Six Things You Should Read
On a couple of recent occasions, I’ve been asked to give advice to folks who were looking to get a Community Management job. One of the topics that tends to come up is reading material. There’s a ton of stuff out there about a varying range of social media marketing, community building and management, and so on. I wanted to share some of the reading material that I recommend to folks.
- Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julian Smith – This is a great book about community building online. If you’ve been doing that already for some time, there may be some overlap with things you already know, but I think that everyone has something to learn from this book. It’s also a good book to share with others in your company who may not “get” the whole community management thing. (Amazon)
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – I pulled a lot away from this book about applying epidemiology to trends. Essentially, it’s a discussion about how trends can become “viral” in society, and who plays what parts in getting them there. It’s a great read. (Amazon)
- Groundswell: Winning In a World Transformed By Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff – This was written by some folks at Forrester Research (or formerly there, anyway), and it has some good measurement discussions. I particularly liked the section where they outline how they determine if a new social outlet will be long-lasting or not. When reversed, I think it can be fundamental in helping to build a community that will stand the test of time. (Amazon)
- Fallout Fans: Negotiations over Text Integrity by Ryan M Milner – Milner wrote his thesis about the Fallout Community during the build-up to Fallout 3. It’s worth a read, and here’s a challenge for you: Make note of when he’s raising interesting and valid points, and when he’s letting his membership in that very community make him quick to jump to conclusions. I noted several spots where he made very common assumptions about the production side of things (ie. developers don’t care, or developers are lazy, etc). This thesis is available online for free here.
- Mashable.com – Read it daily. The site has a ton of great ideas, tips and tricks there, but it is largely marketing/pr biased. Some of the stuff is very high-level, and can seem obvious to those who are doing CM work already. But I still always find good stuff there.
- TRIBES: We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin. I’m generally split on this book. In whole, it feels a lot like a pep talk that says “People want to come together, and you can be the one who brings them together. So get to it!” It’s a good message, and it’s a good reenforcement for those already doing community building work. However, I didn’t find a TON of super-meaty things to pull away from it. That said, it’s still a good read, and a brief one. It’s great for a plane ride. (Amazon)
One last note, a little trick I learned from my wife, an avid, exceptional reader. I used to think it a crime to scuff book or fold it’s pages. I was missing out. Books are paper. Write in them. My wife told me to start reading with a pencil in hand, and now I won’t pick up a book without a mechanical pencil nearby. Write notes on every page, circle or underline things that you think you could apply to building your community. Fold down the corners of particularly useful pages. Maybe you already do this, but I sure didn’t. And since I’ve started to do this, I’ve been getting a lot more out of my reading.
If you have some great reading material that you’d recommend, let us know in the comments!
DISCLAIMER: I’m getting no kick-back from any of the above and none of the authors know me or asked me to write any of this.