“The Everything Guide to Social Media” – quick review and my foreword to the book

Back in May of this year, I was invited by the author to write a Foreword for his soon to be published book “The Everything Guide to Social Media.”

The book is out now, and it’s a good read for anyone interested in exploring the current landscape of social media technologies.

Read on for more of my thoughts, and to see what I wrote in the Foreward.

John K. Waters, the author of the book, has been writing about technology for about 20 years.  In this book he takes a very comprehensive approach to exploring all the different social media technologies and how to best use them.  John’s writing style is nice and conversational, and this is exactly the kind of book I would give my Mom to help her understand what’s going on with “Social Media.”  That said, it’s also a great reference book for more technologically savvy folks who want a detailed yet concise summary of the social media technology landscape.

You can read a full summary of the book and buy a copy here on Amazon.

There’s a nice section about virtual worlds, including a good summary of Second Life.  I do wish there was a section about OpenSim and HyperGrid, but I didn’t write the book.  😉

I did, however, write the Foreward.   In it, I did my best to paint a broad picture of why social media is so compelling to us, and how it’s wrapped up in our basic human tendency to crave and create both communities and tools.

My entire Forward is available to read in the “Click to look inside!” option on Amazon, so it should be Fair Use for me to reproduce it here for convenience.

I’d love to hear people’s thoughts about what I wrote.

And for the record, I don’t get any royalties for sold copies.  I just like sharing what I feel are useful resources.  This book is one of them.

John, thank you again for the opportunity to write this Foreword.  I think you did a fantastic job with the book, and it was my pleasure to be able to help you kick it off.

“The Everything Guide to Social Media”
Foreword by John E. Lester

Human beings crave and create communities. As a species, we need each other to evolve
and survive in this challenging and sometimes unforgiving world. So we eagerly seek
each other out, looking for kindred spirits with whom to share knowledge, feelings,
dreams and goals. Together, we grow and thrive.

Human beings also crave and create tools. Again, it is part of our nature as a species.
From the first time a human being picked up a stick and figured out how it might help
them knock an apple out of a tree, to the creation of vehicles that can fly us beyond the
surface of planet Earth, we’ve been creating tools that extend our abilities. With tools,
we can touch the stars.

Communities and Tools. Our brains are deeply wired for both of them. Which is why
things gets really interesting when communities and tools intersect.

Social Media is at the intersection of communities and tools. It gives people the ability
to connect with each other across the planet, free from the tyranny of geography. It lets
people communicate via the written and spoken word, but also gives them opportunities
go beyond that with the world of photo and video sharing. Finding the news that is
important to us can be done by aggregating the shared ideas of people across the world
as opposed to tuning in to a single controlled source of information. Mobile technology
has replaced the now-antiquated concept of location-dependent communication (“I can
be contacted at the office”) with location-independent communication (“I can be reached
anywhere”). Even our very concept of identity is evolving, as people explore different
facets of their personality in virtual world environments for entertainment and work.

Traditional mass media has been turned on its head. Social Media is giving every human being in modern society the tools to communicate and form communities in ways never seen before. And we face a serious challenge that has nothing to do with the technology of the tools themselves. How can we learn to use Social Media in ways that improve the human condition and our quality of life? Our information-overloaded world can drive us away from wisdom and into mindless distraction if we are not careful.

It is my pleasure to introduce The Everything Guide to Social Media. In this book, you’ll
learn about the amazing variety of social media tools and how different communities are
using them in innovative ways. You’ll learn about the history of social media, where it
started, where it is, and where it could be going in the future. When you’re done reading,
you’ll have a deep understanding of the range of tools and how to best use them. Get
ready for a fun ride, too!

When you put this book down, you’ll do so with a sense of wonder at the magic of
Communities and Tools coming together. And you’ll have the critical knowledge you
need to start exploring how to use Social Media wisely and thoughtfully, in ways that will
ultimately improve your own life and the life of others.

-John “Pathfinder” Lester

3 thoughts on ““The Everything Guide to Social Media” – quick review and my foreword to the book

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Blog post: “The Everything Guide to Social Media” – quick review and my foreword to the book -- Topsy.com

  2. my main comment is that “mass medias owners” never sold us the “illusion” that “we” had/owned the tools to use the electronic media to mass communicate/commune.

    (other than the few geek radio/8mm/camera hobby dudes)

    the overiding danger in “today” 2.0 “culture” is the delusion /illusion that “we the people” have any ownership or rights to the “new tools” being “sold to us” in order to PLUG INTO this new “world order’:) …. and even IF we own our own bodies(genome patents and ideas- blog IP- as well as the shelter/water we need just to survive.

    I do cringe at the term Social media and its Orwelian doublespeak that has been the “wisdom of the meme” in todays TED world.;) If “people” are the medium, then how far off untill truly Soylent Green is Avatars..;)

    Social Democracy better find a way not to be “old drivel socialism”= Red Scare realities- other wise Social media is just another Slavery 2.0 with a shinier name and an Edleman Publisist.

    havent read the book. but to judge it by its cover…. its gonna be unrealistically cheery and sold to me like an idiot.(guide;)

    chat among yourselves….. coffee ,darlings?

  3. Pathfinder —

    I totally agree with you that social media has turned traditional media on its head.

    I was in China during the big earthquake a couple of years, and Twitter changed the way that people learned about the quake. Sure, journalists were able to track down people in real time to interview them about what was going on. But average citizens could do the same, and follow the event — and the government reaction to it — as it was happening. The geographical barriers disappeared. People were posting quick messages, images, even entire videos. Social media transformed how China and other government react to disasters. And this is only one example, just a small fraction of what will happen as this platform evolves.

    – Maria

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