A Biggs Eye re-View: Twitter Power by Joel Comm

New book a timely cure for the “Twitter jitters”

By Adrienne Biggs

Twitter PowerIt’s gotten to the point where, if you’re not “on Twitter”, you do not exist. How did this phenomenon take root so quickly? Why did it catch on so fast? How can book publicists use Twitter to enhance their business or those of their clients? 

If you’re still unfamiliar with this powerful new communication tool—or if you want to leverage what you already know about Twitter—I recommend a new book that can help you step onto this brave new platform: TWITTER POWER: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time( Wiley, April 2009), by one of the world’s leading experts on online moneymaking strategies and New York Times bestselling authors Joel Comm with Microsoft veteran Ken Burge.

In the foreword, peak performance coach and author Tony Robbins explains that Twitter Power “teaches us how we can use technology not only to correspond, but also to connect.” As publicists, “connecting” continues to be our #1 job and Twitter “gives us the freedom to experience the depth of relationships” and helps us “achieve and sustain an extraordinary quality of life—a life of meaning.”

In the preface, Joel Comm illustrates that we are living “in a time where ordinary citizens are empowered to be conduits of information to the masses like never before,” and provides as an example the news of the Mumbai shooting tragedy being blasted to the public first by regular people on the scene via Twitter (not CNN, NPR, or The New York Times). 

The book’s 14 chapters address issues like Why Social Media Really Is a Big Deal, Getting Started the Right Way, Twitterank and Page Rank, Tweet Etiquette, Tracking Results and Testing Strategies, Legal Considerations, and Putting It All Together. A chapter on Third-Party Tools such as TweetDeck and Twitterific, plus a list of Power Twitterers and Directory of Twitterers, is also included. 

The most important chapter explains how to find and build up “followers” using simple as well as complex strategies (chapter 4, page 67).  The vital message is that while every message—or “tweet,” as they’re called on Twitter—is public, if no one knows you exist, no one will know to read your posts.  Then once you find followers, you must learn how to keep them (see Rewards for some ideas on how to do that, page 82-84).

If you still have your doubts and write off Twitter as the latest fad, it may be reassuring to know that since 2006, Twitter has been embraced by forward-thinking companies like Apple, JetBlue, Whole Foods, and GM—and people like Obama and hundreds of “verified” celebrities and best-selling authors—who have discovered the instant benefits of leveraging the social media phenomenon to reach consumers or fans directly, build their brand or reputation, and increase sales or awareness of an idea or product. Predicting a frenzy related to the Twitter learning curve, Wiley wisely included in the book a free, 4-week social media webinar (a $197 value) which, it turns out, is also available via twitterpower.com/workshop

For the newbie, or the publicist who doesn’t want to sound like one, TWITTER POWER is a valuable book on a hot topic. I appreciated the clear and encouraging tone as well as the author’s candid support and criticisms of Twitter, for example, related to Time Zone (page 38): “Because tweets describe what you’re doing now, time is important…If a tweet is a day old though, the time stamp refers to the time the tweet was sent based on the time zone the follower entered on the settings page. I think that’s a bit confusing…I think this is one that Twitter got wrong.” 

Personally, I would have preferred a paperback first edition, and I’m wondering if readers will invest 25 bucks in a book whose subject cannot possibly stay relevant for very long when the subject matter is evolving almost daily. But Wiley is always ahead of the curve, so if they haven’t already, I’m sure they’ll come up with a way to offer the next edition as a download, e-book or as subscriber updates via email or, best bet, via Twitter! Now that would be cool. 

Twitter is a valuable addition to the media landscape; it’s a potent new “engagement” platform with a powerful message that we cannot afford to avoid.  And TWITTER POWER is a valuable addition to the Twitter bookshelf: it warmly invites us to embrace this new communication tool, welcome it into our lives and our businesses, and see how we can make it work—for us.

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