Tropical rain forests have been felled for trite tomes on Social Media hyperventilating how “everything is different”.
People are still people.
Rather than look for a book on “How To Snapchat”, I seek insight from great thinkers around sociology, behavior change and influence.
The below list of books was compiled with much input from the global [email protected] team with a view to helping people not so familiar with social media understand what is happening.
1. Not surprisingly, one of the most recommended was a classic written before the advent of social media: Robert Cialdini on Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
Influence, the effect that one person’s actions have on others, is a key element to thinking about social media. Cialdini identified the key drivers of influence before Facebook was born. His principles remain true today, though the tools have evolved. This is my desert island book for social media.
2. Also in an older vein, in my discussions with SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg about the roots of his company’s mission, he cited Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Published in 1970, it is an excellent guide to the operational sensitivity that social media can bring to companies.
3. For a more recent book, danah boyd’s It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens offers a great view into how teens are using social media. Historically, they have been early indicators of the direction social media takes. Among her insights: The Facebook era of social media (open sharing) may have been an anomaly as people move into more private networks.
4. Although a bit dated, I still think the The Cluetrain Manifesto echoes today. The core idea – “Markets are Conversations” – was well ahead of its time and still stands up. Last week, two of the original authors updated their work with New Clues.
5. As companies move towards telling stories across social media, they have an ever greater need to understand the principles of memorable stories. Chip and Dan Heath’s Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die is a great guide to storytelling. Good book for anyone looking to create compelling content, from journalists to content marketers.
6. People behave irrationally, but predictably. What are the triggers and touchpoints that allow us to identify what is Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions?
7. Signaling theory masterclass: Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate
8. Former Facebook product designer Paul Adams, an industry superstar, wrote Grouped: How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social web
9. Clay Shirky, a leading thinker based at Columbia, wrote Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. All of his work is worth a read.
10. You could argue that, in the sweep of human history, the era of Mass Media was an abheration sparked by the steam press and electronics. Humanity is now simply reverting to the norm, thanks to the Internet and social media, according to Tom Standage in Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2,000 Years
Rounding out the list for some bonus books are:
Which book would you add to this list?