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BOOK REVIEW: The New Community Rules

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The Twitter Book and The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web, though they were both written for social media users, could not be more different. While The Twitter Book focused on the everyday use of Twitter, The New Community Rules approaches social media in general from a marketing and communication point of view, studying its usefulness in building brands and online communities while explaining how to leverage its power every day. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and the low price makes it a bargain.

Case studies

Author Tamar Weinberg was smart to include detailed case studies, the ammunition of all marketing debates and discussions. Most books cite examples that support the points they are making, but I thought the case studies in The New Community Rules stood out by the amount of ink devoted to them and the insight each one provided. The “Motrin Moms” campaign cited on page 48 stands out in my mind because not only is it a detailed case study but it’s actually an example of a company making a mistake in cultivating social goodwill. I’m glad such mistakes are brought to readers’ attention so they can learn from them. In contrast, some books not only focus on successes but focus on their own successes (Conversational Capital is a prime example) and make the book a self-serving advertisement more than a learning experience.

But is it right?

It’s hard to judge if the new community rules found in The New Community Rules will work for everyone. The rules are thorough: Tamar covers bookmarking, blogging and microblogging, social media and regular media (video and pictures) among other things. The rules are also backed with evidence as detailed above, and that above all things gives The New Community Rules an authoritative voice. I don’t think these rules will work for everyone in all situations, since such a broad and subjective field is hard to pin down. Some social marketing impresarios may debate some things said in this book. But I wholeheartedly recommend it for marketing professionals who want to gain a better grasp of the gears powering online communities and social media.

Conclusion

The New Community Rules is a substantial book: almost 350 pages, black and white with a great deal of text. This is not a fun-looking book with a lot of color pictures (which is what The Twitter Book is). But it can be an excellent read for marketing professionals or budding social media mavens who want to grasp the impulses behind the social Web and need the hard evidence to back it up.

The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web
Tamar Weinberg
Published by O’Reilly
US$24.99
Rating: 9/10