btripp_books (btripp_books) wrote,

More at "encyclopedia" ...

This is another book provided to me by Wiley for review (helllooo FTC) ... they certainly seem to be in the forefront of the publishing wave on this particular niche! Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online is the latest from Chris Brogan, the "Social Media guru" whose Trust Agents I wrote about a few weeks back. I've been following Chris on Twitter for quite a while (@ChrisBrogan) and have been reading his blog (http://www.chrisbrogan.com) a bit as well. This book is primarily a collection of 87 of his blog posts (edited and sequenced, etc., of course) which covers a wide span of material.

The book is sort of tricky ... first of all, it's small (slightly over 5x7", but thick at 350 pages), with a "cutesy" vintage clip art cover ... it looks like it's going to be a quick, fun read ... a perception reinforced by the short "chapters" (the blog posts) inside. Instead, it's like the proverbial "taking a drink from a firehose". Each of the 87 sections is a dense, tight, concise look at a particular angle of Social Media, and this is not what one can (if giving it appropriate attention) just breeze through!

As I've previously noted, when reading a book, I keep a bit of scrap paper (typically a cash register receipt) in the book to give me something to pull strips of paper from to "bookmark" places in what I'm reading, either for passages that I'm likely to want to use in a review, or information that I'm going to want to revisit at some point. I don't recall ever having more of these poking out of the top than there are in Social Media 101. As those of you who read my personal blog know, I've worked a bit in the Social Media field and am currently in a job search which certainly includes this area. Brogan provides dozens of resources, lists, observations, etc. here that I had to mark to come back to. Unfortunately (for you), there don't seem to be any "Oh, I must include this passage in the review!" markers ... but chalk that up to each bit of this book being very focused on-topic, a side effect of it being an aggregation of compact, targeted blog entries!

However, these same attributes make this somewhat difficult to approach as a reviewer. Hardly being a "101" course in the subject of Social Media this is more like a non-alphabetized encyclopedia on the subject, circa late 2009ce. I really can't think of anything that's been left out of this ... with the one caveat that this is a business book and so the material constantly gravitates to that end of the spectrum. Again, there are 87 "chapters" here, so I'm not going to do a run-down of them, but the following are a "cherry picking" from the Contents listing: "Social Media Does Not Replace Marketing Strategy", "Using Social Networking Offline", "Participation: The Key to Social Media", "Social Media Starter Pack" (with five following sections and later industry-specific ones), "A Sample Blogging Work Flow", "Growing Your Audience: Some Basics", "The Value of Networks", "The Sound of Content Ripping Free from Its Page", "What I Want a Social Media Expert to Know", "100 Personal Branding Tactics Using Social Media", "How to Do More with Less Time", and "How I Do It".

Of course, everything in here has to be considered a "snapshot" in time, as the field of Social Media is undergoing constant, rapid growth. As Chris notes at one point, it's also not been around for long enough to really have left a serious track on people resumes (at least in its current manifestations), so what's true today might not be true tomorrow. Except, of course, for the "basics", the "playing nice with the other children" stuff of being open, transparent, and useful. However, it's all in here. As I noted, I've worked in Social Media to various extents for the past couple of years, and, on one level, this really makes my brain hurt ... there is so much interwoven in this book that it's amazing that any one guy could know it all, and in the detail that Brogan evidently does. It's an impressive document, and indispensable for anybody looking to come to grips with the wider Social Media sphere, especially as it relates to businesses.

Social Media 101 is new, hot, and only been out for a month at this point, so you should be able to find a copy any place they have business books (hint: if you follow Chris' Twitter you'll hear of locations he's dropped in to and signed copies, such as on various airport concourses, etc.). Amazon has it at about 1/3rd of of cover, however, which makes it pretty reasonable. If you want to "look under the hood" on Social Media (or have a supervisor who needs to learn about it!), this is definitely the manual du jour.


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