When Gail Martin wrote 30 Days to Social Media Success, she decided to include a chapter on a social network site most people probably never heard of, aka “Squidoo,” among other outdated tips for a generation that is so socially savvy it is considered domesticated. The book gives an overview of how to use the top social media sites to revamp or launch a small business, startup or individual company in just 30 days. Martin takes Nancy Baym’s social shaping
approach by stating, “Use your marketing strategy to provide valuable content in support of your business goals…and limit the number of social media sites to those where you can actively participate,” reinforcing the idea that both personal experience and technology contribute to each other’s success (Martin, 60). When I read the book, I had to skim through many of the chapters because they described how Facebook works, or what a #hashtag on Twitter means, which leads me to believe that it was meant for an older audience that doesn’t really understand how social media works or what it can be used for. In other words, my parents would learn a lot from this book, while I would yawn after the first two pages of the introduction.
One of the main things that stood out to me which I discussed with #teamOReo, is Martin’s discussion of the power of the “true voice” (48). She mentions the significance of having an authentic personality consistently heard on all social network sites, which is similar to Hugo Liu’s description of the authenticity taste performance. Yes, it’s great to be authentic and be yourself and all that nice stuff, but ironically, she isn’t doing that on her own social media pages. She simply tweets about her new published works without interacting with anyone else who RTs or @replies her. What the heck is that about? Not to mention the fact that she hasn’t backed up any of her arguments and 30-minute-a-day tips with examples from companies she has helped. Who exactly is reading this book and getting good results?
In her defense, Martin does explain how to create a social network profile on page 42 that can help others, but her mention of retweeting (the old-school way), using Digg, and of course Squidoo, is once again outdated much like danah boyd’s Tweet, Tweet, Retweet article. New sites like Instagram and Pinterest have taken over the social media scene, and should definitely be considered when creating a social media marketing plan. These are the types of sites that will attract a young audience demographic and shape a business’s type of consumer. One of the main problems of writing a book about social media success is that it is never guaranteed because it is most likely outdated.
When mentioning the reasons for using social media, Martin notes that you can “reconnect with old colleagues, friends, neighbors and associates to broaden your active circle of contacts…take advantage of all the free information, education, and competitive intelligence at your fingertips” (20). In Donath & boyd’s Public Displays of Connection, the same reasons are given for why to make strong and weak ties on social media. Martin agrees with the authors that weak ties can be useful when finding opportunities to learn and broaden your network while strong ties are always beneficial when you need the advice or favor of a close friend or colleague. Facebook and twitter are particularly good examples for strong and weak ties respectively, though Martin later mentions Linkedin and other tools to add to the mix.
Martin starts off one of her paragraphs with “Words to the Wise: Be Careful Out There.” She continues by explaining, “What you post…lasts forever and is potentially searchable” (Martin, 113). This relates to one of the main themes of our #CSMT2012 course, in terms of the ideas of privacy in the digital space and searchability of content that boyd discussed in her guest lecture. Ironically (once again), Martin says that you should post content that will show you in your best light as a credible source that people can trust. Hmm, sounds like a good plan, but why hasn’t she done just that? It seems as though more people are looking at their privacy settings and going through their Twitter & Facebook feeds to make sure their friends didn’t troll them with embarrassing content. Employers especially are just looking for that one drunken picture, or 3-am tweet to take an applicant off the candidacy list. Why some girls choose to openly flaunt their grotesque pictures may be a feminist statement, but it is definitely not recommended if they want to be viewed in a good light by others, according to Martin. Martin raises some good points throughout her book, but unfortunately she does not convince me that her methods work simply by how she presents her ideas and applies them to her own social networks.