Social Media has been a big topic for awhile, and seems to increase daily, as businesses scramble to figure out how to put this stuff to use. There's a lot of debate over best practices, and even if it should be used at all, but the overwhelming consensus is: use it.
The problem is, "using it" isn't enough. Knowing how to use it, what it is, and how and when it can work best for a company or individual is knowledge and information that's being developed even as I type this blog post. However, a few books have come out recently (or will be out very soon) that shed some interesting light on the subject.
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith's Trust Agents
, as well as Mitch Joel's Six Pixels of Separation
, are great overviews of what social media is and how to get involved in it. From there, both books lay out some great stories and case studies of the power of this technology, and how real live companies are tapping into it. The message is clear: You can too (and you probably should, if you want to survive).
Two other books take a more focused look at one particular social media platform: Twitter. Shel Israel's Twitterville
is a great book about the history and formation of Twitter, and how it has taken the social world (and the business world) by storm. David Pogue's The World According to Twitter
exemplifies the sentiment by simply compiling a tome of tweets (twitter posts) in one book. Categorized and insightful, it's clear to see that people are taking part, and spreading some interesting ideas - around the world, in an instant.
One interesting element to all these books is the focus on using social media as a listening device. On the surface, much of it seems about telling - spreading your message - from the mundane to the profound. In fact, particularly for business, using these platforms to discover what your customers are saying about you, and about what solutions they want and need solved, is likely the most important element social media can offer businesses today.