Note from Beth: I got a review copy. I read the book. It rocked. I was going to write a review and do a book giveaway, but I stumbled upon Wiser Earth blogger Angus Parker's excellent review. If you'd like to be eligible to win a free copy of Tamar's book, leave a comment explaining why your nonprofit's community rules and your secrets to success in marketing on the social web. And, if you want to participate in the Nonprofit Social Media community, WeAreMedia, there's a Webinar next week - more here.
We have read a lot of books over the last year that aimed to be the "go to" source for understanding Social Media. Finally, one stands out. Here we review, 'The New Community Rules' by Tamar Weinberg - probably the single most important book to read this year if you are involved in marketing your organization or cause on the web.
Practical, readable and accessible to those just getting starting out in this area, 'The New Community Rules' is sure to become the social media "bible". It starts off with a brief introduction to what social media is, follows with how to set goals, gets into the specifics of what to do, and finishes off with how to measure your results.
Tools touched on include: blogs, microblogging, social networks, social bookmarking, social news, Q&A websites, photography, video, and podcasting. At the end, there is a nice 'Ultimate Social Media Etiquette Handbook' that spells out the dos and dont's of using some of the more popular social media sites. Some points specifically stood out for me. First, Tamar makes it clear that you need to pick and choose which tools to focus on based on your goals and target community - something strangely absent from many other social media books. Then she goes further by spotlighting niche sites that cater to specific audiences, making the point that you can get a lot more exposure with a lot less effort if you use them.
WiserEarth, for example, would fit into that category. Second, she goes into a lot of details on what she calls 'Informational Social Networks' like Wikipedia, Mahalo Answers, and Yahoo Answers which get a lot of traffic and can generate significant ongoing referrals. Finally, since I've never really been able to understand StumbleUpon, a social bookmarking service that we use to great effect at WiserEarth, it was a revelation to read the description in the book. If you have any feedback for Tamar about the book, she is collecting it on her blog: http://www.techipedia.com/contact. Also, you could just drop her a line to let her know how useful you found it. Besides this book, we recommend a number of other social media "must reads":
- We Are Media - a community effort lead by Beth and NTEN to put together an online curriculum for nonprofits using social media. Since its a wiki and frequently updated it won't be obsolete like a book!
- Mobilizing Generation 2.0 by Ben Rigby - a nice summary of social media tools with specifically tailored strategies for the activist / nonprofit community.
- Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky - an oldy (in social media terms) but a goodie, this book is filled with great stories that illustrate the power of social media. It's a helpful frame for starting you web 2.0 exploration.
For More Information on 'The New Community Rules' see: Publisher's website
Angus is the Program Director of WiserEarth. He blogs at http://blog.wiserearth.org on successful community building. WiserEarth serves the people who are transforming the world. It is a community directory and networking forum that maps and connects non-governmental organizations and individuals addressing the central issues of our day: climate change, poverty, the environment, peace, water, hunger, social justice, conservation, human rights and more.