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Book Review – Twitterville


Twitter has been in existence since 2006 but yet I only created my own twitter account in February of 2009 (you can see exact date by visiting http://www.whendidyoujointwitter.com and typing my account name ‘gihangamos’). That was also the month we created this magazine (http://diGIT.lk) and when I received a very friendly email from a fellow Sri Lankan who was living in USA. She gave us words of encouragement and suggestions to improve the readership of diGIT. That’s when she also suggested I should join the twitter club or as Shel would put it, ‘land in Twitterville’. I am grateful to Sukanti Husain for her kind words of encouragement which has given strength to the diGIT magazine and has helped in reaching out to the right readership for the magazine.

So what’s so great about twitter you would ask? A good question and a question which has a million answers. As Shel puts it in his book, each of us use Twitter in our own unique way, which is why we all have different followers.

What makes twitter great is in how well you want to make twitter your companion. The book gives us great examples (stories) on how people have used twitter in times of crisis or how people have resolved customer care issues and got back faith in a company.


It’s worth mentioning that Shel is humble enough to suggest Chris Brogan (a fellow social media writer) as the mayor of ‘Twitterville’. Shel justifies his decision purely on the fact that Chris is everywhere, as a mayor should be looking after the people of the city. I too follow Chris on twitter (@chrisBrogan) and its true. Chris has written and continues to blog post almost every day with many of them focusing on tips to businesses to use social media. Shel points out how Chris once (in Feb 2009) ended up shaving his head so that kids could get laptop computers that they could not afford! You should definitely read the book to see what initially led to him shaving his head.

He also coins a term ‘braided journalism’ which in his own words is ‘convergence of old and new media’ reflecting on the influence blogs and micro blogs such as twitter has on newspapers, specially the dailies. He gives us insight into a few tweeters who became ‘citizen journalists’ in times of adversity (such as when Katrina was hit or when Mumbai was hit with terrorists).

As James Governor (cofounder RedMonk) says Twitterville ‘is a marketplace of ideas, thoughts and prejudices. It’s where people live declaratively, which creates opportunities and challenges for companies of all shapes and sizes.’ Shel has clearly brought out that in his book.

So as Shel has put it in his sub heading for the book, Twitterville is clearly a place where you’re business can thrive in the new global neighbourhoods. It doesn’t matter whether you are a small startup company as long as you use the easy to access technologies such as twitter to get the attention of the world!

As I kept reading the chapters one by one, I couldn’t but help wonder how everything falls into place in this technology driven time that we live in. I can’t wait to see what we will have in, not 5 years, but in 2!

I like to end this review with a tweet that really captivated my eye and hope it will be an inspiration for you. Its on page 132 (of Twitterville) and by @gapingvoid who twittered:

I work extremely hard doing what I love, mainly to ensure that I don’t have to work extremely hard doing what I hate.

You can order Shel Israel’s book from amazon via http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591842794



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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