on 25 September 2010
The premise of this book is that individuals and businesses will benefit greatly from tapping into the wealth of social media channels that are now available.
As someone who works in digital marketing, branding and communications, I took a punt on this book given how important these strategies are going to be with the explosion of social media. It's the second book I've bought on the subject, the other being Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (which I picked up in a Borders store for next to nothing before it shut down). I've been left hugely disappointed by both books, and more so by Six Pixels. There is nothing new in the book, which covers the usual tools such as blogs (the author loves these), videos (You Tube), viral marketing, connecting and conversing via the internet, etc etc.
And this, for me, was the biggest issue I had with this book: what the author has written about isn't new and has no details - social media tools and channels are being used all the time. And if you want to read/learn about them, you're better off looking them up on the Internet. The book gives the impression it's going to cover some ground breaking techniques, but ends up "sounding" like a bad salesman selling timeshares.
The author makes it sound that by following everything he says in the book (from setting up a plethora of social media tools to holding impromptu conferences/exhibitions) you'll have a brand and a reputation that will rival Coca Cola and Apple. The reality is, people and businesses don't have time to run multiple social media channels (and then monitor and evaluate them) AND respond to every customer/blogger/critic/commentator that writes about their products/services - unless, of course you either (a) have a large marketing team around you, or (b) write a digital marketing blog (like the author). Taking time to set everything (social media channels) up and then being able to manage them are critical to both individuals and business - something not covered in this book.
Other flaws in the book include:
1] From start to finish, hardly a page goes by when the author doesn't mention the name of his book, his business (it's on the cover for a start), or his blog. Given he's a marketer, I've put this down to sheer blatant self-promotion. It became very annoying to read "at [insert blog/business name] I see......"
2] The book is geared more for the North American market than the British/European ones. I can say this with some confidence given that I've spent a lot of time in America and Canada. The language, the style, the format are all geared for a North American market. Also, some of the suggestions and advice provided aren't techniques that would work particularly well in Europe - must there be a blog about everything? Do we really need to connect with every single person that comments about us/our companies?
3] The book could be a third of the size if the author hadn't waffled on for so long.
4] The examples of success stories are (strangely) North American and are all the same. "Person sets up blog, person connects with people, person/business is a hit". Again, very little detail to the processes behind the success.
5] It's odd in places: do we really need to know that we should always record thoughts and ideas on a notebook??? The book does lurch from social media in a business setting to social media for individuals.
So, overall, would I recommend this book? No. You can find everything that is written in this book online - type social media strategies/social media tools/social media channels into any decent search engine and you'll be presented with hundreds of blogs and sites that go through everything that was covered in this book - for free! Try the Mashable and/or The Wall Blog websites.