How to WIN at Social Media

The life of a social media Guru, like me, isn’t as easy as it may sometimes seem.

OK, to the untrained eye, it may appear that all we need do is put up a post about, oh, I don’t know… ‘Baked Beans’ every now and then, and our followers will lap it up maintaining our status as internet superstars.

If only that were true.

It takes a little more than access to a few hot Instagram filters and sick buzzwords (that the young people love) to be an international social media sensation.

Here’s my foolproof guide to being a smash-hit on Facechat, Snapbook and the like…

1* Be REAL. Followers love ‘Reality’, especially when it doesn’t look like real life. Drop into all of your posts some references to how ‘real’ you are.

If you can fake being real, you’re onto a winner.

2* Don’t be TOO REAL. Whatever REAL thing you’re doing, dial it back a bit. Reality is like Coldplay, a little is OK sometimes, but it’s easy to drift into too much and suddenly you find yourself rocking in a corner waiting for it all to stop.

3* Be FAMOUS. If you possibly can, try to be famous. This will really help you on social media. If it’s possible to be a Kardashian, that’s a real advantage. Why not try to act a little more like a Kardashian? A good way to start is looking unimpressed at everything and using the vocabulary of a four-year-old.

4* Act FAMOUS. Try to Tweet about how hard life is for you, now that you’re famous, even if you’re not. Wear dark glasses whenever you can and stick your bum out at photographers*.

* Note, not advisable when having your passport photo / mugshot taken.

5* Get into HACKS. Hacks are the lifeblood of the social media star. Any way of making life easier is a great bit of info to pass onto your followers. But make your hacks aspirational. If you’re going to give out a hack about getting the last bit of ketchup from a bottle, use Waitrose sauce, not Tesco value.

Remember, you’re living the dream.

6* LIVE THE DREAM. Make your life look at least 30% better than it actually is. Perhaps get a more photogenic friend to stand in for an ugly family member in any snaps you take? Tell your followers that you work for the UN, rather than Pound-stretcher. Remember, even if make up a few untruths about hanging out with Kofi Annan – keep it real. Maybe blog that you were accidentally wearing last season’s lip shade – TOTES AWKS!

7* Get into CRAFTS. Ruining a perfectly decent pair of trainers with a hot glue gun and a selection of shiny objects will really endear you to your followers. Try to ruin at least one item this way every week. Followers need a regular inoculation of crafts to remind them that they hate that type of thing – you’ll get loads of ReTweets for pictures of any crafty tat like that.

8* Are you FAMOUS yet? Have you actually been trying to get famous? Perhaps write a blog where you pretend to know famous people – Elton John suggested I do this and it worked really well for me.

9* Give ADVICE. A sure way of increasing your standing in the online community is giving advice to others – especially in areas where you’re completely unqualified. Perhaps write a list or ‘method’ to becoming a social media star?

10* Quick hints to achieving social media success:

a) Be beautiful. Talk about it – but be real.

b) Be ugly. Talk about it – don’t be too real.

c) Have a bad hair day – make sure it looks like everyone else’s good hair day.

d) Women perfect your ‘no makeup’ look – make sure this includes lots of makeup.

e) Dads create laugh-free sub-Jackass videos showing how you’re ‘winning’ at parenting.  Make your tired wife the butt of the joke.

f) Drop unsubtle product placement into your blogs. Make it aspirational – like a guide to potty training in association with Habitat or John Lewis bridal.

g) Get a pet*. Make sure it’s photogenic. Or a really ugly pet. Get a sad backstory – make one up. *Not a good idea.

h) Become intolerant. Gluten is a good start, but there are other many options! Why not blog about being intolerant to pies? Make sure they’re aspirational pies though!


That was my guide to winning on social media. I’m sure it’s changed your life.

If it hasn’t, why not blog about it?

The Scotsman MAMIL Feature

Here’s a piece I wrote for The Scotsman, about MAMIL culture and ‘The Modern MAMIL: How to look pro’ my book with Spencer Wilson.

Have a read.

It’s that time again.
Up and down the country you’ll hear the shrieks as men (old enough to know better) hop around bathrooms trying to staunch the flow of blood after doing their legs a major mischief while trying to shave them smooth. Soon, once 1,000 tiny cuts dry, the same men are dousing themselves in talc and holding their breath as they squeeze into the Lycra outfits that make their professional cycling heroes look like supermen (sadly the effect on most amateurs can hardly be described as ‘super’). Next they’re out on the streets tentatively riding bikes that cost roughly the same amount as a starter home.
Who are these fellas? They’re MAMILs (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) and this is their time.
Welcome to the age of the MAMIL.

Chris McGuire: The Scotsman

For the full piece click here.

For more of my writing, check out my site

5 things every Stay-at-home-dad is sick of hearing…

Oh dear! The world, it would seem, isn’t quite ready for the concept of stay at home dads.

Many people I’ve met are totally shocked by the concept; holding the notion in the type of contempt usually reserved for door-to-door sales people and those who’ve decided to give up deodorant.

As a SAHD, I’m beginning to feel like a Betamax owner in a VHS world – ask your mum. To be fair, I do try to be quite ‘zen’ about the stupidity I encounter daily from members of the public. But there’s only so much idiocy one man can take…

Here’s 5 things EVERY SAHD is SICK of hearing…

1: “Are you Babysitting today?” 

Deep breath. Count to 10… Or maybe 100.Think of a pebble in a stream…

Ladies and gents, it’s not ‘Babysitting’… it’s PARENTING!!!

Why do people, when they see a man pushing a pram, assume he’s engaged in childcare at the same level of proficiency as the 16-year-old neighbour who occasionally comes round to sit in your front room (while the kids are asleep upstairs) so you can nip out for a curry with your other half?

‘Parenting’ is a demanding, committed and important activity.

‘Babysitting’ is being paid to watch ‘Take Me Out’ and eat Pringles.


For those of you who think I’m being extreme, why not think of it this way: next time you pass a building site, why not find the fore(person) – busily at work – and ask: “Are you doing a bit of DIY?” See what reaction you get.

2: “Taking the EASY option, are you?”

I’ve genuinely had people say this to me.

The presumption is that being a SAHD is the equivalent of being a minor member of the royal family or working in PR – in that it’s easy, merely a case of showing up and looking the part.

There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, even remotely easy about looking after a child.

Childcare is nowhere near easy, it’s not even within a commutable distance of ‘easy’. Juggling chainsaws while attempting to train sheep to play the clarinet is ‘easy’ compared to parenting.

To say anything else is to show you have no idea what you’re talking about. I didn’t decide to become a SAHD in order to take it easy. I became a SAHD because it was (holistically) the best option for my family.

3: “Do you change nappies?”


What are they? (For our American cousins, ‘nappies’ are diapers.)

No, I don’t change nappies. I just let them become fuller and fuller until either

i) They explode

ii) I persuade a passing woman to do it for me.

Of course I change nappies.

How else can you look after a child without doing this simple task? I’ve changed thousands and it hasn’t turned me into a female yet.

Seriously people, how on earth has our society get this far while allowing it to be a common belief that men shouldn’t need to deal with baby poo? Men will proudly announce to me: “I had seven children, never changed a nappy in my life.” As if this is something to proud of. Pathetic. 

4: “You’re brave!*”

This is a surprisingly common (unwanted) commentary on my position. If nothing else, it shows a common misunderstanding of the notion of bravery. For me being brave is taking on a risk or discomfort that you didn’t cause or anticipate in order to put the needs of others first. The arrival of my son wasn’t a surprise to me, in fact I was very much part of his inception. Looking after my child is a VERY ordinary task – or at least it should be. So why am I considered brave? Is it because I appear happy to be involved in activities traditionally synonymous with women? Or is it that I’m willing to demonstrate in public that I’m prepared to parent my own child?

Parenting requires no bravery. There are brave parents out there, but that’s a different matter. Doing a basic duty to your offspring, no matter what your gender is, should be seen as run-of-the-mill.

I long for the day when this is the case.

5: “Oh…”

I get a lot of this. A funereal ‘Oh…’ The type of response that in other circumstances would be followed by: “I’m so sorry for your loss” or “He was never right for you.”

Essentially, people respond to my saying that I’m a SAHD with the same type of tone you’d give if on receipt of bad news. The assumption is that some kind of perfect storm of life has occurred leaving me in the utterly undesirable position of providing childcare. As a litmus test, I listened in on some female friends telling others they currently full time carers to their young children. In these cases smiles and congratulations are given.

Yet I get “Oh…” as if I’ve just announced to the neighbours I’m trading in the house cat for a tiger. People look concerned, then worried and then make excuses to get away.


So there are my 5. Some may think I’m being oversensitive. They’re entitled to their opinion.

Perhaps I am?

What I do know is that as our government pushes to make shared parental leave a ‘thing’, men won’t take up the role in any great numbers until real change to the way SAHD’s are viewed (finally) happens.

Vilo Sky Webinar – Insights from a Stay-at-home-dad

I’m one of those strange people… yes, yes, I’m probably strange in many ways, but what I’m referring to is speaking in public.

I actually enjoy it.

I know many people would rather do lengths in a shark-infested pool or break it to Jeremy Clarkson that the kitchen is out of ribeye, rather than talk in front of a crowd. Thankfully, I’m not one of them.

So I was pleased when the amazing folks at Vilo Sky asked me to take part in a webinar discussing life as a stay-at-home-dad (or SAHD). The event is online on June 17th (2021) and can be registered for here.

I should be a fun evening of me pulling no punches in discussing what it’s REALLY like to be a man in a world that was until recently the sole preserve of women.

In the meantime, if you’d like to hear more of my SAHD experiences, check out

What the dad bod is a sign of – and why we should celebrate it

Here’s a piece I wrote about the ‘Dad Bod’ for

What dad’s really look like

It’s time to face reality. It’s time to be honest about what dads really look like. Yes, some men do have six-packs, amazing skin, no wrinkles and practically no body fat. Yes, some of these men are also dads. I get that, but isn’t it time to say that most dads don’t have that type of body?

Let’s go further and recognise the reason why many don’t have that type of body is precisely BECAUSE they’re a dad!

There aren’t enough hours in the day

There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for most of us dads to live in the gym. We’re far too busy ‘dadding’ to spend any time thinking about our own appearance. For me, if I get the chance to brush my teeth in the morning – I think I’m onto a winner.

Most dads I know, especially with young kids, have given up the activities they used to do before they had kids. They simply don’t have time for football, running or going to the gym as they used to. These dads are far too busy with nappies, bath time and dropping their kids off at Cubs/Guides/Karate etc.

What the dad bob is actually a sign of

Developing a Dad Bod is a physical sign of the sacrifices dads make – it shows the devotion fathers up and down the country have to their children. It’s as simple as that.

Let’s change the way we view the Dad Bod. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Let’s see clothing manufacturers using models that look like real dads, let’s see role models emerge who may be carrying a few extra pounds. Let’s see ‘beauty’ competitions that view men with a Dad Bod as ‘hot’.

I’m not saying dads shouldn’t embrace a healthy lifestyle, or allow themselves to become totally out of condition. What I’m trying to point out is we shouldn’t criticise fathers for not achieving someone else’s view of the ‘perfect’ body.

Chris McGuire, The Mirror

To read the full piece, click here.

Are we all a bit ‘Selfie’ obsessed?

OK, I’m guilty. I do pepper my feed with selfies that I try to disguise as candid photos. Why? It’s a good question. For the most part I’m rarely in company of someone able to take that vital shot of me looking windswept and interesting (the kids kept framing out the top of my head or asking me to ‘smile’).
I’m as guilty of the narcissism that lies at the heart of the Instagram selfie culture as anyone. We are now able to document every stage of our lives, every moment, every unoccupied nook and cranny of our existence. But, as Jeff Goldblum famously said in Jurassic Park: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. It seems to me that the world is awash with pouting, unsmiling images of those of us who are addicted to social media. As with all fashions, it will surely pass. I doubt it will be too long until photographs once more become the preserve of weddings and Christmas. Perhaps then, encouraged by the rarity of the situation, we’ll all return to flashing a smile at the lens.

Not your average cycling writer…

Honesty, that’s the key.

I come back to it over and over again. People can tell, always, when you’re trying to be pretend you’re something you’re not.

When I started writing about cycling I had to make the decision (and it was a decision) to be honest.

What do I mean?

In short, I had to make it clear that I wasn’t one of those lean, mean, ‘cool’ cyclists who clock up 100s of miles without breaking sweat.

Oh, no. I was one of those men on the wrong side of 30 (or 40 nowadays) who was carrying a little (a lot) too much weight, didn’t know a groupset from a twinset and could only manage a ride down to the all-night garage and back before collapsing on the couch.

I realised that there were many people out there like me – they were never going to be Chris Froome or even ‘Joe Bloggs’ the second-fastest fella at their local bike club.

I understood that these people were enthusiastic for change and more than a little bit intimidated by a sport that seemed to celebrate a bodily perfection they couldn’t hope to live up to.

It takes bravery to leave your house in skin tight Lycra when you’re carrying the extra pounds. It takes humility to smile and wave as the local bike club whizzes by, leaving you for dust. It takes patience to sit by the side of the road and change a flat tyre as white-van man toots his horn and shouts something unrepeatable as he speeds past.

There’s a whole host of people who aren’t photogenic, fast or fabulous on their bikes. They’re just folks trying to carve back a bit of life for themselves, despite the naysayers. I write for these people.

That’s why I share photos of me out on my bike (they’re never flattering), I tell stories of my failures (and occasional triumphs) and don’t worry when what I write takes a comical edge.

It’s OK to laugh at my experiences. Laughter doesn’t hurt anyone, really. I just hope, that after people have laughed, that some of them might get inspired to get out on their bikes too.

They’ll be glad they did…

Wrestling with embarrassment

Here’s a piece I wrote for Eastern Daily Press about my thwarted dreams of following my hero ‘Hulk Hogan’ and becoming a professional wrestler…

“There are very few people who can pull of a singlet unitard. It didn’t take me long to discover I wasn’t one of them.

It’s 2005 and I’m working in children’s TV when, as a result of extremely tight (almost as tight as the costume) budgets, I find myself cajoled into taking a break from writing scripts, to play a wrestler in a series of ‘hilarious’ skits. There I am in a huge blonde wig, thigh high boots and a leotard that leaves nothing to the imagination – strutting around a wrestling ring, against a much smaller opponent, prat-falling for laughs.

Dignity had well and truly left the building.

The thing is, as a kid, I’d loved WWF (as it was then) and WCW wrestling. These amazing pantomime-like events, with stars such as ‘The Undertaker’ and ‘Hulk Hogan’, were a TV staple during the late 80’s and early 90’s and I couldn’t get enough of them. I’d have sold my grandmother to be a ‘real life’ wrestler myself – sorry Gran!

Fast forward to 2005 and I find myself dressed in a ridiculous wrestling outfit, deliberately avoiding looking at my reflection in the dressing room mirror.  


Somewhere in my heart of hearts I hoped that a miracle might have taken place when I changed into the outfit – transforming my podgy body into a Schwarzenegger-style physique – meaning I looked like the real deal, wrestling-wise. Perhaps this moment would be the first step to fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming a wrestling star?

It’ll be no surprise to you that no such miracle occurred. Far from looking like a pro, I looked like a prat. I had the appearance of someone who’d pulled the short straw when the fancy dress was handed out.

That’s life, I’d suppose.

I couldn’t help remembering my unsuccessful introduction to the wrestling ring when my other half put GLOW on the telly a few weeks ago. As I’ve stated here before, we’re box-setters. In the hour between our kids going to bed and our own trip to the land of nod, we gorge on Netflix TV series to unwind after very long days.

‘GLOW’ (the ‘Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling’) is a drama series, set in the 80’s, about a bunch of misfit female performers brought together to star in a low-rent cable TV wrestling show. If I’m honest, a programme about women learning to wrestle wouldn’t have been my first choice – viewing wise. At first I paid far more attention to my social media feed than I did to the TV screen, but, much to my surprise, with a suplex or two I was hooked!

After a glut of scandi-dramas, police-procedurals and period gangster fair, it’s so refreshing to watch a show all about a group of seeming no-hopers finding salvation in the most unlikely of places: the wrestling ring.

Glow brings all the fun and flair I remember from the OTT wrestling shows of my youth. The ring action, combined with behind-the-scenes intrigue and an amazing 1980’s soundtrack make an unmissable watch. It’s probably the campest show on TV, which, with the recent arrival of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, is really saying something.

What hits home for me, however, is the positive message of the show. Like me in that dressing room, over a decade ago, many of the GLOW wrestlers saw themselves in costume for the first time and didn’t like what they saw. Unlike me, they put any negativity to one side and got stuck in.

Which makes me think that maybe it’s not too late for me to take up a career in the wrestling ring? Anything’s possible.

Next time I put on the wig, boots and yellow unitard I won’t be playing it for laughs.

Not deliberately, anyway!”

Chris McGuire, Eastern Daily Press

Isn’t it time to take bullying seriously?

Here’s a piece I was commissioned to write for

In it I examine my experiences of being severely bullied at school and how they’ve shaped my focus as a parent.

I still remember the whistling in my ears.

A sudden sense of the world being unsteady and the ground coming up to meet me. Landing hard, I was knocked out. Moments later, my eyes opened as several feet walked away. ‘You showed him,’ said an excited voice. The thing was, he hadn’t shown me anything. I still don’t know what I was punched for.

It was my first day at secondary school, and a sixth former (aged 18) had decided to attack this clumsy, naive 11-year-old, excitedly chatting about comics to some mates. My only crime seemed to be being bigger than my aggressor. But, though the size of a man, I was very much a child. This incident was the first of many. Persistent bullying became the background narrative to my school years.”

Chris McGuire,

Wax on, wax off…

I’ll do anything for my art… or for my cycling.

Did you ever see the piece I did for The Western Morning News about having my legs waxed? More and more MAMILs (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) are doing it, so I thought I’d have a try.

Go on, it’s well worth a read…

Photos by the amazing David Taylor.

“Ready?” asked Lisa, cheerily.
“Ready,” I replied.
In fact, I was having second thoughts, but it was a bit late to call it off now. 
I lay back and the first layer of warm wax was applied to my leg.
I’m one of that ever-growing group of unfit men who’ve turned to cycling in an attempt to gain control over their wayward waistlines. 

“I don’t look silly do I?” I asked my girlfriend, the first time I squeezed into cycling kit. Her reply was brutally honest.
“You’re standing there head to toe in Lycra so tight I can tell what you had for lunch and you’re asking me if you look silly?”

Chris McGuire, West Magazine: ‘Wax on, wax off…’