Book Review Notes: The Tao of Twitter

A rough outline for my final book review on The Tao of Twitter.

I. Structure and Content/How it is related to our course concepts

  • Mark Schaefer shows his reader how Twitter can improve their life and  business through the formula or tao that he has identified on Twitter.
  • The author takes a technological determinist approach while discussing Twitter. I suggest that he employes this discourse since the author suggests that once you use this technology you will see certain effects on your business and life.
  • He claims that if people don’t know what they are doing on Twitter they aren’t grasping the “Tao” of Twitter. He places the blame of failure on the user not the technology.
  • His insistence on meeting his online friends in the physical world invokes the ideas about forming relationships and community on social media that we discussed. (Baym) (Donath &Boyd)
  • His emphasis on authentic helpfulness relates to the ideas of authenticity and honesty in online interactions. (Marwick) (Marwick & boyd)
  • The author’s ideas about content being the key to connections online echoes the ideas discussed in class surrounding taste and identity performances. (Liu)
  • Clearly, this author would disagree with Clemons’ ideas about the difficulty of monetizing social networks since the author promotes the importance of social networking for his business success.
  • His argument for creating a targeted following seems to reinforce Boyd’s idea about social networking sites serving as echo chambers for most people. (Can Social Network Sites Enable Political Action?)

II. Audience

  • The book is targeted toward those who are trying to learn how to use Twitter. His definitions of key terms and practices on Twitter are extremely helpful.
  • It is also targeted toward those who wish to use Twitter for business purposes/marketing.
  • By targeting this audience, the author fails to address the other ways people use Twitter.
  • Also, his discussion of Twitter practices are fairly basic since it is meant to be a guide for beginners.
  • The book feels like more of a manuel rather than an analysis of the technology.

III. Ethical Implications

  • This book does not address any ethical implications of social media and marketing.
  • I believe the author actually overhypes the positive outcome of marketing your business on Twitter since he fails to discuss the concepts of context collapse and nightmare audiences.


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