Book Review: The Tao of Twitter by Mark W. Schaefer

Marketing guru, Mark W. Schaefer, has turned his traditional business marketing ingenuity to the Twitter platform.  Twitter, for those of us we prefer to shelter under rocks, is the social media giant that uses only 140 characters per “tweet”.  A tweet is the manner through which its users send messages to other users.

Even Mark with his years of marketing expertise wasn’t sure what to make of Twitter and its business potential.  “Like most people, I thought [Twitter] was just about the stupidest thing I had ever tried…”  But then, while playing around on Twitter, Mark came across hashtag “NewFluName” and followed this trending topic.

The hashtag (#) is a way that Twitter identifies key search terms that the user (aka: tweep) inputs.  Once you put the “#” in front of a word, or a phrase, people who type in that word, or phrase, can find all instances of that search term across Twitter.  #NewFluName was a conversation a few years ago when the pork industry was experiencing an outbreak of swine flu.  This topic was trending (read: was very popular and lots of people were following this conversation via the hashtag).  The pork industry execs were seeking a new name for this outbreak of flu.  Some of the flu names that Mark read  were:

  • The Aporkalypse
  • Porky’s Revenge
  • This little piggy went to the bathroom
  • Hog Flashes
  • Mad Sow Disease
  • Hamthrax

While this real-time conversation was hilarious, it also showed Mark the power of Twitter.  Here was a “global brainstorming session” in action.

“It was an awesome moment, an inspiring moment.  I began to think about all of the implications for business, for networking, for solving problems, for learning…and for me.  People sharing, connecting, teaching and entertaining each other in the moment — from every corner of the world.  I had caught a glimpse of something profound and wonderful” (excerpted from page 2 – 3 of The Tao of Twitter).

Reading about Mark’s Twitter journey is nothing short of inspiring.  He has gained a deep knowledge of Twitter and how it functions.  He shares powerful anecdotes of how Twitter has positively affected his life and his business.  Granted, he was a marketing professional prior to Twitter so one could say he was predisposed to have a positive successful outcome.

I say, I’m not so sure to the above supposition.  Why?  Because traditional marketing experience did not help Mark on Twitter.  His first major Twitter connection came about when he sent out a tweet about the Steelers.  A woman responded to his tweet ad they started tweeting each other and reading one another’s blog posts.

That singular tweet was the beginning of building trust and confidence between these two people — tweets.  It was the relationship that spawned business connections.  Mark took a cold online connection and made it warm.  Once that was done, he met this new friend offline and in person.

You can say that Mark was “predisposed” to do well on Twitter, however he first had to understand this particular social media platform which is unlike any other social media platform out there today.

The Tao of Twitter shares Mark Schaefer’s journey through his various experiences while learning all there is to know about the platform.  More importantly, this book shares some key resources (free resources!) that readers (people like you and me) can put to use his insights, hard-won information and tips.  Mark also shares useful Twitter tips and proper Twitter protocols for RTs (re-tweets) as well as the philosophy behind successful Twitter users.

The Tao of Twitter is a quick read that will guide you towards a greater appreciation of this social media platform.  If you can find no appreciation for this sleeping giant of a platform, you will definitely come away with a clearer picture of Twitter’s capabilities as well as best practices to build a more targeted sales.

4 1/2 Blogairy Notebooks


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