Author: Joel Postman
Publisher: New Riders, 2008
Aimed at: Companies considering social media initiatives
Pros: First hand experience from case studies
Cons: Little discussion of potential disadvantages and security issues
Reviewed by: Sue Gee
We have all been changed to one or extent or another by the advent of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging and so on. In this slim volume Joel Postman advocates the use of social media as a strategy for companies to help them achieve their already established business objectives. By his definition a SocialCorp is a company that has adopted social media intelligently and effectively and he points to some high profile examples including Dell, Cisco, Intel and Sun.
This is a very evangelical approach. In the first chapter Postman reviews eight benefits of becoming a SocialCorp - access to information; enhanced brand awareness; better engagement with customers, employees and business partners; collaboration; richer user experience; improved web metrics; increased control over your Market place message; and simply participation in the ongoing conversation that has been initiated by the new social media.
At the start of Chapter 2, "What does it take to become a SocialCorp?" you'll find a 20-question readiness quiz designed to influence you opinion while you respond to the questions (it's available online if you want to try it out). Your score on the quiz is interpreted and the rest of the chapter expands on the ideas you are intended to subscribe to.
The next chapter "What are Social Media and Web 2.0" has some patchy coverage of social media, with an emphasis on Facebook, blogging and Twitter. The chapter also mentions social bookmarking sites and this is one area in which I feel the author fails to prepare his audience for the real world which is often very different to the cosy and positive scenario painted in this book. Anyone who hopes to raise brand awareness for a commercial product via social bookmarking sites is likely to provoke a swift reaction from down-voters and a "bury squad" whose mission is to eliminate what they deem to be spam. (For more discussion of this issue see The Social Bookmark and Spam).
A chapter is devoted to the risks of using social media, looking at legal and ethical issues and the potential to damage a company's brand or reputation and here the author suggests that these can be mitigated via educating those using social media and establishing usage policies. Security issues are conspicuously absent in this book.
OK, so this book is one-sided but that is neither new nor surprising. It isn't a technical treatment - but it doesn't set out to be. It sets out to be motivational and in this it succeeds pretty well. So if you want to be convinced to adopt social media it's a good read.