Author: J. S. McDougall
Audience: Twitter users with a product, service or cause to promote
Reviewer: Lucy Black
The subtitle "25 Twitter Projects to Help You Build Your Community" tells us what to expect from this slim volume. But who will it help?
According to its back-jacket blurb:
"this isn't just another social media marketing book - it's the anti marketing how-to community-engagement book."
However, you have to take notice of the previous sentence, that claims that the book's projects are to help grow your business, cause or organization.
So while the author concentrates on the community aspects of Twitter, and has the premise that you need to engage with your followers and not simply offer them discount codes and coupons, the projects are mainly aimed at promoting products and services. As you read through project scenarios you come across many examples - restaurant chains, ski equipment retailers, book publishers, boarding kennel owners - and what they have in common is having a business that makes money and that can offer prizes or incentives that are directly relevant. The only point at which the author seems stumped for an idea is when contemplating a project from the viewpoint of someone in applied logistics!
The book's structure is very simple. There's a short preface, much of which is devoted to an anecdote that tells us that long-term relationships can be based on remote communication but it's about ham radio and which might set up false expectations. Something else that is misleading is the inclusion here of text that is probably part of the template for O'Reilly book prefaces: there's a section "Using Code Examples" which tells you that you can use code from the book in your programs and documentation, But there isn't any code in the book!
Each chapter in the book is devoted to a specific project. The early ones tend to have an "Advanced Strategies" section and be 3 or 4 pages in length. Later ones tend to be shorter. As all the chapters start on a right page, there are plenty of blank left pages. The mix includes games, contests, getting people to send in photos, organizing a discussion group or doing market research. One problem with reviewing a book like this is that I can't possibly tell you about all 25 of the ideas. It would read like a list (which you can view in the Contents pages either on Amazon or on the book's page
on the O'Reilly site) and might put you off reading it for yourself.
In recommending this book to the right reader - someone with something that needs promoting and a budget in terms to time and money to devote to it - it is worth mentioning that it is an easy read with a good sprinkling of humor. And yes there, as well as some old chestnuts and obvious ideas, are some innovative suggestions that would be worth following up.