A glossy magazine about social media was launched last week. While you might wonder whether a printed magazine is really the medium for the message, the arrival of The Social Media Monthly raises another question: when online businesses are so flush with cash they want to advertise in glossy mags, is it time to take a reality check?

The markets appear to think so, with the hi-tech NASDAQ index falling by almost 7% last week alone. Does that remind you of anything?   

I still have my copy of Red Herring magazine (subtitle: The Business of Technology) from May 2000. The British edition ran to 482 pages that month, with the headline above the masthead reading 'Everyone wants to be a venture capitalist.'

When everyone feels like that, you can be sure the venture capitalists who know what they are doing will be only too happy to sell their stakes in over-valued companies to those who want to climb on the bandwagon.

Between the April 2000 issue of Red Herring and that May issue, the NASDAQ lost 20% of its value.

But, hey, that was then and this is now.

So good luck to SMM (66 pages) and its Washington DC-based publisher Robert Fine. But what did he find to say about social media?

Well, SMM begins with an earnest feature about how social media can be used to foster social change (first suggestion: "Elongate Vertical Connectivity"). Academic in tone, and rather specialised, its heart is no doubt in the right place.

Next is a piece about 'realtime marketing' on social media - which is when you are offered a product or service according to where you are and what you're doing. So if you check into a hotel you could be sent special offers by local restaurants.

And there's plenty more: about social media use in US politics, social media for recruiting, social media and brands, social media and health, to name but a few.

Many of the articles are written by people who have started businesses or agencies in the field. The overall effect is a little preachy and lacking in scepticism or humour.

And what about the glossy paper it's printed on?

Ah, well, there I can't comment.

You see, I emailed Mr Fine to find out where I could buy SMM in the UK. He said he wasn't sure and was trying to find out himself from his distributor. But in the meantime he kindly sent me a password to access all the pages online.

So, unless a copy turns up, I won't be able to add the first edition of SMM to my collection of technology magazines that, in retrospect, commemorate moments of irrational exuberance in the tech industry.

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