A quick look at “Trust Agents,” “Twitterville” and “Crush It!”
Regulars in the social media space won’t gain a lot from the books cited in this post. All 3 are penned by SM evangelists and tend to target the late majority in the space. They sing the praises of social media, but the evidence is anecdotal and the outcomes nearly always positive. Nonetheless, newbies in the 2.0 world may find 2 of the 3 books useful.
Had Dale Canegie lived in the digital age, he would have liked Chris Brogan. For me, “Trust Agents” is a digital rendition of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” The authors take Carnegie’s relationship-building concept and translate it for the online space.
If you’re looking to expand your influence in social media, Chapters 3, 4 and 5 may help you get there. Brogan and Smith call it “becoming a trust agent.” I call it networking. But it comes back to the relationships that Carnegie wrote about in 1934. People haven’t changed all that much, but thanks to technology, the sociology of networking has.
Old wine, new bottle? Maybe. But I’m recommending “Trust Agents” to my students and newcomers to social media. Even though the millennials are immersed in social media, few use it effectively to to enhance their business and professional networking. “Trust Agents” may help them do that.
“Twitterville” is a pretty decent case book. So if you’re looking for stories about companies that benefitted by using the microblogging site, you might want to check it out. Last I checked, you’ll find this book at some Amazon booksellers for less than $3.
The cases in “Twitterville” include the usual suspects: Dell, ComCast, H&R Block, et. al. The B2B and small-business cases are less well known and do offer some ideas for folks who don’t counsel the Fortune 500. I was familiar with at least half of the cases, having read about them on blogs or in media reports. So for me, “Twitterville” offered no “Aha!” moments.
The author admits that he’s a big Twitter fan, and his book reflects that evangelism. You won’t find balance in this book. For a more thorough review of “Twitterville,” see this excellent essay by Richard Bailey.
I’m disappointed in the book’s editors, who didn’t work hard enough to smooth the rough edges and purge the passive voice. But that’s the way of things in business publishing today. Speed seems to trump quality.
If you’re a fan of “Gary Vee” and his Wine Library TV, buy this book. You may enjoy reading Gary’s success story about how he used social media to grow the family wine business. I’m guessing entrepreneurs will pull some inspirational from Gary’s message, but it didn’t work for me.
If you’re looking for real insights on the social-media world as a marketing platform, “Crush It!” probably isn’t for you. Vaynerchuk’s advice on using SM is pretty lightweight stuff and unlikely to be much help to PR or marketing professionals. At 140 pages, “Crush It!” is mercifully short. So I’ve decided to apply that same lesson to this post.