Home Reviews Book Review – Social Media 101 (by Chris Brogan)

Book Review – Social Media 101 (by Chris Brogan)


I first knew about Chris Brogan last year when someone retweeted about Chris shaving his head for charity. Someone new to twitter back then, I thought to myself, this guy is an interesting character to follow. Little did I know about this gregarious individual (back then) and how he ranks in the top list of marketing guru’s (with Seth Godin as God of marketing).

I have been following his blog (http://www.chrisbrogan.com) whenever I get the time (still do) and when compared to some blogs, most of his blogposts are brief and to the point. I guess its one reason why he is so successful in his chosen field.

For someone new to social media and into marketing a particular brand (or oneself), his blog is a goldmine with so many pointers and lists of do’s and don’ts. You sometimes wish there was a book compiled of all his best bits so that you can read while commuting or relaxing where you can just brush through some of the topics that you feel like reading. Well now you can since Chris has been kind enough to publish a book titled ‘Social Media 101’

He emphasizes that his motivation for writing this social media guide book was due to the demand from the people that bought his book ‘Trust Agents’. So in order to cover the areas of social media that exists at the moment, he thought of compiling several posts from his blog while also adding updates and edits. So if you are a big fan of Chris’s blog, its worth investing 20 odd dollars to get this valuable book, it might even turn out into a must have collector’s edition in 5 years time, you will never know!

So as Chris would put it, ‘let’s begin’ with the review of ‘Social media 101’.

First of all, I like the dimensions of the book making it very easy to carry. This can also be seen in books by David Meerman Scott (http://www.davidmeermanscott.com). 320 pages might seem a bit of a bulk amount to read but when you get most of it in point form, it’s more like a guide that you can just dive into at different stages of your life/work. My point is further emphases when comparing the pages to the number of chapters the book contain: 87! So that’s only an average of 4 pages per chapter.

Let’s just highlight a few chapters that caught my eye and is worth sharing to further entice the review readers to go order this very valuable book. Social media starter pack (chapter 16) – What better starter pack than 4 ways to optimize the way social media can be used. Listening, Speaking, Community, Rich media. Let me just touch very briefly on what we can take from his starter pack.


  • Listening: With the vast amount of information that’s get into the internet, it’s not easy to keep up with the information. Ways to organize the way you listen to the content is highlighted here.
  • Speaking: We put content but will they come? Well they will, if we use a few techniques to increase awareness. Having an RSS feed on our blog is one important task that is a must. Making your url appear in your emails is also important. ‘Make sure folks know who you are, where you are, how to reach you, and what you are all about’, says Chris in his conclusion.
  • Community: From Twitter, Facebook to the ning and other social networks, just a few places to increase the followers and build a community of friends.
  • Rich media: Just like our magazine, we use various ways to give information. Be it in plain text or a video editorial, we try to connect with our readers to save their timewhile giving them the information they need. Here Chris points out a few of these media to use and what tool to use.

Skipping on a few chapters to 24, and a topic I like ‘Twitter revisited’ – I was shocked and a bit insulted when I read his first paragraph ‘Twitter is the stupidest thing anyone could ever imagine inventing.’ I kept my calm and read on. Phew, he really does know how to keep the reader interested. He goes on to explain how an addictive, time consuming, cross platform accessible application can be used to good use. Twitter is truly a great place to share ideas and build a community. No argument about that at all. In his twitter tips, he adds ‘Instead of ‘what are you doing?’ try asking ‘what has your attention?’, I find the answer is often more useful to others’. Now that is a worthwhile tip indeed.

In Sri Lanka, I find many new blogs being created. But only a few of them really survive. Many times, I see the messages like ‘not enough time to blog’ etc and I wonder whether there was a real reason behind actually starting a blog? Well if there was, then the goal should be achieved. In order to achieve a goal (whether it be about promoting a particular product in a company or just writing poems) chapter 27 titled ‘A sample blogging work flow’ is a very useful chapter for anyone who wants to clearly start a successful blog that could be maintained without stressing about keeping it up-to-date.

Working with a team entails having meetings and a way to effectively manage these meetings is important for any field of career. In chapter 34, Chris breaks down meetings into three types: Announcement, Status, Brainstorm. Mentioned in order of how fast they should run, lets quickly give an idea on what each is about.

  • Announcement – When a new member joins the company, when a shift in direction has taken place, these are areas in which an announcement meeting might be a good idea.
  • Status meeting – Time is important and ensuring that a good meeting happens rests on the effectiveness of the project manager. The project manager would get the status of each team member in the project and announces it to all. Any action that needs to be taken can be taken offline and dealt with in an individual basis so as to not waste another persons time.
  • Brainstorming meeting- This is the one that you can’t really put a time (though you must). Laying out the goals of such a meeting are important to run this type of meeting in an effective way says Chris. Chris also shares a good online social media tool that is useful at brainstorming sessions (the mind mapping tool MindMeister – http://www.mindmeister.com)


He concludes the chapter with tips for all meetings as well.

I should conclude this review so that you can go and grab a copy but let me just add one more chapter which I think you will surely like. I will however keep it to the point and just mention only the topic so that you know its covered. ‘Making a business from social media’, that’s chapter 53 in the book.

This would be a handy reference manual for me for a few years to come I guess (until we hear of unheard new social media being introduced by a 14 year old).

You can purchase the book from (amazon affiliate link): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0470563419?ie=UTF8&tag=socmedempavet-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0470563419


Image of Chris Brogan – http://www.chrisbrogan.com/about



W.G.T. Fernando is an author of over 15 ICT books and Founder/CEO at GTS. Gihan is a former lecturer at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. He began his education at Thurstan College before going to Wycherley International School. He graduated with Honors in Computer Science at University of Liverpool in the UK and MSc in Advanced Software Engineering at Kings College, University of London.


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