Author: Todd Kelsey
Publisher: Apress, 2010
Aimed at: General readers fairly new to social networking
Pros: Fairly comprehensive, well-illustrated
Cons: Little new or different if you are already familiar with social networking
Reviewed by: Sue Gee
This step-by-step guide has a very formulaic structure. For each of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedOn, MySpace, Meetup, Ning and blogging it asks "What the Heck Is ?" and then sets out how to use it. It also covers Second Life but seems to have tired of its standard question by this late stage of the book.
Individual chapters also follow a common structure, starting with In this chapter - an overview of what is to come and an Introduction and ending with a conclusion, and all but one (the exception being Chapter One, there is a Q/A section that has tips and further information on offer.
In the first chapter Todd Kelsey makes the case for using social networks to "capture, preserve and share" your "life story". There is a strong sense of passing information on not only to current friends but also a legacy for future generations with the notion of "personal digital archeology".
After this introductory chapter the book becomes a very practical guide to social networking sites, starting with Facebook which gets the lion's share of the coverage. As with the rest of the book, the chapters devoted to it are extensively illustrated with screenshots which makes it easy for the novice user of social networking to follow. Having explained the Facebook concept and devoted a chapter to Getting Started with Facebook we arrive at Chapter 4, Capturing Your Story on Facebook which explains how to create and share photo albums and videos on it.
Two chapters are devoted to Twitter and they culminate with the idea of connecting Twitter to Facebook. Similarly at the end of the two chapters on blogging, in which both Google's Blogger and Wordpress are introduced, we come to a section on sharing a blog via Twitter and Facebook.
Next come two chapters that are a bit different in that there is no "What the Heck" question - perhaps we are all expected to be familiar with both Flickr and You Tube, and given their popularity that is very probably the case.
LinkedIn and MySpace are then given the standard treatment and then come some options that are outside the mould - Meetup, which is an online social network that fosters meeting others in person, Ning, a lesser-known social networking site and Second Life, the virtual, social, three-dimensional world.
The final chapter, Going Global, looks at Google tools - Translate and Multilingual chat - that help you interact with people without sharing the same language which promotes the view that social networks provide a way to transcend distances and that a multilingual web can make the world a better place.