Twitterville: A Desktop Reference for the Social Strategist

Altimeter Group Logo Shel, a contemporary, a friend, a mentor,  knocks it out of the park yet again with this follow-up book on the next set of smaller faster tools: microblogs.  Twitterville is a collection of stories that tell how the protagonist overcomes challenges from organizations, cultures, or crises.

One of the challenges of writing a technology book is that  the tools and technologies change faster than the ink can dry.  Shel Israel’s Twitterville overcame this challenge with ease, as he focused not on just the tools, but instead the stories about how people were connecting to each other –not just a focus on the technologies.  I noticed the same crafted stories in his first book Naked Conversations, which focused on the impacts of blogs to business.

If you’re a social strategist at a corporation or agency and are trying to develop plans, efforts, or programs to connect with customers that are on these microblogging tools you should have this book.

Why?  You should keep abreast of all the different tools, tactics, and deployments in your toolchest  –this book has 15 major sections, each with multiple case studies.  Such as Rubbermaid’s lethal generosity, IBM’s thousand twittering experts, and the growth of personal brands (page 170 has a case study outlining how I use Twitter).   In the end, you’ll find practical steps to getting started, best practices, and the nuances of online twitter etiquette.

I still talk to the press about the emerging technologies and their impact to business, and will keep Twitterville at arms length, it’s a desktop reference to quickly find case studies of how people have used simple technologies to connect to each other.  And thanks to @shelsisrael who gave me the first signed copy.

  • Jonathan Gowins

    I had the privilege of sitting next to Shel Israel (randomly) at TwitterCon a few months ago. He gave a presentation based on the book and his stories were amazing… Twitter really is the next news source that mainstream media has no control over and can’t compete with when it comes to speed of delivery. I haven’t picked up the book but need to. Thanks for the review.

  • Jeremiah–good points, and interesting to bring up Shel’s first book, Naked Conversations, and realize how much has changed in a few yrs. Back then the focus was entirely on blogs, which were powerful but limited (in terms of their impact on companies). Now with platforms like Twitter you can truly see sweeping impact social media is starting to have on the way companies communicate…and ultimately do business. Twitterville captures this vividly through the human and business anecdotes and case studies. I talked to Shel about this as part of my blog review and Q&A, and came away more convinced than ever, like you, that this is an essential reference for the professional communicator. No matter what happens to Twitter–even if it’s swallowed up by a bigger fish–the lessons of how it developed, how it laid the groundwork for social communications and much more will live on. Twitterville is a great read.

  • FB_882660081

    I can’t wait to get my copy of Shel’s book. His approach reflects wisdom and will give the book a longer tenure I’m sure than it might have otherwise had the focus strictly been on the tools.

  • Mark

    Good point, it was interesting that the first major toolset was RSS and Blogging platforms. There’s been tremendous growth, some would suggest like the Cambrian explosion. Lots of new things being tested, created, and improved. In the end, the tools will fade into the background, and people will just, well, communicate.

  • Great review, makes me feel even more fortunate to be coincidentally in Toronto next week. I’ll be attending Shel’s Twitterville launch Tuesday night and look forward grabbing a copy of the book.

  • I can’t wait! The impact of ‘micro-blogging’ has brought social media to a peak. I do wonder what the next big thing could possibly be- it is such an exciting time to be involved with the Internet technology.

  • Jeremiah:

    Your review has me even more pumped up to read Shel’s book! I’ll get that chance starting next Monday night, when I’ll pick up a copy and hear Shel present in Ottawa.

    Bryan | @BryanPerson

  • Jeremiah,

    This is an accurate review. I had the pleasure of reading Twitterville recently, and was pleasantly surprised at how much I learned from it. One piece of advice I would offer those active on Twitter for some time and may not be considering this book is to not write it off because you think it is a Twitter primer and offers nothing new.

    Shel has done a fantastic job of writing a business book that reads like a story book. Beyond the tools, I think the most valuable aspect of this book is how Shel tells a story about the real world business outcomes in each of his examples. The focus isn’t on “how” to deploy the tools, but rather the “what” and “why” companies used Twitter, and how they benefited from it as a result.

    Your description of Twitterville as the Social Media Strategist’s Desktop Reference is spot on. If you don’t have a copy, get one!

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