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I read a social media book on the plane to Vancouver yesterday.

First time in awhile and last time for a longer while.

This ain’t a book burnin’ party, but I’m sick of social media books (or at least the type currently dominating the marketplace). If you’re reading this blog you might be too.

Here are 3 things I dislike about social media books:

  1. They’re all starting to sound the same. My good pal Danny Starr mentioned this to me. He’s right. Advice in these tombs of wisdom often revolves around the same precepts, tools and even uses the same buzzwords (“engage,” “human business,” “transparency”).
  2. They often feel like someone slapped a hardcover around a bunch of dumbed down blog posts and added fluffy filler. Yes, authors should borrow from their blog content – LIBERALLY. But a good business book flows, has a clear problem statement, addresses counterfactual questions and cites cases. Does this sound like most of the social media books you have read?
  3. If you’re in the biz, go to the blogosphere. The “book deal” is a tool for blogger/speaker types to gain mainstream credibility, broaden their audience, and score new clients. This means the target audience is not necessarily those who work in the space. If you do, save your cash and go check out a blog or a podcast, where the content is usually more advanced.

What do you think? I know we’ve all read a few GREAT social media books, does this mean I’m out to lunch?

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Krista says:

    I admire your brave stance on these issues, Jackson!

    I have been avoiding books on social media because I think it’s still changing as a field of communication, so a book might be helpful this month, but what about the next? Instead, I have found blog posts, case studies, and podcasts or webcasts on social media more useful and timely. Can’t say I don’t envy you for having time to read, though. I think social media is killing my attention span 😉

  • Intriguing viewpoints, JW. I don’t read books as much as I should. I’m one of those who opts for blog posts and podcasts. That said, I am trying to read more and even bought a copy of Content Rules the other day because I believe in the premise — content is the new marketing.

    I have heard more folks mention advanced content recently and I always follow it up with this question: What type of advanced content are you looking for? Do you have any examples of authors who cover this type of content well?

  • Krista: In terms of time to read, I just carve it out (same way I do for exercise). I like books – esp fiction – and like you said, I worry about the internet killing my attention span. Seems to work.

    Justin: Love to hear how Chapman’s book is. I did not buy it for the reasons cited. BUT, like you, I fully drank the Koolaid on the premise. In terms of advanced content lemme give you a few examples:

    1) Coverage on the nature (the nuts and bolts) of new tools for digital marketing and content on their application. In terms of authors, Adam Vincenzini is very good for this.

    2) More about social media management. I know there is no cookie cutter solution here because the management of this stuff varies. HOWEVER, I am certain that many of us have struggled the endless noise and the constant need to feed the soc med beast. These realities have DRASTICALLY changed client work (and billing). Todd Defren has touched on these questions in the past.

    3) I always say this – and it likely belies my MBA background and the fact that I wrote an MA thesis that was really case study centric. BUT, yes, I love case studies. Not superficial gloss over stuff, but real examinations of business campaigns. The folks at Case Study Jam (more of a group get together than an author) are pretty good at delving deep. Your #pr20chat colleague Heather Whaling has shared interesting cases in the past as well.

    Hope this makes sense. Take care and thanks!

  • Hugh Macken says:

    I’m really a sales guy at heart and I’ve learned over time: Facts tell. Stories Sell.
    Case studies are golden.

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