I just finished reading The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. In full disclosure, I have not read one other review of this book. I deliberately stayed away from Amazon during the pre-launch because I wanted a clear and completely objective experience with the content of the book so my review was purely my own and not influenced by other thought leaders.
That said, here is my review.
As the title implies, this is a great book for anyone who is already using social media for business. Guy and Peg share a plethora of useful resources for those readers who are interested in updating their social media game. I wouldn’t consider myself a power user of social media yet, but this book affirmed that I am definitely closer than I thought.
The authors provide some pretty nifty tricks to save time and expand reach using popular platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. For example, I liked the little part they shared regarding how to add four images to a Twitter post. I also appreciated Guy’s direct and straightforward tone throughout the book, making it clear to readers that social media isn’t going away anytime soon so why not join the party. It’s the way a lot of business is getting done these days and frankly, you’re missing out on opportunities if you keep your head in the sand.
I also liked the chapter on feeding the content monster. I wrote a blog post two years ago about my prediction that this kind of content monster would indeed rear its ugly head for everyone at some point. That day has indeed come. Fact is, content these days is one of the primary drivers of how business gets done. An entire industry has been created around the need for creating, managing, and delivering great content into the marketplace, with no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. Guy points this out consistently throughout the book. Might as well learn how to do it right.
Another pro of this book is its length. I downloaded a copy of the pre-launch proof to the Kindle app on my iPhone and was able to get through the manuscript in about an hour. That included bookmarking key pages with ideas I wanted to return to. Like so many other busy people these days, I appreciate brevity. Guy and Peg definitely deliver in that arena.
Finally, the book is loaded with great resources for readers to reference. If readers choose to read the digital version, active links to these resources are but a click away.
There are a few things that fall in the cons department. One of them is this book is not for social media newbies. I know, I know — the title clearly states their target reading audience is “power users.” We all know that people being people, there will be folks who get this book in spite of the title because of Guy’s and Peg’s excellent reputations. This is why I imagined myself as a newbie as I was reading. Content creation and social media are overwhelming enough on their own; for people who are new to the social media space and content creation, this is not a book for getting started. It is, however, a valuable book to have on the shelf for when the time comes to ramp up social media usage and campaigns and enter the power user status.
While there are some great tips on setting up social media accounts for the first time (i.e. choose a decent photo of yourself to use as an avatar vs. a selfie by the beach with an umbrella drink), most of what Guy and Peg share in this book is for mid to advanced level social media users. I would also point out that Guy’s frank tone could be perceived as offensive to some readers who don’t understand the big picture context of social media Guy has moved in for the last several years. Referring to people as “idiots” because they don’t do things the right way on social media isn’t far off the mark — that classification may put off some people, though (and perhaps that’s the whole point 🙂 ) because…
to his credit, and in this author’s humble opinion, there is a lot of bad behavior online. Negative examples are always a terrific teaching tool of what not to do.
Another minor thing I would point out is the book’s title is misleading. I was under the impression that the “art” of social media this book is referring to was along the lines of how to create and ramp up the use of visuals on social media. After all, Guy is a self proclaimed evangelist for Canva, a visual content creation tool out of Australia that is really awesome. I was an early adopter of the tool and continue to be a faithful user. Based on that correlation, I was excited about what this book’s title implied it would be about.
As it turns out, visual content and visual content creation are mentioned, but this book is more about the art of using social media in general rather than a directive on creating and using visuals on social media.
Going back to Canva for a moment — I was surprised that this book’s cover did not have the signature Canva look those of us who love Canva have come to expect. I think they could have done something really incredible using Canva to create their book cover, and I’m not sure why they didn’t?
Overall, The Art of Social Media is a timely book that will serve a population that wants to get some cutting edge and practical how tos related to this new social media world in which we all live, whether happily or otherwise. Given how quickly tech moves these days, it’s hard to say how relevant some of the resources will be in a year or two, but Guy does a solid job of anchoring the narrative in timeless human behavior principles of classiness, generosity, and integrity. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to review it in its pre-launch phase, and I would give this book a solid 8 on a scale of 1-10. Finally, I definitely will recommend it to people in my circle who can benefit from Guy’s and Peg’s experience and teaching.
Photos used courtesy of The Art of Social Media Book Promotion Team