Tag Archives: with

BOOK REVIEW: Friends With Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook

friends-with-benefits

Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo’s Friends With Benefits is one of many books on the market about “social media,” that mishmash of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other websites that connect us and our personal content. I’ve reviewed several books about social media and Friends With Benefits was a surprising standout for its blend of research and insight.

Many books on social media provide an overview of the main products, such as Facebook; explain how to use them; and list best practices and/or case studies from a marketing perspective. Friends With Benefits spends fewer pages explaining how to use the tools and more pages on historical overview and marketing best practices, which makes it a good resources for marketing professionals, especially those who haven’t embraced social media yet. Chapters are devoted to topics such as metrics, net etiquette and building a pitch—all things that many social media mavens either know naturally or don’t pay enough attention to, but are on the top of marketers’ minds.

The book is well-written: Darren and Julie have a writing style that’s matter-of-fact but still conversational and funny at times. The language sounds like it’s been copied from a spoken presentation. I like the design too but I always prefer a book printed in color, even when there aren’t many pictures. Friends With Benefits is built like a textbook when other social media books like The Twitter Book have more interesting formats and pages in color. However, this isn’t the only social media book without color.

I really enjoyed reading Friends With Benefits: the book has solid insights backed with research and some great case studies. I also find the writing style makes it accessible to everyone, though it may be a little more traditional than some other social media books on the market. This makes it ideal for marketing professionals who don’t mind the raciness of the title.

Friends With Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook
Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo
Published by No Starch Press
US$24.95
Rating: 9/10

BOOK REVIEW: Designing With Web Standards, 3rd Ed.

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In 2005 I adopted web standards to improve my skills in web design and make that a major component of my work, and the book that really drove it all home was Jeffrey Zeldman‘s Designing With Web Standards. Part pundit, part teacher, Zeldman walked me and many others through web standards and turned the discipline into the gold standard for building websites. This point was made clear in 2006 when I wrote a less-than-exuberant review for a piece of software and the creators responded by pointing out my personal website does not validate with XHTML Strict.

Now it is 2010, HTML5 is emerging and Zeldman has written the third edition of Designing With Web Standards with the help of Ethan Marcotte, who also wrote a bit of Handcrafted CSS. As a reader of a previous version, I found the new third edition to be less useful than the first because much of the old material still exists in the new edition. Many chapters are the same or similar and new game-changing technologies, such as CSS3 and HTML5, are covered but still in the early stages of adoption. XHTML, the central language of web standards, hasn’t changed much at all in the past decade. The next decade will be more important, as XHTML is supplanted by HTML5 and browsers really begin to converge on one standard (even Internet Explorer).

Zeldman’s writing is sharp and clear as always, and the third edition is an essential read for those new to web design or web standards. For experienced web designers who know web standards, the third edition is a great refresher but not too different from the first or second editions.

Designing With Web Standards, 3rd Ed.
Jeffrey Zeldman with Ethan Marcotte
Published by New Riders
US$49.95
Rating: 8/10