If you (or your boss) find yourself confused, apprehensive or unsure about delving into the world of new media, then Now Is Gone is for you.
Communications professionals are in the middle of a tumultuous period. The Internet has done more than just change the way people buy goods or play games; it has changed the way many people communicate, form connections and build communities.
This new environment undermines one of the fundamentals of traditional 'public relations' - the tightly-controlled message. It forces organizations to listen as well as speak. It forces them to engage rather than preach.
These changes are daunting, for not only do they force us to re-examine the way we communicate, but they come wrapped in terms like "web 2.0" and "new media" rather than what it's all about - people. Social media is all about conversation, engagement and communities.
That's where Now Is Gone comes in.
- An introduction to social media, its benefits and its increasing importance
- Whether your organization is new media ready, and some of the challenges you may have to overcome
- Some of the principles behind engaging communities through your social media effort
- Some of the common social media tactics you can use
- How social media may develop in the future
- Some fantastic interviews with social media pioneers
For me, a particular strength of the book is that it doesn't automatically assume that you should market your business using social media.
I've found that a lot of people fall into "shiny new object syndrome." Instead, Livingston challenges the reader, asking questions like whether they are ready to relinquish control of their message, whether their audience is ready and whether they can dedicate the necessary resources.
Of course, the hope is that the answer is "yes," and the rest of the book works on that assumption, but this is a critical piece to the puzzle and one that is often overlooked.
Livingston's concluding chapter summarizes seven very powerful social media principles:
- Relinquish message control
- Honesty, ethics and transparencies are musts
- Participation within the community is marketing
- Communication to audiences is an outdated, 20th century concept
- Build value for the community
- Inspire your community with real, exciting information
- Intelligently manage the media form to build a stronger, more loyal community.
Ironically, Now Is Gone's main weakness is also one of its biggest strengths - its length. The book's brevity means that, while principles are frequently backed-up with case studies, they are not as detailed or convincing as some executives may like to see.
This is not a "how to" book. It's about the "what," not the "how." Fear not; this is a strength. By focusing on what leaders need to know, Livingston avoids getting bogged down in techno-babble and jargon and steers readers through an break-neck primer that's ideal for busy executives.
As Livingston writes, "Now Is Gone is not meant to teach business owners and marketing practitioners how to execute all of these tactics... Now Is Gone means to provide you the information necessary for intelligent leadership..."
Job well done, I say.
Now Is Gone is available through Amazon. Check it out.
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