Social Media 101 by Chris Brogan

Anyone else notice an interesting trend in publishing? Some authors are going blog-to-book, meaning that they are publishing books that are largely based on the content in their blogs. I recently read one such book: Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online by Chris Brogan.

Disclaimer

Chris and I both have publishing deals with John Wiley & Sons.

Combining Micro and Macro

Much like Chris’ blog, there’s so much valuable information in Social Media 101that it’s kind of scary. Now, I like to think that know a great deal about social media. I must admit, however, that I broke out the pen many times to scribble things down in the front of the book.

I particularly enjoyed the pieces about “community managers” and how those roles don’t fall into traditional corporate departments–HR, Marketing, IT, and PR. Brogan understands that social media requires new paradigms and a stronger sense of collaboration among different people and departments in the work place.

Brogan does much more than list the sites that you should utilize in building–and maximizing–your web presence. Yes, he knows that Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are important. But how do you use each site to its maximum effectiveness?

Despite the book’s blog-type style, there are many underlying themes throughout the book. Perhaps my favorite is: You can distinguish yourself from your competition via a certain self of selflessness. It’s kind of zen-like: you promote yourself by promoting others.

Book Style

Let’s be clear here. Books like Social Media 101 are not organized like traditional books.  That didn’t bother me; I knew that before I picked it up. That’s both a pro and a con, depending on your point of view. On one hand, you don’t have to get to the last chapter to find valuable pieces of advice. They’re sprinkled throughout the book. On the other hand, the lack of a traditional book structure could possibly frustrate those unfamiliar with basic social media concepts.

I’d argue that this very style makes it much easier to reference on the fly. Social Media 101 is written in a a “call to action” type style in the book that makes you want to get in front of your computer and start taking Brogan’s advice while you are reading it. I suspect that not too many books can be picked up quite as easily and digested in parts or used for reference.

Finally, and I might be in the minority here, I enjoyed the book precisely because I am not going to read 80 blog posts on a computer. I like having a physical copy of the book. Along these lines, because Chris chose the best of his posts for the book, you don’t have to search through his blog. Translation: While you can get most of the content for free, Social Media 101 is money well spent.



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