Monday, September 5, 2011

The Facebook Era: Tappping online social networks to market, sell, and innovate

By Clara Shih

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
It should be clear from the outset that I am reviewing the 2011 (second edition) of this book, not the first.  Most of the reviews at (as I write this) are of the first edition, and there have been significant and important changes since then.

Changes from the first edition?  Shih writes of the changes on page 2:
    — Each chapter now ends with a summary of takeways and an actionable to-do list.
    — There are now two dozen case stuides and example that bring concepts to life.
    — Rather than discuss Facebook alone, Shih now offers extensive coverage of Twiter and Linkedin as well.
    — There are expert opinion sidebars from well known social media authorities.
    — Five new chapters have been added including one on customer service, one on innovation and collaboration, one on ways to develop an individualized Facebook Era plan, one that offers advice for small businesses, and one on advice for nonprofits, healthcare, education, and political campaigns.

The book is divided into four parts:
    1. Why social networking matters for business
    2. Social networking across your organization
    3. Step-by-step guide to social networking for business
    4. Social networking strategy

This is a basic book written for beginners.  If you are a regular Facebook (Twiter, Linkedin, MySpace, Renren in China, Mixi in Japan, Odnoklassniki in Rusia), you may not find a whole lot that is new here, but Shih is not writing this book for you.

I found the book informative, easy-to-read, and comprehensive.  If there is anything about Facebook that you don’t know, you will find it here.  I found the gray boxes by other authors (“more than three dozen guest contributions from world-class experts”) interesting and valuable.  The inclusion of actual pictures from Facebook pages was helpful.

Although I regret the fact that Shih avoided using any references (other than the boxes by guest authors who were all experts in their respective fields) or offered “Other Books to Read,” or even a bibliography, there is a great deal of information here to digest.

I found her hands-on techniques useful, her insights valuable, and her easy-to-use “To Do” lists solid.  This is a book for anyone who wants a complete look at social networking.

This book can be found at The Facebook era: Tappping online social networks to market, sell, and innovate

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