital Solutions, which he later sold to SunGard,
and today he's the Founder and CEO of HubSpot,
a venture-backed software startup that offers an inbound marketing
system for small businesses. As an investor, he backed 11 companies,
including Venture Hacks. And as a writer, he's co-authored Inbound Marketing and blogs regularly at OnStartups.com.
His partner Hill is apparently publicity-shy as there is no bio to be
found online. Here, Hill and Shah lampoon the infamous social
bookmarking site Digg that is notorious for indiscriminately burying
stories they don't like (also see my previous blog titled, "The Jigg Is Up, Digg - Time to JerryRigg!")
8- Oliver Widder
Geek and Poke is
the brainchild of Oliver Widder, the witty 38-year-old IT cartoonist
who lives in Hamburg, Germany and has turned his humorous gaze on any
number of techie topics, from Twitter to Wikis to Facebook. In this
toon, he focuses on the hype that surrounds cloud computing, a topic that often is perceived as a lot more than what it really is.
9- Mark Parisi
bio reads, "After many odd jobs and a graphic design degree from Salem
State College, Mark felt he had two marketable skills: cartooning and
grocery bagging. He decided to choose cartooning, even though it didn't
pay as well. With influences ranging from Charles Schulz, MAD Magazine and,
more obviously, Gary Larson, he started self-syndicating his comic
panels in 1987." Anyone who has a Facebook account can certainly relate
to this "Off The Mark" toon.
10- Cathy Thorne
are not many female cartoonists focusing on social media these days, so
I was glad to include Cathy Thorne's outstanding work in my TOP TEN
list. Living in Toronto, Cathy's toons have been picked up by
Australian and New Zealand newspapers as well those that are closer to
home like the Toronto Star. Her work has also been featured on the JerseyShoreMoms.com, but we won't hold that "Situation" against her. In this "Everday People Cartoon" she describes how social networking can sometimes distance us versus bring us together.
there you have - this year's "TOP TEN Social Media Cartoonists." Please
vote for your favorite or let us know if we omitted one that you favor
more. Also if you like toons, take the time to visit each one of the
cartoonists' Web sites. Their portfolios are extraordinary.
And as a bonus, here is another kidd millennium toon. If you remember, last year the Dalai Lama's imposter had to be excommunicated from Twitter.