Social Media Book Trilogy

While there are SO many social media books appearing, there are three books on social media that are must read for anyone approaching this as a career or program for their job. What’s interesting is to see the evolution of though as they slowly become part of corporate culture.

The first one was the Cluetrain Manifesto, which was written quite a few years ago. This book is about radicals changing the world, and it uses language that really is something you would expect to see on bumper stickers in Berkeley. It’s a ‘grab you by the collars and wake you up’ type of book that suggests major changes are coming to the world, yet arguably, these changes are happening slowly. It’s available online for free, and if you only have time to read one major section, read the 95 Theses. Secret: I actually printed those 95 theses and dropped them on the desk of marketing managers at Hitachi who were resistant to change –it may have worked.

The next book is Naked Conversations, which focuses on how one specific technology is the change for the culture of corporate communications to change. The timing of this book is what is key, as it moved slightly from the radicalness of cluetrain and gave early examples of how some individuals at corporations were adopting these tools. This book marked the milestone of early efforts of corporations, small companies and individuals and really proved that “hey this is happening”. As you know, I’m close friends with both of these authors, Shel was a mentor, and I ended up working with Robert. At Hitachi, my director gave me budget to buy over 60 copies which were distributed around marketing –and I purchased many more.

Although I’m biased, Groundswell marks the start of a new wave, as corporations now have a process, methodology, and framework to approach social computing. It leads with data, forces companies to have an objective. This book represents a practical response and answers to many corporations that are hesitant “here’s how we do this based off understanding data –and tying to business objectives” I was one of early copy readers and was credited for providing a small amount of input in the book, I know both authors very well, and live, and preach the methdology to clients. This book, and what it stands for, was part of the reason I decided to join Forrester.

Bundle these books up, buy all three, and send as Christmas presents to executives and decision makers in your company.

What’s next? The book that’s missing from this series is one that can show a transformational change among the entire enterprise (beyond marketing) among dozens/hundreds of companies and show how communities change business forever. I’d expect it to have clear ROI and measurement, as well as show budgets, processes, roles, and program management.

I know there are many other great books on this topic, but these reflect my personal preference as a “corporate +social media” focus, feel free to leave comments of other books you reccomend, and why.