Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business

A fascinating, research-based look at the impact of social media on businesses and consumers around the world, and what’s in store for the future

Social Media. You’ve heard the term, even if you don’t use the tools. But just how big has social media become? Social media has officially surpassed pornography as the top activity on the Internet. People would rather give up their e-mail than their social network. It is so powerful that it is causing a macro shift in the way we live and conduct business. Socialnomics charts this shift from the forefront.

Brands can now be strengthened or destroyed by the use of social media. Online networking sites are being used as giant, free focus groups. Advertising is less effective at influencing consumers than the opinions of their peers. If you aren’t using social media in your business strategy, you are already behind your competition.

  • Explores how the concept of “Socialnomics” is changing the way businesses produce, market, and sell, eliminating inefficient marketing and middlemen, and making products easier and cheaper for consumers to obtain
  • Learn how successful businesses are connecting with consumers like never before via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media sites
  • A must-read for anyone wanting to learn about, and harness the power of social media, rather than be squashed by it
  • Author Erik Qualman is a former online marketer for several Top 100 brands and the current Global Vice President of Online Marketing for the world’s largest private education firm

Socialnomics is an essential book for anyone who wants to understand the implications of social media, and how businesses can tap the power of social media to increase their sales, cut their marketing costs, and reach consumers directly.

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3 Responses to Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business

  1. David M. Freedman

    ‘Socialnomics’ Sounds Explosive, But Is a Dud Qualman insightfully advises companies to patiently build relationships with customers through social media, rather than instantly getting a customer’s name and e-mail address into its database. “Good businesses realize that it’s not all about the instant win of getting someone into a database,” he says. “Rather it is cultivating that relationship via social media. If it’s done correctly, you will have a relationship that lasts a lifetime.” Throughout the book he tries, but doesn’t quite succeed, to show how to “correctly” cultivate such relationships.Another insight: He says on page 111 that marketers will need to create content (news, entertainment, and how-to information, for example) for their websites, not just advertising messages.Unfortunately, insights like those are few and far between.Qualman’s platitudinous premise is stated in the introduction, and again in the conclusion: “It’s all about the economy, stupid. No, it’s all about a people-driven economy, stupid. If anything, I hope that you have learned this from reading this book.”(In the introduction, Qualman explained that the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid” was coined in 1992 by James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign manager. Qualman merely “adjusted” that phrase to create the book’s alleged premise.)After reading the book, I still don’t have the slightest idea how the “people-driven economy” differs from “the economy.” Or what the adjusted phrase means.This book is full of superficial anecdotes and miniscule case studies, platitudes and generalizations, unsupported opinions, idle speculation, specious claims, inconsistent style, imprecise language, typos, and bad punctuation.In some of Qualman’s examples, I couldn’t tell whether the facts were real or hypothetical. In many of the micro-case studies, he shows how a company accomplished a certain objective through social media, but does not establish that the objectives could not have been accomplished more cost-effectively through other marketing channels.He describes the case of Dancing Matt–about Matt Harding, who filmed himself dancing around the world and put his videos on YouTube. The videos were hugely popular, so Stride Gum sponsored his further travels and video production. Stride exercised restraint and placed its logo discreetly at the end of the video (in the post roll). Qualman claims Stride earned “millions of dollars in brand equity,” but does not support that claim with any data or sources. Is it his own guesstimate, or did the company tell him it earned “millions”? No clue.He claims that social media activities “connect parents to their kids like never before.” He offers no source, data, or study to support that statement, and he is clearly not qualified to offer that opinion.Regarding microblogging, he says, “What once took place only periodically around the watercooler [sic] is now happening in real time.” Huh? What can be more real-time than water cooler conversations?He says (on page 52) that micro-blogging functions as a kind of log that you can look back on–at the end of a day or week or month–and review your posts and updates. “It’s extremely enlightening because it shows you how you are spending what precious time you have.” Ah, yes, it’s not only improving the way parents relate to their kids, it’s therapeutic as well.As a downside of social media, he says, Generation Y and Z [are having] difficulty with face-to-face conversations.” No support for that claim. Is that his personal observation? He’s a marketer, not a sociologist.He says that staying connected, through social media, to the people who elected Obama president will be the “key to his success as president.” The key!He says social media “allows for a government to be more in tune with the country and to truly run as a democracy by stripping away the politics and getting to the core of what matters.” Uh huh.He recites marketing platitudes that have been true for decades or centuries, but treats them as though social media makes them especially true. An example: “Companies that produce great products and services…will be winners in the socialnomic world.”Here is an example of idle speculation. Qualman uses an example involving NBC’s failure to put its 2008 Olympics coverage online in certain circumstances. “Most likely, NBC and their advertisers…were judging themselves using old metrics…” Sorry, you can’t prove a point with a “most likely.” Qualman could have contacted NBC’s marketing department and asked them why they didn’t. But that would have required real journalism.Regarding the concept of network neutrality (although he doesn’t use that phrase), Qualman says that if Internet service providers start charging for usage (“per stream”) rather than a fixed monthly fee, that would be…

  2. Sheldon Chang "freelance web developer"

    Severely Overrated First, let me make it clear that I’m not an old grumpy throwback still trying to score deals in the classifieds section of my newspaper. I have an Internet history that dates back to the 80′s and I design and engineer websites and I’ve done plenty of work on sites that either are social media sites or take advantage of social media sites. I have a very long view of social media and how far its come and how it has disappointed.In the first paragraph of the introduction, Qualman writes “Just like social media itself, this book is written in sporadically digestible sound bites.” This is all you need to know about this book. If you want a brainstorm of half-proven assertions that you can mine for ideas for your next marketing campaign, you’ll probably find this book valuable. If you’re looking to establish understanding and a long term outlook on social media, keep looking because another way that this book is like most social media is that it will have a short shelf life.Socialnomics promises to reveal how social media transforms the way we live and do business, but it doesn’t reveal or inform so much as it presents a lot of loose anecdotes about the power of social media and how it appears to be affecting the world. While he occasionally makes a passing mention of the downside of social media, his tone is too often an infomercial-like positivity about the sheer awesomeness of social media. A particularly cringe-worthy example is how he closes his introduction by claiming that social media will reduce redundancy and recapture billions of hours that can be redistributed toward the betterment of society.This is a bridge too far and if you’re going to make paradigm changing predictions like this, you’d better devote some serious grey matter into backing it up. Socialnomics doesn’t. It’s as if every argument in the book is allocated 140 characters of reasoning before we move on to the next topic.Writing about disruptive technologies is a dangerous sport. Chances are that you’ll be wrong about a lot of things, but the ones that have done it well like Howard Rheingold and Douglas Rushkoff were able to do it in a more profound way that caused you to evaluate how we interact with media and each other and their works continue to have value long after the judgement has come on whether they were right or wrong.I get the feeling that Qualman can do better and in his next book he should write a book that can’t be tweeted. It might have a longer shelf life.

  3. The Marketing Guy Who Drives Sales -r

    On second thought, I’m changing from 4 to 3 stars… Qualman does a very good job telling the reader why social media and social media marketing are not flash-in-the-pan fads that will be gone within a few years. Savvy marketers and brand builders must understand the new media environment in which they are operating and embrace it as the future. It is how things will be for a long time to come. Qualman helps you understand the environment and offers some insights on how others have leveraged social media to their perceived advantage.The problems I have with this book stem from my perception that the author offers what seem like well pondered conclusions but reveals no data, no research and very little support evidence or hard quantitation so I was left to wonder if these “facts” are based on hard data or on the author’s own biases and cheery assumptions.He seems to talk about the 2008 U.S. presidential election a little too much throughout the book which is a bit annoying for business professionals looking for application and then late in the book Qualman delves into human resource management as related to social media and it just seems to go a bit overboard. Advice like, “[hire young talent and] simply get out of the way because the young talent may be vastly more talented in certain areas” may be accurate but it is so vague and general that it is worthless advice. One assumes he means that because young talent is much more in tune with social media that they will be able to perform better at job functions that have ties to social media, but again, no specifics, no details and no supporting evidence for this claim. It is at these moments in the book that it seems the author is a bit too much of a kool-aid drinking cheerleader simply repeating, “this changes everything.” We’ve heard all the hype already. Now let’s get down to specifics. His passion is clear but hard data is lacking.That being said, the overriding message of this book is important for all business managers who need to understand how social media changes the game and why they cannot wait to embrace the future with social media touching just about every aspect of business and consumer behavior. Qualman makes the case as to why it isn’t all going away anytime soon.I recommend this book for those new to social media or those managers who still need to be convinced that it is the future direction of marketing. If you are already familiar with the space and are looking for advanced “how to” methods and detailed case studies then this is probably not the book for you.–Review by the author of the e-book, “How to Build and Manage Your Brand (in sickness and in health).”

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