This spring I start teaching “Social Media” at BI – Norwegian Business School (Stavanger). here’s a happy reading list for anyone venturing into the field.
Social media and digital are increasingly popping up as ‘items’ in several of our executive education programs. An increasing number of managers are happily using Facebook on their own time, but realize that their firm is nowhere to be found in the social media space. A larger number still have come to realize their company is simply not prepared for some of the digital challenges that are coming their way. While some (mostly the attackers) see great opportunity, many of today’s established firms are unsure how to deal with social, digital and disruptions.
For my students, for my executives and for anyone looking to understand more in this space, this reading list is for you.
I’ve added a selection of sources. Don’t hesitate in telling me if you believe something crucial is missing.
The Quick Read
If you only have a few hours or a few days to spare, this list is for you. It’ll give you the basics (and hopefully tickle your brain enough to make you keep reading down this list).
Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (Li and Bernhoff)
This 2008 classic should be the starting point for anyone venturing into the field. It’s packed with examples, cases and useful tools like the POST method ,Social profile and more.
Li’s second book, this one looks at social technolgies and what it means for your leadership role. It’s really the first book to take this view, and does a great job at it. Powerful work, this should be included into every executive’s reading list.
Leading Through Connections: IBM Global CEO Study
“In less than 5 years, your social channels will eclipse your website as a customer touchpoint”. That’s the conclusion of IBM’s CEO Study. The findings are remarkable in the growth rate of social technologies in the 1700 firms IBM interview. Read it.
Why Software is Eating the World
Marc Andressen’s Wall Street Journal Essay lays out the most clear and coherent business case for all things digital. A must.
In-depth readings: Seek to understand digital
Those four are the quick and easy reads. A great place to start.
But to truly understand the massive implications, opportunities and disruptions coming from the increasing level of digital, I recommend digging into these. These are the classics. In terms of the Internet age, they are old. But their implied age gives them perspective and insight in an industry that is moving faster than most.
Blown to Bits: how the new economics of information transforms strategy
(Evans and Wurster, 1999)
A personal favorite.
To prepare corporate executives and entrepreneurs alike for a fundamental change in business competition, warns the book.
“The authors think that the Internet can blow away practically any business, and examine how the new economy is “deconstructing” industries such as newspapers, auto retailing, and banking while creating new opportunities for others. …even “the most stable of industries, the most focused of business models and the strongest of brands can be blown to bits by new information technology.”, writes Amazon.
Truth is, Evans and Wurster foresaw the last 12 years of digital disruption, brought on industries like news, stocks, travel and retail. Reading this book 14 years later, and realizing most industries are just starting their digital disruption phase is an eye-opener.
Cluetrain Manifesto: the end of business as usual
(Levine, Locke, Searls and Weinberger, 1999)
With the Internet just taking hold, these 95 theses were brought forward to help understand and examine the effects of this “newly-connected marketplace”
Summarizing, the authors write “A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies”.
Digital Darwinism: 7 Breakthrough Business Strategies for Surviving in the Cutthroat Web Economy
One author’s early attempts to understand how e-business (as it was called at the time, now it’s just business…), could succeed. The conclusion from his 7 case studies: integrate the Web into every part of your business.
Here Comes Everybody: the power of organizing without organizations
Great read on how social technologies drive new organizing principles. Very wide selection of interesting case studies.
Socialnomics: how social media transforms the way we live and do business
A wide look at how social media has, is and will affect businesses around the world. Qualman’s focus is marketing and how digital ans social is driving change in society.
The Ultimate Question 2.0
(Reichheld and Markey, 2011)
“Would you recommend us to a friend?” That simple question, now well-documented as the most powerful question in all of marketing, fits perfectlywith the ideas and culture of digital and social. While orginally a marketing book, the Ultimate Question, is truly worth reading for anyone looking to generate connections, relationships and recommendations in the digital space.
Onwards, to the mix and merry of Social Media
The field of what is today called social media is still developing and unfolding. Any reader will find a good stack of books claiming to be “The Bible” to Social Media. They are not.
But, some of them are truly useful, insightful and absolutely worth reading. Here’s my stack of recommendations.
The Connected Company
(Gray and Wal, 2012)
11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era
The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change
(Aaker, Heath and Ariely, 2010)
Den Perfekte Storm (in Danish, for now)
The Social Organization: How to Use Social Media to Tap the Collective Genius of Your Customers and Employees
(Bradley and McDonald, 2011)
This mix of readings should provide a good insight to most readers. It should be enough to get you and your team started on the one question that matters: how do we become a ‘social business’?
See Christian’s recent keynote talk on “Digital Business Models: the future is already here”