I was privileged to attend Shel Israel’s recent book launch party in honor of his upcoming book launch Twitterville. After reading his first book, Naked Conversations, that he co-authored with technology evangelist Robert Scoble, I was looking forward to what was coming up next. Since I’ve been living in San Francisco, I’ve had a chance to interact with Israel multiple times both online via Twitter, email and even in person at various events throughout the Bay Area. So I wasn’t going to pass up on this chance to read another one of his books – this time on a familiar subject: Twitter.
Twitterville is a recounting of the history surrounding the community of passionate people who use the microblogging application for personal and professional reasons and have become successful as a result. Shel Israel has done an incredible job showcasing companies and individuals who have thought of Twitter as something more than simply (and literally) posting responses to the infamous message “What are you doing?“.
The book has an exceptional forward written by Altimeter Group founder & co-author of the book Groundswell, Charlene Li. From there, the tale of the Twitter community begins with a simple word: Arrested. That’s where the book was first conceived when Israel followed along with James Buck during his brief, yet tragic incarceration in Egypt by the police. From this point, you’re led on this historic voyage through the creation of this unbelievably successful startup that has amassed a huge following of millions.
If you’re looking for a book about how to use Twitter, then unfortunately this book isn’t for you. This is probably one of the better business books that focus on how Twitter has become an important part in the communication scheme. Just look at how the sub-header on the cover: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods. It’s a book that shows us case studies on how companies and individuals used Twitter to extend their reach out to the masses unlike anything they’ve done before.
Like I mentioned before, Twitterville is filled with case studies. You’re going to be able to read up on what small and large businesses have done and what results they have achieved. Shel Israel focuses on brands like Dell, Comcast, United Linen, Sodexho, Evernote, Starbucks, Zappos, StockTwits, crowdSPRING and many more and looks deep into Twitter usage. Whether it’s for recruiting, crisis communication, feedback, or simply talking to customers, these brands have been doing something right. Now you get to look at what they’ve done.
The chapters are a great read. They’re not too long, but definitely not too short and pack a lot of information in them. It’s surprising that it’s not a bigger book because of how Israel acquired some of this information.
During the writing of this book, requests for case studies were often tweeted out by Israel asking for people’s experience on things like personal brand, company perceptions, fundraising, conversation and much more. Many of those who submitted their information for the book have been included – which makes this truly a book from the Twitter community – a Twitterville, of sorts.
Twitterville covers many of the hot topics that have hit the social media community like a tidal wave. Israel brings a straight-forward and paints a complete picture on issues such as “Motrin Moms“, “Comcast Sucks”, the terror attacks in Mumbai, the Sezchuan earthquakes in China, the Miracle on the Hudson and the Twestival global event. All of these events and issues have been communicated to the public in some way and Twitter was partially responsible for that coverage. This is why you need to read Twitterville. It’s going to enlighten you as to how critical it is to understand the power of this microblogging tool. You might be sick and tired of always hearing about “Twitter this” and “Twitter that” but rest assured, you’re not going to be tired of reading about it from Israel’s book.
You’re looking for a business book? Interested in social media and wondering how it’s applicable in a more commercial setting? I’m suggesting that you go get Twitterville when it comes out September 3 by clicking here. Be a part of the community. Be a part of the global neighborhood.
Disclosure: I am a contributor to Twitterville – I submitted a story to Shel Israel and it is featured in the book.