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Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods [Hardcover]

Shel Israel
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 Jun 2010

Unlike other hot social media spaces, Twitterville is dominated by professionals, not students. And despite its size, it still feels like a small town. Twitter enables people to interact much the way they do face-to-face, honestly and authentically. One minute you're complaining about the weather with local friends, the next you're talking shop with a colleague based halfway across the globe.

No matter where you're from or what you do for a living, you will find conversations on Twitter that are valuable. Despite the millions of people joining the site, you'll quickly find the ones who can make a difference to you.

Social media writer Shel Israel shares revealing stories of Twitterville residents, from CEOs to the student who became the first to report the devastation of the Szechuan earthquake; from visionaries trying to raise money for a cause to citizen journalists who outshine traditional media companies.

Twitterville features many true stories, but it also recounts those of ordinary business people who use Twitter to get closer to their customers. And it explains how global neighborhoods will make geography increasingly irrelevant.

It even explains why people sometimes really do care what you had for lunch.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; First Printing edition (24 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591842794
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591842798
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 688,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Shel Israel is the US bestselling coauthor of Naked Conversations.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Twitterville: 140 Characters In So Many Words 22 Nov 2009
Maybe I was looking for more of a Lonely Planet-type travel guide but...

I'm more a regular visitor than inhabitant of Twitterville and was hoping for a quick read that would show me some new neighbourhoods and teach me about how to make more of my time in this frontier town.

Whilst I certainly found many of the examples useful, I thought the book overly-long and presented in a style that didn't match the subject at all. Now, I wasn't expecting everything presented in 140-characters-or-less Twitter messaging but did anticipate more of a series of sharp insights rather than the often drawn-out anecdotes that Shel Israel favours in this book.

It took me a couple of weeks to wade through this book and I returned to it each evening with dwindling enthusiasm.

I'm of a generation that still enjoys the more traditional book format and yet I found this a tiresome read. I wonder what my younger colleagues will make of it.
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Yes I would, and I think I'd probably want to own the pub on the corner ;-)

Disclosure: I contributed to the book.. page 262\263.

@ShelIsrael is a great, well respected guy; his blog posts have great insight and his Twitter stream is diverse and one of my (@SoulSailor) favourites and, assuming he ever makes it over to England, I can't wait to have a few pints and talk about twitter and life at an "English pub" in Rugby ;-) just like he promised!

Firstly, let me make it clear that book reviews aren't my thing... I read, I enjoy and I move on so be warned!

This is a book that you absolutely need to read if you're not sure about Twitter, your just dipping your toe in or if you wanna know the hows and the whys...The book is in three main sections... a kinda "how it started", "what people are doing" and a sort of "beginners guide".

For me, Twitterville is a positive journey through the characters and impacts that Twitter has had since its inception. Some have said in previous reviews of the book that it's too positive, well Twitter is what you make of it and I think that Shel does a great job showing what is possible to achieve with the platform..

The sub-title of the book is "How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods" well absolutely yes they can, but it's clear that although a positive book, Shel makes no bones in the stories he tells, as to how freaking hard it is, the dedication, innovation, foresight and determination that one needs to succeed, but the platform is there, the villagers are waiting to hear what you've got to say, you just need to bring to Twitterville the catalyst, that's what is key!

I'm not going to comment on the last section of the book.. this is clearly aimed at the newbie..
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book on Twitter Available ! 5 Sep 2009
By R. Morales - Published on
I live in Silicon Valley and thus I am exposed to many new emerging technologies and with them the usual parade of so-called gurus and experts who parade around acting like a bunch of techno divas. A friend sent me an invite to a book signing event called Twitterville. I was interested in going yet a bit reluctant lest I encounter the typical fare of pseudo geeks too young to understand the internet's impact on society and too arrogant to admit their own shortcomings. So I decided to attend anyway and drag my reluctant wife along who did not like twitter and thought it was a mass of frivolous chirps from the socially incompetent in our society.

I made it a point to observe the book's author Shel Israel and witness his interactions with the people who stood on line to get their copies signed. I notice his warmth and authentic interactions with people on the line and to my amazement he engaged them in conversation. No made up smile and next, no rushing. He was enjoying interacting with people and sharing their perspectives on twitter. The line was growing longer so I decided to buy the book. I thought that someone as engaging as this, a true listener would have insights on Twitter that I may be interested in reading.

I was not disappointed. I purchased the book at the Twitterville event and I have been enthralled ever since by his brilliant insights and observations. The book reads like a fine novel with the story telling prowess of any of the best in the fiction genre. He recounts without adornment the way people have used Twitter in real life situations. He weaves the tales of twitter user wield it as a new weapon against the biggest most dangerous bureaucracies in America, Corporate behemoths, such as the airlines and retail establishments who have long ago ignored their customers who they treat as mere objects. He is careful to show how some corporations such as Dell have begun to use Twitter to serve their customers and build traction for their product introductions and on-line venues.

We are now hearing the new buzz words: real time web, anytime anywhere Internet, and most recently groundswell, a term coined by Charlene Li who along with Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research, released a book with that name. Groundswell is becoming the most important book in this emerging genre. Charlene Li wrote the forward for Shel israel's Twitterville. In it, she says "Twitter is not a technology. It's a conversation". If this is true, then Shel's book will become the pioneering work that shows how the groundswell of people building relationships with each other will be the turning point in human communications on this planet. These conversations will begin to define how we respond to our world and how we begin to assert the power of people to make true change sustainable.

So please read this book. After you read it pass it along to your friends and get others to realize the magic of the twitter phenomenon for themselves. if you were as impacted as i am , please tweet about it. The author's twitter handle is @shelisrael. Let him know as well. He will respond to you. If you appreciate this review, you can follow me on twitter as well. My handle is guarionex88. I write about subjects relevant to emerging technologies such as WiMAX, Google wave, Apple's iPhone and most recently Twitter.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for any business that wants to leverage Twitter and doesn't know where to begin. 30 Nov 2009
By Ross Kimbarovsky - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Twitterville is different from the many Twitter books that have been published since 2007. This difference makes Twitterville a must read for any business that wants to leverage Twitter and doesn't know where to begin.

Here's why: Twitterville offers an outstanding insight, through case studies, into the different ways that individuals and businesses (large and small) have successfully leveraged Twitter. Importantly, even though it seems silly to talk about history when discussing Twitter (after all, Twitter is only 3 years old), this history is important because it shows the growing shifts in social activism and the increasing voice that loosely organized "groups" have gained when using Twitter to respond to marketing campaigns (and missteps) launched by brands. This history also shows that cultural norms - even for a 3 year old social network - continue to radically shift. What was acceptable in 2007 and 2008 (or if not acceptable, at least not visible) is met with criticism and anger in 2009.

Why should you care how others have leveraged Twitter? You should care because missteps on Twitter can create publicity nightmares for brands (and individuals). And while some brands even now continue to stay silent on Twitter, Shel correctly reminds us in the final chapter that: "Chances are that right now, there's a conversation going on in Twitterville that can impact what you do for a living."

Think about that for a moment. Historically, brands (mostly through agencies) closely guarded and controlled conversations about their products or services. Social networks have changed this dynamic, and Twitter has led this shift. Through case studies, Shel shows how big brands (including Dell, Jetblue, Comcast, American Airlines, U-Haul) and small brands (including Seesmic, StockTwits and my company, crowdSPRING) reacted to these changes (some leveraging the opportunities to strengthen their brands, while others failing miserably and tarnishing their brands). While there's still a great deal of confusion about how companies can fully and sincerely use Twitter, there's little doubt that some brands could benefit from interacting with their customers on Twitter.

If you're not interested in business case studies and stories, Twitterville has plenty to keep you interested. For example, Shel writes about how individuals - including, among others, Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) and Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) - have built personal brands using Twitter. Other chapters cover Twitter's impact on journalists, politicians, and charitable fundraising, among other topics.

This isn't a how-to book. Those looking for a list of top 10 things you can do to increase Twitter followers won't find such a list in Twitterville. However, those looking to understand how to succeed (or avoid failure) on Twitter will learn much from reading this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Practical Use Cases are Priceless 21 Nov 2009
By Douglas Karr - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Shel since he wrote Naked Conversations. That book was a book that motivated many of us in the marketing industry to begin shifting our focus to social media. It personally motivated me to leave database and direct marketing behind and set a goal to work in social media full time. I now have my own agency, DK New Media, doing just that.

Twitterville is a logical extension of Naked Conversations. It's well-written and digs deep on how companies have used (as well as haven't used) this new medium to their advantage. Twitter, whether you like it or not, is changing the world. People are thinking and reading in 140 characters or less. Companies are beginning to listen and open their doors to Twitter. The results are amazing and Shel has documented all of the amazing stories in a single volume... Twitterville.

This book is a must read for companies who "don't get" Twitter. It's a must read for Marketers who want to effectively use Twitter. And it's a great read for Twitter business users - providing them with priceless information on how to leverage the medium. Kudos to Shel for writing such an amazing book - the best book to date that I've found on the strategies behind Twitter!

Twitterville + Twitter for Dummies is the power combination for developing and executing strategies utilizing Twitter! Must reads for every business.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stories About People Behind the Tweets 18 Oct 2009
By Mark D. Drapeau - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Shel Israel should be proud of this book. Unlike other Twitter books (and other social media books) that are more like how-to manuals or guides for beginners, this book gets at the stories of people using Twitter - why they used it, how, and what happened. I know many of the people and stories in the book, and I still learned details and nuances that I didn't know before. For the casual tech reader, the burgeoning journalist, the marketing pro, and the sociologist all, this is a great tale.

When I give talks about new media, I'm fond of telling people that even if you memorized a how-to book about Twitter, you still won't know anything about Twitter, because a lot of it is about street smarts and experimentation and trial-and-error. Twitterville profiles people that have been through the trials-by-fire, have succeeded and failed, and generally have shared their knowledge - and indeed their lives - with audiences through this fascinating new technology.

You can also read a little about me in the book: I'm @cheeky_geeky!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read for those wanting to better understand Twitter 25 Sep 2009
By George W. Godfrey Jr. - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I literally fell in to Twitter when I attended PodCamp 3.0 in San Antonio, Texas. This awesome event gave me my first exposure to Twitter and the instant impact that it can have on customers. I've been trying to learn all that I can about Twitter - this book gave me background, gave me a better understanding of Twitter, the impact, and benefits. I literally couldn't put the book down. I read a great deal and this is a classic. Well thought out with great insight to the phenomena of Twitter. Thanks Shel!
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