“Social networking newcomers: Munch on this book like you would a good snack.”
Reading face2face is a bit like having a conversation over your backyard fence with a neighbor who has a wealth of self-taught knowledge about social networking. Except you can’t get a word in. It is a book after all. Or you can write a book review.
The author, David Lee King is the Digital Services Director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. As touched upon above, there is the sense that much of Mr. King’s knowledge is self-taught. But then again, in today’s fast-moving online world, virtually every Internet expert is to a great degree self-taught out of necessity, tracking the daily changes in social networking, search engine optimization, and new tools to assist with all this, not to mention maintaining a compelling website and loading it with actual, relevant, timely content.
Mr. King’s writes in a distinct voice. Yes, he is that easygoing neighbor over the fence. In fact the voice in the book seems to be a model for what Mr. King recommends as one’s social networking voice: “conversational language,” whether for a low-traffic blog or in promoting products of a major manufacturer. Even for videos Mr. King recommends we “remove formal language.” And this advice is echoed by numerous social networking professionals.
For a social networking neophyte, this book is a fine introduction, covering how to integrate one’s use of blogs, images, video, Facebook, Twitter, etc. He also provides frequent examples to emphasize his points. And he suggests how to obtain buy-in from decision makers who may not see the value in social networking.
And for those who know squat about social media, the messages about “voice” and networking etiquette that suffuse the book will resound.
But face2face does not provide an extensive description and analysis of each tool. Rather, it provides many of the basics, suggests a number of tools with which the author is familiar to optimize one’s use of social networking venues, and above all provides a feel for how to social network.
And so, if you know nothing about this topic, you are off to a good start. Indeed, for a beginner, a truly detailed technical book would require so many pages that its audience would be overwhelmed.
It obviously follows, therefore, that for one already well-versed in social networking, looking to meaningfully deepen one’s knowledge of the topic, face2face is a book to skip. Like any book on Internet techniques, even knowledgeable experts who social network for a living will jot down some new resources that were not on their radar. But that’s not enough to recommend this book to anyone other than a beginner.
To the author’s credit, face2face is virtually devoid of self-promotion—an anomaly among Internet books of this ilk. It seems rather that Mr. King simply has great passion for his topic and is bursting to share his wealth of knowledge to help others begin to use social networking effectively.
And his obvious enthusiasm will be infectious for the right reader. When you close the cover on face2face, you will likely find David Lee King quite a likable sort. You may even find yourself emulating his voice as you enter the daunting new world of social media.
Finally, while the book addresses any sort of online presence or venture, it is primarily focused on enterprises that are not entirely virtual—whether a manufacturer or a public library, such as the author’s employer. Newbies who are building an entirely virtual online business might want to join social media experts in bypassing this book. There are other books better targeting that space.
Social networking newcomers: Munch on this book like you would a good snack. Everyone else, find a title that better targets your more advanced needs.