The Twitter Book (2nd Edition)

Author: Tim O'Reilly & Sarah Milstein
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2011
Pages: 256
ISBN: 978-1449314200
Aimed at: New and existing Twitter users
Rating: 4
Pros: Plenty of screenshots makes advice easy to follow
Cons: Doesn't cover API; nothing for developers
Reviewed by: Sue Gee

The updated edition of an attractive guide to Twitter. Who should buy it?

When I wrote my review of the first edition of this book I was pretty much a Twitter novice and also something of a sceptic, asking "Is Twitter a craze or is it a technology that has a real role in the workplace as well as between family and friends?"

Now, some thirty months later, I see Twitter much more as a promotional tool and pretty much irrelevant for keeping in touch with family or close friends - it seems much more about letting the rest of the world know something than communicating with your nearest and dearest.

 

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So how has this book changed since the first edition?

Well there's no change to format which has a distinctive format and feel by being small and "landscape" with wide pages. Each topic is a double page spread with the left-hand page being illustrations - and for the new edition many of the screenshots used have been replaced to keep it up to date.

There's surprisingly little in terms of new content - a total of 16 pages has been added but that underestimates the new content as some topics have disappeared or been put together to occupy less space.

Thinking about it, over the time Twitter has changed in appearance from time to time but there are only a few real changes from the user's point of view. It is important to bear in mind that this is a book for users and not one for developers - who at one time were pretty much discouraged by Twitter, although the revamped Developer Site does seem to be active, informative and helpful.

Twitter had grown between the two editions of the book as the Introduction to the Second Edition tells us:

In September 2011, the service announced it had 100 million active users, 400 million monthly visits to its website, and served billions of messages a week.

So with so many people using Twitter why produce another version of this book which tells you why and how to use it. Existing users will in fact learn how to use Twitter more effectively and efficiently and any new users will be guided through the initial steps. This information is now presented rather differently and includes the advice not to follow the random strangers that are suggested to you when you first sign up.

A new entry in the Twitter Jargon list in Chapter 1:Getting Started is "trending topics" and refers to inclusion of the new Trends section and explains how to localize this rather than seeing global trends.

A new topic in Chapter 2: Listen In points to two tools for understanding trends and Trendistic, an analytic tool in included in Chapter 6, along with three other new services for measuring Twitter. Chapter 6, which is on Twitter for business also has a new topic "Advertise on Twitter ... maybe" which covers Promoted Trends as well as Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets.

The book's coverage of third-party tools is an area of some real changes - reflecting what has happened. It still covers TweetDeck in Chapter 2 but now includes Seesmic rather than Twhirl. When it comes to other social media Facebook is mentioned more and LinkedIn makes an appearance as does Google+.

New in Chapter 3: Hold Great Conversations is a final topic about what to do if your account is compromised. I'm pleased to see this inclusion as I felt the original version didn't consider pitfalls such as hacking.

So, all in all, if you own the first book and are an active Twitter user there's not a lot new to justify replacing it. On the other hand if you liked the original you can recommend the new version to new users without hesitation.

 

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JavaScript in Easy Steps (5e)

Author:  Mike McGrath
Publisher: In Easy Steps
Pages: 216
ISBN: 978-1840785708
Audience: Beginners already acquainted with HTML
Rating: 3
Reviewer: Ian Elliot

 

There are so many reasons for learning JavaScript that you need books that cover a range of approaches and levels. What about "in [ ... ]



Introducing Microsoft WebMatrix

Author: Laurence Moroney
Publisher: Microsoft Press, 2011
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-0735649705
Aimed at: Newcomers to WebMatrix
Rating: 4
Pros: A well explained introduction to WebMatrix
Cons: Very basic, insufficient emphasis on PHP
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

WebMatrix is a very misunderstood product - does this b [ ... ]


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