Book Review: Social Media 101 by Chris Brogan, Wiley Publishers, 2010

Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) is the President of Human Business Works, an online education and community company for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs and is the author of Trust Agents as well as Social Media 101, the book we are reviewing today.  Chris has over 11 years of experience in the digital space of online marketing and blogs frequently about the intersection of social media and business.

Social Media 101 is a small book full of “tactics and tips to develop your business online.”  It consists of 87 short chapters, essays, or blogs, depending on your definition.  These are quick reads and perfect for when you have 5 extra minutes between meetings or projects and want to get a little education in your day.  Because of its structure it took me over 6 months to get through because I kept it by me picking it up and putting it down again and again.  I didn’t feel I had to sit and read through it at one shot and that felt refreshing.  I could take these in bites instead of having to down huge gulps of data and information in a limited period of time.  I think that is also the reason why so much more of that data and information actually stayed in my head.

A lot of the tips and advice that Mr. Brogan offers can be applied to many issues relating to running a business, leadership, and being human in this digital era.  His writing style is casual with an underlying humorous vibe (sometimes irreverent).  He reminds us of some very obvious things, but we need reminding – like comment on other blogs and learn to politely say no to recoup some of your most precious commodity – time.  But don’t fool yourself.  The lessons in this book work, and just in time for the holidays!

I’ve listed some highlights/excerpts below – but one of the most important from my perspective is the first one (can you see why?)

  • The project should be blessed at least once by legal.  (pg. 259)  (I would say more than once – but then again, I am an attorney)
  • Supercharge event experiences to improve leads.  (pg. 12)
  • Contribute to others’ projects and be useful.  (pg. 14)
  • Expert (someone in control) vs. adviser (someone in a relationship with a client) (pg. 38)
  • ROI = return on influence (pg. 41)
  • We should be able to make something happen by way of the media we create.  (pg. 42)
  • Social media enables: creativity, creation, communities of interest, and culture.  (pg. 44)
  • Two very important skills = curation and editing (pg. 49)
  • Make sure you are explicit about how you want to see your work used or shared by others.  (pg. 50)
  • Halo 3 and Tweetups are the new golf courses and country clubs.  (pg. 59)
  • Audio and video connect people much more powerfully than just the printed word.  (pg. 73)
  • Do your best to promote other people.  (pg. 102)
  • The purpose of meetings is to involve more than one person in informational alignment (pg. 143)
  • There’s what you take to be reality and then there’s what you make to be reality.  (pg. 148)
  • Definition of value: the ability to deliver and receive information, to help, and to further development (of networks, information, capabilities).  (pg. 159)
  • Connect.  Connect.  Connect.  Help people find each other.  Connect people with other people as often as you can.  (pg. 160)
  • Links are a very important piece of Internet currency.  They are the currency of attention.  (pg. 171)
  • Don’t try to be a one-note experience…Don’t whittle yourself down to a simple footnote.  Be complex, colorful and interesting.  (pg. 235)
  • What’s your willingness to experiment, take risks, and adjust your plans?  (pg. 255)
  • People want information.  People want simple.  People want connection.  (pg. 269-270)
  • Everything requires customization, depending on your industry, goals, and interests.  (pg. 288)
  • The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.  (pg. 303)
  • Great things are erased quickly when you mess up.  (pg. 315)

Have you read this book?  What are your thoughts about Brogan’s ideas?

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