Liveblogging a Conversation about Reading Twitterville
Yesterday, I receive a review copy of Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods by Shel Israel. I started to read it beside the Country Club of Woodbridge swimming pool and thinking about how best to review the book. I'm only thirty pages into it so far, so I'm not ready to write a more traditional review.
However, one of the key points, at least in the beginning of the book is about how we are moving from an era of broadcast to an era of conversation. Twitter is a great tool to join into a conversation that may apply to your brand, your life, or anything else you want to talk about. With this in mind, I thought that it might be interesting to write a different sort of blog post, sort of like carrying on a conversation about the book and perhaps even like live blogging it.
So, I may have assorted posts up on Twitter about reading Twitterville. I'll also take time to share random thoughts about the book as I read through it.
This isn't a completely new idea for me. A while ago, I was rereading Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon. As I read it, I wrote blog posts about the places he had visited and what I could find out about them now via the Internet. You can read those posts in the Long Blue Tail section of my blog. Some point, I hope to return to this.
Meanwhile, back in Twitterville, the first thing that I noticed is that so many people are referenced by their twitter handles. If only to get a good list of interesting people to follow on Twitter, this book is worth it. I'll mention some of them in subsequent posts.
Shel starts off the introduction to his book by talking about when James Buck was arrested and posted that single word in Twitter. Arrested. It can mean to be taken into custody by the authorities. Yet there is another meaning to the word arrested. It can mean to stop. The moment that James' tweet reached Shel, through a serious of re-tweets, it seems to have stopped Shel in his tracks and caused him to rethink his views about Twitter. That is a great thing about Twitter. Through your network of friends you are likely, if you are open to it, to stumble across tweets that stop you in your tracks and make you think. To me, this is a good thing.
Joining the Conversation
As I noted above, an important focus about this book is on the conversations that take place within Twitter. Mr. Israel is a journalist who understands the responsibility of putting information into context, into a story that people can understand. I look forward to some of the stories that he will be telling. He also puts the nature of conversations into context as he talks about The Cluetrain Manifesto as a key book in getting people to think about the marketplace as a conversation. It made me think of all the discussions back in 2003 and 2004 about post-broadcast politics. Shel applies this to business and I look forward to seeing where he goes with it.
Twitterville examines the inefficiency of traditional marketing. It argues the case for using social media instead of ads. It argues that from a business perspective, Twitter is the most effective tool yet delivered into the growing arsenal of social media tools.
As I read this, I thought about the various Digiday events. I would love to hear Shel speak there.
The History of Twitter
One thing that always causes me to pause is when I stumble across comments about how Twitter Inc was formed in October, 2006. My first tweet was in October 2006 and I have to go back and double check, did I in fact tweet the first month they were incorporated? Yup.
Shel also does a good job of talking about how Twitter started, where the team came from and capturing some of the development ethos.
So far, I'm enjoying the book. Anyone else have a review copy and want to join the discussion? Do you have thoughts about what you've read about the book, either here or other places? Let me know.