Twitterville – A Book Review

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I was fortunate enough* to receive an advance copy of Shel Israel’s – Twitterville recently. The premise of the book is an examination of how businesses (of all sizes) can thrive in the digital space with the micro-blogging tool – Twitter. This is Shel’s second outing as an author, after co-authoring the highly successful book, Naked Conversations with Robert Scoble. After completing the book, I felt strongly that Twitterville was the spiritual successor to Naked Conversations.

If you are looking for a book about how to use Twitter, then unfortunately Twitterville is not designed for you. In my opinion, this is a key strength and helps to separate it from the many other Twitter books already available. Shel’s book contains a number of case studies on how individuals and companies have used Twitter to extend their reach out to lots of people, unlike any tool that they have probably used before.

The case studies featured within the book describe, how both large and small businesses have successfully used Twitter to connect to wider audiences, and the interesting results that they have achieved. Companies such as Dell, Comcast, Evernote, Starbucks and Zappos are all featured among others. Shel does a great job of sharing the insights that each company has learned during their own Twitter experiences. The chapters make great reading and contain a good blend of content versus size. Shel interviewed many people for the book, and I’m surprised at how he managed to keep the book’s size so relatively small!

My only criticism of the book is that Shel often presents an overtly positive Twitter story, while passing over some of the negative aspects of the service. For every positive contribution, there are hundreds of examples of random chatter or shameless promotion. However, Shel does present a chapter that does detail the effect spammers. Therefore, at times the book can appear to be a little one sided. Putting this point aside, if you are looking for a good business book, and are interested in how social media can be applied within a practical commercial setting. I would highly recommend that you buy Twitterville. The book is sure to become a great classic.

My good friend, Steve Clayton sums up the book with a great quote, which you can find on the back cover.

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I couldn’t have put it better myself!

Twitterville is available to order from Amazon here.

*With thanks to Maureen Cole at Portfolio


Author: Jas

Jas Dhaliwal is a highly experienced International Social Media Strategist. Currently working as AVG Technologies, Director of Communities and Online Engagement, he specialises in building and engaging with social communities across the web. Born and bred in London, he is passionate about technology and social anthropology. Prior to AVG, Jas launched the social media program for Microsoft’s MVP Award program. Jas holds a BSc (Hons) in Information Systems and has an MBA from Brunel University in London, England. You can follow Jas as @Jas on Twitter or on Google+

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