Introduce Clients to Social Media With a New Book from O’Reilly

“What is Twitter, anyway?” I’ve been asked questions like that many times, as I’m sure most web workers have. “The Social Media Marketing Book” by tech writer Dan Zarrella, attempts to explain Twitter, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Second Life, Yelp, and even such sites as Rate My Professors.

The book is divided into sections on blogging; Twitter and microblogging; social networking; media sharing; social news and bookmarking; ratings and reviews; forums; and virtual worlds. In each section, Zarrella provides very short descriptions of leading web sites in the particular category, together with quick discussions of how they work, and how businesses could benefit from using them.

The book’s author dedicates it to his grandparents, which is appropriate, since this is the sort of book that I’d give to someone older and less computer-savvy. It sometimes gets a little technical for this audience, but the writing style is clear and friendly.

The book feels like a bit of a departure for O’Reilly Media (who kindly provided the book to me). I tend to think of O’Reilly as publishers of dense software and programming manuals. I was amused to note that the book is listed in O’Reilly’s catalog as “First Edition.” The book will need updating frequently if it’s to stay relevant — some of the screenshots are already out of date.

“The Social Media Marketing Book” is a little book. At 239 8″ x 6″ pages (in paperback or as an e-book), with lots of illustrations and white space, the content is frankly limited. But it’s well-organized, easy to understand, inviting to flip through,and approachable. I doubt that many WWD readers will learn anything new from this book, but it might be useful for lending to clients, family and friends.

How do you explain social media to clients?