February 18, 2010

News & Opinion: Social Media 101

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 9:38 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

We are big fans of Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, as evidenced by us naming their book Trust Agents the best Advertising & Marketing book of 2009 in the 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards.

We're also huge fans of all things analogue here at 8cr—we love us some books and records. Sure, everybody has mp3 files on their computers, and we all read our blogs and follow the Twitter, but how many of us really bookmark our favorite posts and go back to them for inspiration, affirmation, or to remind ourselves of a valuable lesson? And have you ever held an mp3 file in your hand, pored over the liner notes and inspected the artwork as the music envelopes you? (And that's not even touching on the superior sound quality of a record or a book's near perfect, portable, paper interface.)

Well, that's the long-way-round to telling you that I love Chris Brogan's Social Media 101, but it has everything to do with why I love it. Brogan tells us up front that "This book is a collection of several blog posts that originally appeared at You could get this book (in a very raw form) from my blog for free (minus all my updates and edits)." So, why publish a paper copy? Compiling blog posts into a book is nothing new, and Brogan admits to giving others a hard time for doing it in the past, but I think there's a compelling reason to do so. Let me explain.

There's a lot of great advice on Chris's blog. The problem is, I'm probably not going to save today's Kitchen Table Talk and refer back to it. I will, however, probably get the Martin Luther King, Jr. box set he reviewed in the video, put it with the section of my music collection that houses my records of speeches, broadcasts and poetry,* and come back to that.

*My favorite, by far, is Dylan Thomas reading Gerard Manley Hopkins' The Leaden Echo & The Golden Echo.
It's so wonderfully over the top.

The difference is simple. I don't get on the Internet to read something I've read before, or listen to music I've heard. The Internet is a beast we can't catch; it's constantly changing. We are forever chasing it, looking for something new—new ideas, new music, new solutions—always trying to catch up. But, when you place an object in the analogue space of your home or office, it's caught you. If it is special enough, or useful enough, that you've found room for it in your finite analogue world, you're bound to come back to it again and again. And that object is going to be the same every time you do, never updated, never changing. You love it the way it is, and it's going to stay that way for you, consistently informing your daily life.

Social Media 101 is not a book I am going to read from cover to cover, but it will stay on the corner of my desk or on the shelf behind me, and I'll be coming back to it anytime I have a question about social media (which is often). I'm sure I'm going to dog-ear and highlight the parts I find most useful. The problem is that, judging upon my first reading today, I might end up dog-earing and marking up every other page.