The book I read was 30 Days To Social Media Success: The 30 Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIn, and Facebook, by Gail Z. Martin. In her book, Martin tries to teach how a startup, a speaker, an author, or any other independent entrepreneur can create a successful social media presence in as short as 30 minutes per day for 30 days using her RESULTS approach, which stands for Recommit to marketing, Expect success, Seek partners, Understand your audience, Look for win-win situations, Take strategic action, and Stay visible. Sounds easy right? The book starts by talking about basic marketing do’s and don’ts, and only later touches on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, various blogging sites, and bookmarking sites, while explaining the “anatomy” of each site, and how should one use it to better his/hers social media presence. Each chapter tells the reader what he/she should accomplish each day, and in the end of each chapter there is a reminder of the RESULTS approach, and exercises to further help the readers reach their goals. This book, according to Nancy Baym’s four major social media discourses of new technology would fall under the social shaping of technology approach, since Martin writes about this co-production between what technology allows users to do and what users want to use it for, but also under the technology domestication approach since this book assumes that everyone is on social media.
One thing about the RESULTS approach stood out to me as being somehow unattainable— “Understand your audience.” It is every marketer’s wet dream to have a perfect understanding of his audience. However this is a very hard thing to attain. As Alice Marwick and danah boyd write in their article, today we are faced with what is called an “invisible audience,” we simply don’t know who is exposed to our messages and is viewing our profiles and social interactions. We all have an “imagined audience” that we construct in our minds to whom our messages are directed to, however who we imagine our audience to be is not always the case. Moreover, as Eszter Hargittai points out in her article, “even once people go online, differences exist among their online pursuits,” which makes this process even harder. We can think that we know who we are targeting and act accordingly, nevertheless we could be horribly wrong and face what is called “context collapse,” where people from all of our social circles are exposed to the same message that we have decided to put out there, which could lead to devastating results, and some advice on how to avoid that is lacking. Martin also has an entire chapter about finding your “True Voice.” In chapter six Martin gives tips for finding this elusive “True Voice.” Tips? To find my “True Voice”? Aren’t I supposed to know it myself? How can someone tell me what my “True Voice” is? That is defiantly not authentic. After all we are all performing, offline and online. As Hugo Liu writes in his article, we each play a role and present different taste performances depending on the “stage” we are performing on. Out of Liu’s four taste performances which include prestige, authenticity, theatrical, and differentiation, we might not fit perfectly into one, but Martin suggests that authenticity is the best policy. However, if this book is about selling yourself and your product, maybe your “True Voice” can fit a different taste performance depending on the different social network site you are on.
Martin is a bit outdated, she writes about websites such as Digg which is probably in Heaven.com, and about sites like Squidoo which I have never heard of, and so did non of the other 50+ people I asked. There are newer and better websites which can provide better exposure. If you have an interesting book or a very unique product why not do an AMA on reddit? Or if not, stick to the successful familiar social network sites like facebook and twitter, and new ones like Instegram and Pinterest. Lastly, I don’t think anyone can create a substantial and successful social media presence in just 30 minutes a day, especially on so many platforms. That is simply impossible. Moreover, if you are independent and run your own business you probably don’t have extra time to allocate to building a social media presence. Do yourself a favor; hire someone like me to do this for you.
This book might be helpful for people who have never encountered social media, or for people who still call the internet the World Wide Web, like my grandmother. But for people who grew up in this technological savvy society and are well versed in social media, this is a complete waste of time. Was the book easy to read? Yes. Was the book informative? Kind of. Will I recommend this book to others? Well, depends on whom, but mostly no.