Six Pixels of Separation Book Review Draft

Do you still use AOL? When someone mentions a “tweet” does your mind immediately think of that little yellow bird and the rest of the Looney Toons? Have you ever found yourself lost in a conversation full of “likes” and “tags”? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation might just be the book for you!  In it, he takes his audience of entrepreneurs who have little to no experience in the social media world through a journey of its importance to help them make the jump and better their businesses.
If you’re still operating your business in 2012 without the help of any social network sites because you don’t see the point in them and you need several hundred pages of convincing, this book is definitely for you.  Unfortunately, if you don’t fall within that realm, you might want to pick another title.  In his book, Joel is certainly effective in explaining conceptually why social media is an useful and necessary marketing tool, but he fails to explain enough of the how.  

  • Baym’s social shaping approach – how technology and society interact w/ one another; how to bridge on & offline realities
  • audience = affects his ideas because he is teaching them conceptually how to use SM & why (explains sites somewhat but not specific how tos)
    • remember digital divide
  • ethical: addresses the importance of community w/ social media → trust, honesty, realness, valuable content
    • emphasizes that credibility is everything [build everything by being credible] – have open forum with clients – no false claims
      • digital darwinism favors community, not creator/enabler of content → traffic does not equal community, attention does not equal trust – be helpful, be sincere
    • ethics of linkbaiting → don’t create content just to create it b/c of credibility
    • build a strong community – faith based initiatives, viral expansion loops
    • connecting does not equal engaging – be responsive and fast
    • give consumers tools to improve brand; adapt w/ consumer
  • what is book missing?
    • false hope? not as easy as it seems to be successful with it and build a following → he tells them ~digital marketing is about being slow – real results take time~ but creates an incredible idealized view as you can’t be sure that it will ever happen – not that simple to get people on board (but he is just trying to get them involved…)
      • suggests as long as you’re committed, you’ll get some return → investment [emphasizes value over #
  • good/important points
    • personal brands nowadays have size, power, aud, influence to rival corp brands – everything to do w/ business
      • you are media; your personal brand = most important ally – can’t fake passion/sincerity  [false…. online…]
      • find your voice, don’t let it fade
    • your community def exists → become a part of it – find your niche
    • “your brand is not what you say it is…it’s what google says it is” → search defines you!!!
    • online channels  = free publishing = build own channels
    • need a website, NOT a luxury anymore
    • everything is online forever – watch what you say and do


Gail Martin’s book, 30 Days to Social Media Success, aids those unfamiliar with social media technology in their quest to create a successful online marketing and advertising platform. It is mostly geared towards small business owners who want to take the step into social networking and gives a very general outline of how they can do so quickly and effectively: Martin provides instructions on how to create a Facebook page and other various simple steps towards a social media savvy existence. The book seems very outdated and geared towards people who know almost nothing about social media (which today, is very uncommon). Martin provides some productive advice and guidance but for the most part does not effectively cultivate a good understand of social media in regards to business strategy.

Throughout her book, Martin sticks to the acronym RESULTS: Recommit, Expect success, Seek partners, Understand your audience, Look for win-win scenarios, Take strategic action, and Stay visible. She encourages her readers to harness the power of social media sites by taking advantage of its results and casting a wide net by meeting new people and reconnecting with old colleagues and friends.  One thing Martin is sure to emphasize is the importance of having and maintaining a true voice and real story to create authenticity. This ties into Liu’s theory about taste preferences and social media—Martin is supporting the authenticity taste preference as the most influential.

For a very uninformed or inexperienced person, this book might seem extremely useful, but it is most likely very few people would get much out of Martin’s advice. One of Martin’s suggestions is to allocate a thirty minute segment to social media each day in order to use it effectively and to its full potential. It is very important for a business trying to market themselves with social media to be extremely active, but thirty minutes a day is hardly enough. Businesses who want to reach out to their clients and partners should use their social media regularly throughout the day to respond to questions and concerns and to update their audience with the latest news. Another lacking feature of Martin’s book in personal anecdotes or examples of successful social media marketing. For an audience that knows so little about Facebook and Twitter, example and/or pictures would probably be extremely beneficial.

Another major flaw in Martin’s writing is her lack of distinction between different social networking sites. She kind of treats each site the same and making few distinctions between them all. In actuality, Linkedn is extremely different than Twitter and should be handled very differently, especially for any type of business. Specifically, sites like Twitter and Facebook should be monitored and updated on a very regular basis while sites like Linkedn do not need as much attention. Each site also has a different target audience. Linkedn is for older professionals while Twitter is geared towards a younger, hip crowd.

What Martin really fails to address is how to handle social media marketing after her suggested thirty days. Longevity with social media is very important especially since so much advertising and marketing depends on the capabilities of social networks today. Her readers are left wondering what do to with their Facebooks and Twitter after a short month. It would have been beneficial for Martin to include some suggestions on how to maintain a strong, enduring presence and how to cope with upcoming changes and developments in social media.

Gail Martin provides a good introduction to social media marketing and use for small businesses, but it is very general and limited. She fails to address many important issues and strategies when utilizing social media sites and leaves her reader with a far too basic understanding of social networks. Her words might have been more effective if she only discussed one or two specific sites in depth, had included specific examples and personal anecdotes, and gotten a younger person’s perspective on the world of social media.