Book Reevyou Ruff Draffed: Six Pixels of WHO GIVES A…

Lordy Lordy Lordy, I really didn’t dig this book. This wont be how I start my review, btw, just thought I’d give some “blog-gy” style exposition on this rough draft before posting some more boring bullets and notes.

This book is like, so bad, though.

I mean, not just in its content. Honestly, if I ever wanted to start a low-tier, soon-to-be-bankrupt online business this book may be of some value. Also, if you’re 100 years old and saying the word “blogger” is as silly as speaking Chinese to you..then maybe you will get some pleasure out of this read.

OH BUT NOT ME.

Am I allowed to say “douche-bag” on here? Cause THIS GUY looks like a total douche-bag, and while I shouldnt judge a person (OR BOOK) by its cover, I can instantly tell, MERELY BY THE FACT THAT ON SOME LEVEL HE THOUGHT THIS PHOTO WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA, that he and I are on COMPLETELY separate wavelengths.

But blah blah, I’m sure he’s really nice and the photo was his agent’s idea or something yeah yeah. But still, very disheartening.

I want to talk about a book by Pierre Bayard called “How to talk about books you havent read.” It is a KILLAH book, and really changed my entire perspective on reading, knowledge, language, life, love, sex, death, rock & roll and so on. I think his theories, although not discussed in our class, are extremely relevant and intellectual when doing an actual book review. Here’s a snippet of what he has to say, or…er…how I am going to say what he says:

In college I read a book called “How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read” by Pierre Bayard, in which he dissects the process of reading and tries to figure out what it truly means to read in the context of culture and the human experience. He argues that reading is not just acquiring knowledge or acquainting oneself with a text, but rather it is the inevitable process of forgetting. “If after being read a book immediately begins to disappear from consciousness, to the point where it becomes impossible to remember whether we have read it, the very notion of reading loses its relevance since any book, read or unread, will end up the equivalent of any other.” Taking Bayard’s theory into consideration, it seems like books really don’t matter if you eventually forget every last shred of their content. So, does it matter if what we read is fact or fiction if eventually we’re going to forget all about it? Is there ever a reason to tell the truth in writing if your words will only live in someone’s consciousness for a fleeting moment in time and then be forgotten?

As someone who considers himself pseudo-intellectual, this idea really gets my brain all in a frenzy and I think, conceptually, it has a place in any writing about a text.

As far as class readings are concerned, I think Liu’s take on taste performances and the type of statements we make is a great understanding of the cultural behavior. It doesnt REALLY relate to our book a lot, but I want to play up the subtle connections between theory and “practice” (but this book isnt really “practice”…really).

I also think some SMALL case-studies of brands that use social media well (like we did in class) would be nice to compare to the book and see what advice the book gives that they AREN’T using. (for the lolz!)

 

Book Review Notes/Draft

Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel

-Seems like he’s writing to people who discount the internet/social media as effective marketing tools
-simple ideas, but repetitive (know your audience, know your goal, know your reach)
-page 5 (it’s now about time invested, not money) — is it really?? kind of false hope.
-Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is.
-true, pretty common sense
-but it’s nice that he goes into how to monitor what Google says your brand is
-but I wish he had done it then, not a number of pages later (~pg 60)
-concept of mutual assistance
-”community is the new currency”
-it almost feels like he’s throwing out catch phrases
-I don’t necessarily agree w/what he says that “one opinion quickly turns into everyone’s opinion (21)

-stresses trust in our participatory culture
-also don’t agree that we’ll trust Sally from Carefree Arizona over NYTimes Book Review
-they give different perspectives and contribute in different ways

-nice that he brings traditional advertising and communications tactics and just shows them in the online world adaptations (page 28)
-very basic — defining things like a blog and podcast without really saying how to use them
-pg 32 “digital marketing is about being slow” — keeps expectations realistic
lol “digital marketing is not a one night stand”
maybe useful making it personal? in social terms? i don’t know.
no shortcuts to success
-explains how to build trust
titles are self-explanatory (choose one user name, one photo, be consistent, add value, respond)
-the way he says make responding your “one golden rule” (41) — it’s like it’s a basic book teaching cultural norms (just in this case, it happens to be online)
-i like that he says the website need to be clean and easy to navigate above all else — again it’s so basic but i guess it needs to be said

-not about control, about volume of your voice
-money does not equal volume of voice (yeah but it helps?)
-democratization of the media
-cool to think of the internet as a real life focus group
-random thing about real world meet ups — felt out of place in this book? like the unconference…

-the personal brand is like the deeper trust we extend to our immediate family (125-126)
In this digital age, your personal brand will be your most powerful ally (or enemy). (127)

-he had the catchy phrase “six pixels of separation”
new book control alt delete

-just having a blog is not enough to save your business
-also the examples he used weren’t really helpful
-from the very start he’s still using six degrees of separation — the internet makes it easier to connect to people but you still have to go through that degree,that person (emily kaufman)
-he says to broadcast the real you, you have to be yourself online — trust economy
-his examples were often off focus (radio head example, didn’t make a point, inconclusive results

Six Pixels of Separation rough draft review

In Six Pixels of Separation, Mitch Joel attempts to persuade and wrangle a generation of social media neophytes to the business side of social media.  Specifically, he aims to highlight the benefits of using the internet and various social media forums when being used in conjunction with business and entrepreneurship.  His “how-to” guide is predicated on his notion that “the traditional channels of marketing, communications advertising and public relations can be costly and prohibitive to some businesses” and believes that more contemporary tools of social media are more effective than those traditional channels.

However, what could have been a useful “how-to” guide lost itself in repetitive platitudes and became a mere transcribed motivational speech as the book continued. In the first chapter Joel expresses the six social needs that get fulfilled by social media:

1.)Online social networks provide people w/the ultimate tool for defining and redefining themselves

2.) Autonomy, recognition & achievement are essential to our self-worth & are fulfilled in online communities.

3.) People have a need to seek help and provide help to others.

4.) Online communities help people find people “just like them”

5.) A sense of belonging or affiliation alone is not equivalent to a true sense of community.

6.) People want to be reassured of their worth and value, and seek confirmation that what they say and do matters to others and has an impact on the world around them.

^These are the types of lists Joel rattles off that sound great when somebody is talking but then after reading are hard to put to good use.  It seems obvious that social media helps people have a need to seek help and provide help to others.  I know that the audience of his book is not me or probably anybody I know. I understand that his audience is one, possibly two generations older than I am, a generation that didn’t grow up with the internet and social media and so don’t find it as intuitive or essential to their career path as somebody my age might.  However, just because his audience is older, and perhaps a little tech-challenged, doesn’t mean they’re completely brainless.  Repetitive platitudes can only go so far, and I think where Joel falls short is his concrete advice.  For example, one of Joel’s 6 ways to build a strong community was “build ripples, not splashes” a pretty metaphor that encouraged future internet/social media users to try to generate powerful conversations (ripples) about their product, but failed to express how they should.  No offense to Joel, but that’s not exactly a unique piece of advice; building positive conversation about your product, brand or idea is useful whether it’s online or off.

In fact, that’s the problem with Joel’s advice: it’s inherently contradictory.  He spends his time trying to cater to an audience that he thinks is afraid or just too proud to embrace social media, but can hardly engage them in the promises the internet has to offer when he offers advice like his 5 C’s of entrepreneurship (Connecting, Creating, Conversations, Community and Commerce) none of which have anything to do with the technological business age that we live in.  In fact, it would have been better for him to use more technical jargon and include tedious steps of creating groups and instructions for what makes a good online profile rather than ambiguous over-arching themes like “create” and “connect”…his audience has most likely “created” or “connected” in the physical world, their problem is that they don’t understand how to do it in the online realm. He’s merely preaching to the choir, not giving them advice they can utilize.

 

Review of Six Pixels of Separation – Draft

Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel asserts on its cover: “Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business To Everyone.” Overall, it is a book directed at entrepreneurs and business owners. Joel maintains this direction by consistently beginning sentences with things like “As an entrepreneur yo understand…” (8) and “Your company’s newest challenge is…” (93). More specifically, I feel that the intended audience are entrepreneurs and business owners who are unsure or unclear on the role of social media in the business world.

Joel’s book is essentially an Internet business playbook and aims to provide a foundation of Internet strategy. Joel suggests that the Internet is full of consumers and that ones potential consumers are there ‘raising their hands’ (.

I found Joel’s book to be an informative, but perhaps overly simplistic, presentation. This, however may be appropriate to Joel’s intentions for the book which is to convince readers of the importance and value of having a presence on social networking sites. This results in a simple presentation of ideas and concepts. This notion was reminiscent of the digital divide we have seen before in class; these entrepreneurs are perhaps less knowledgeable about SNS due to age or geographical location.

The structure of the book is easy to navigate, very clear and organized. The book, however simplistic and basic the presentation may be, covers a lot of ground content-wise.

Some of the most interesting points and aspects of the book I found in his writing are:

-our economy is now driven by time vested rather than money vested. Creating a presence online takes time and effort not money. (5)
-the idea that a brand is what Google or a search engine says it is (16-17)
-user generated content is taking over: mass media –> mass content (143)
-rise of the “me” media, all digital netizens can carve out their personal brand or niche. (178)
-the importance of mobile web access, “digital nomad” (234)
-importance of ettiquite: being responsive, saying thank you. As we discussed in class this makes people more likely to reach out and engage. (41-42, 210-212)
-the importance of authenticity, community and trust as we often discussed in class (166)
-finding your niche and using what your passionate about (180)
-the  clarity and structure of the book allow for a quick read while grasping his ideas

Some negative points of the book are:

-depending on reader it may producer false hope; makes it sound overly easy to find success for a business through SNS.
-some examples are rambling or not applicable to most small businesses ie) free hugs story, Radiohead example
-outdated: it mentions Myspace and other insignificant SNS while not mentioning key ones like Twitter, Facebook and the newer Pinterest.
-also related to it dating from 2009, competition for business on SNS and online in general may be steeper; most businesses are present and breaking in and  competing with them may not be as clear-cut as Joel suggests it is in 2009.
-for someone rather knowledgable or informed of the online presence and SNS it may seem redundant and lack specificity at time.

Basically, I found the book appropriate to our purposes. Many of the people who did not like it in class need to bear in mind that it is not directed at us – most of us are Media majors and all of us use these mediums daily.

Blog 4 – Book Review: Six Pixels of Separation

Very Rough Draft:

– Mitch Joel was directing his trade book, Six Pixels of Separation, towards people who think social media is a joke; those who don’t understand the internet and those trying

  • However, I don’t think he catered to them very well; extremely confusing terms and convoluted concepts
  • Offered them false hope that by merely writing a blog, they’d be able to help their business
  • However, it is inspiring. It makes people think they can really do it. If I weren’t an avid social media user I would feel capable after reading his book

–       Major point(s) of contention: Tells you what to do but not how to do it

  • He described exactly what a blog was, but not how to make one interesting or traffic worthy (didn’t discuss layout, content, language, etc.)
  • He did say it starts off rough, but that traffic will eventually come and that’s not necessarily true
  • He didn’t explain how to respond to negative responses on social media sites; or how to deal with backlash – merely focused on the communicative opportunities offered via SNS

–       Technological Determinism

  • You cannot just make a blog or SNS profile and garner results
  • Also, simply having and using these tools doesn’t mean you will instantly connect to your consumers or target demographic

–       His claim, “This new economy is driven by your time vested and not by your money invested” is so wildly WRONG

  • Running a business is always, let me repeat, ALWAYS(!) about money; having SNS as a business isn’t just for kicks, or as Joel seems to think just to connect to consumers, it’s to drive sales and enhance (and enhancing or jeopardizing credibility) your brand
  • Also, NOTHING IS FREE; just because the platforms are free doesn’t mean that using them for your business will be a penniless venture
    • Realistically if you’re using SNS for a business, you’ll probably have to hire a social media team to express your company’s language and messaging in an appropriate way
    • You will also most likely need to buy analytics software to disseminate information
    • A marketing team is still necessary to create campaigns and help garner site traffic

–       SERIOUS POINT OF CONTENTION: This was written in 2009 and yet fails to mention Facebook, Twitter, or make much mention of YouTube (even though he discusses “viral videos”)

  • He almost solely focuses on blogs and blogging, but doesn’t even make mention of where to make a blog or how to start one (no mention of blogspot, wordpress, HTML coding, etc.)
  • These are the sites businesses should be using to reach the most people and drive the most success, but they aren’t even mentioned

–       The poor structure of the book

  • The content was extremely repetitive, I can’t count the amount of times he said the title of his own book….we get it……pixels.
  • Didn’t seem to have any sort of structure, seemed all over the place from bizarre case studies and loosely fitting conclusions

–       Speaking of pixels, his theory is still promoting the theory of six degrees of separation

  • Sorry Mitch Joel, you’re just calling degrees pixels…
  • What he’s saying is that the Internet makes us closer, and more connected but it might have been more appropriate to say 3 degrees of separation instead of pixels
    • His very first example trying to display this pixilated connection was a story about how he went in for an interview with his future publisher and noticed the man was wearing young girls’ socks and then was connected to the maker of the socks who worked in the same building as his publisher…those are connections of the physical world and don’t accurately display his major point
    • The point he’s trying to make isn’t lost on me; we are more digitally connected and that is certainly true. But this connection has just decreased the degrees of separation, not increased the pixels