Book Review Draft: The Tao of Twitter

Book review of The Tao of Twitter by Mark Schaefer

Structure & Content of book:

  • Easy-read, in the style of a “how-to” manual
  •  The Tao: the ‘way’ or path/principle
  • 3 Taos:
    • Targeted Connections: who you reach out to, with whom you connect with
    • Meaningful Content: quality of tweet > quantity of tweet
    • Authentic Helpfulness: authenticity & generosity can help form better and more effective connections
      • achieving the 3 Taos will help you succeed in networking and more importantly, in business
  • P2P Connections: Person to Person connections; be human

Key Concepts as related from the course to the book:

  • Technological Determinism : the way technology is “using us” (Baym)
    •  greater expansion in business, new connections, and social benefits may not be achieved if one doesn’t use Twitter.
    • Without Twitter –> mundane tweets would not have been created (“Go Steelers!”) –> random follower would not have replied to Schaefer’s tweet –> no establishment of new friendship –> no establishment of positive business relationship.
  • Social Capital: resources accumulated from interactions and social relationships (Elllison, Steinfield, Lampe)
    • Bridging–> using Twitter and following strangers can result in helpful resources (tweeting links, blogs, or videos)
    • Bonding–> tweeting @ at follower or replying a tweet, Direct Messaging, answering questions can help establish new connections
  • Media Mutiplexity: using multiple forms of social media to maintain connections (Haythornthwaite)
    • Latent Ties–> you can activate possible new relationships with anyone you’re following or is following you by retweeting one’s tweet, mentioning them, DM. i.e., replying to the “Go Steelers!” tweet
    • Weak Ties–> sharing useful information to your followers or taking advantage of others’ shared resources; infrequent communication
    • Strong Ties–> Schaefer emphasizes maintaing connections through multiple forms of social media: following each other on blogs, commenting, calling by phone, emailing, meeting in person
      • turning latent ties to weak or strong ties
      • take online connections to offline = stronger relationships!
  • Taste Performances: (Liu)
    • Authenticity–> Schaefer emphasizes in being authentic and “real”, being human
      • don’t be all about business & marketing, include mundane and everyday tweets so others can relate to you
      • being human also means helping others out regularly, answering tweets and replying to mentions ASAP; sharing interesting and helpful links
      • don’t invest in accounts with pre-made followers; gain REAL followers even if it takes more time
      • make sure your account/profile reflects YOU
    • Prestige–> importance of keeping your followers and profile cleanly sculpted and neat
      • clean out your follower’s list: delete or block any spammers following you as they may  negatively affect your outlook
      • follow others who appear similar to you or have similar interests
      • follow those who fit the description of your ideal targeted consumer

Audience:

  • People new to Twitter
    • lists guidelines
    • in the style of  a”how-to” manual
    • breaks down “technological” terms (hashtag, RT, etc) in easy-to-understand language
    • uses personal anecdotes
  • People looking for networking purposes
    • how to establish new connections
    • how to gain followers
    • how to maintain connections

Ethical Implications:

  • Don’t be overly forceful when marketing
    • don’t constantly tweet about your product
    • include more mundane topics so people can see you’re authentic
  • Be generous to others
    • be helpful in answering questions and providing help/feedback to others

Personal Critiques:

  • book doesn’t mention the downsides of using Twitter
  • doesn’t talk about potential risks of how others may interpret user’s tweets
    • Nightmare Readers
    • Negatives of Context Collapse
  • places responsibility solely on the user and not on the social platforms
  • only mentions following, seeking out, and establishing connections with those  who are SIMILAR to users
  • only promotes the advantages of Twitter usage
  • briefly mentions how Twitter is not for everyone, but doesn’t provide strong reasoning behind it
    • more like a, “use Twitter at your own risk” kind of precaution
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