Say it with a cartoon: what is social media?

[Summary: Reducing complex ideas to < 50 words and three frames… with an easy online tool]

The cartoon is a maligned medium (well, I've certainly been guilty of maligning cartoons in the past…). But I've recently discovered how effective a medium the basic cartoon can be for expressing ideas in an accessible way. Or to put it differently:

The value of cartoons

The cartoon above was put together in a few minutes using It's doesn't quite allow one to achieve the lightness of touch of Dave Walker, or the visual feast of a Joe Sacco cartoon – but it does make it easy to create a quick cartoon online and get an image you can download and use.

Much in the same way that I found the self-imposed limits of the one page guides (more coming soon, I promise…) to help me clarify what mattered about particular online tools, I've found the space limits of just three frames and a couple of speech bubbles is really helpful in boiling down an idea to what is essential about it.

Of course, sometimes ideas resist such boiling down – which is the challenge I'm facing with trying to sum social media in a quick cartoon. I'm writing a guide about the use of multimedia and social media in youth participation, and am trying to set out how the two relate, but are distinct. My first attempt at a cartoon to explain it below:

Multimedia and Social Media

I'm not quite sure that captures it, so I'm heading back to the drawing board to have another go – but I thought it would be good to throw the challenge of 'Explaining social media in a cartoon' out to others.

How would you explain social media in a cartoon?

You can create your own cartoon at without any need to sign up, just hit the 'Create Strip' button…

If there are enough cartoons emerging, perhaps we could create a little gallery?

(BTW: If anyone knows of any other cartoon generating websites – I'd love to hear about them… specially any that offer a more diverse range of characters…)

4 thoughts on “Say it with a cartoon: what is social media?”

  1. Hey Tim,

    Perhaps you might like Our site is based around character creation; your strips would seem to fit nicely. Feel free to come check out the site!

    Ian (from toonlet)

  2. Hey dear Tim,

    I am an exchange student at Warwick University and I attended a workshop led by somebody from the Youth led development org in Birmingham who came at International Development Summit to Warwick Uni… (uuf sorry for long and boring introduction) But… actually, I was so happy to find out that something like that exists… I would like to get involved.. to learn more how it works… to work out projects and help young people elaborate their own.. I am from Slovakia, which needs so much to get young people involved… because we have many ideas but no support.. I can imagine working within Slovakian community.. I would love to bring some of this youth led development software there… Or to France… (as I will be studying there next year) Please, write me whom I could contact if you are not the right person to help…

    Thank you very very much..
    I wish you all the best!!!! very sincerely!

    Best regards,

  3. Would be great to hear more about your ideas on how youth led development could work in Slovakia…

    Have you come across Peace Child International? They do a lot of work on Youth Led Development – and I’m sure they would be open to more conversations on how Youth Led devt works. You can find more on their website:

    They may well also know of youth led development work going on in France and Slovakia already…

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