Home » The Tao of Twitter – Book Review

The Tao of Twitter – Book Review

The book I wish I had before I wrote my first Tweet.

Twitter can be a really hard sell sometimes. “Who wants to hear what celebrities had for lunch?”, “You can’t use something like Twitter for business.”, or “How can you say anything worthwhile in 140 characters?” are all questions that we’ve heard before, and some of us are even guilty of asking them. But the reality is far from this perception. Twitter is indeed a viable platform for business communication, professional networking, customer service, marketing, news, and more. Every day more and more people are realizing the positives from participating on Twitter. They are preaching its awesomeness from all corners of the globe, and yet there are still droves of people who still think it’s stupid, pointless, just for kids, or full of celebrity gossip.

So how do you break that stereotype and show them the reality? Well, Mark W. Schaefer, author of the {grow} blog, took action and wrote The Tao of Twitter. A book whose sole purpose is to smash the negative stereotypes that talk of Twitter as a ‘waste of time’, and show readers that the personal and business benefits you can achieve on Twitter are real and are far-reaching.

Rather than start off with the typical lists of terminology and mechanics, Mark begins the book with a funny little anecdote about when he had his ‘a-ha!’ moment on Twitter. A moment that we all have when we start using it. The precise moment when you realize what the potential is. He then moves to an example of a tangible business success that could only have come to him as a result of Twitter. This approach allows the reader to understand the whole point of Twitter in the first 10 pages, and see what it’s capable of, instead of getting immediately bogged down with dry definitions and acronyms.

From there, Schaefer proceeds to explain the three ‘Tao’s that ensure you’re developing a strong community. In summary, the keys are to ensure you follow a group of people that are providing good content, that you return the favour and share good content to your followers, and that you commit to being genuinely helpful to the community. Through these three activities you will begin to realize the full benefits of Twitter.

Only then, once he’s shown that YES it does work for business, does Schaefer begin to explain some of the essential common terminology, the basic mechanics of how to Tweet properly, and some of the best do’s/don’ts for both beginners and veterans alike. Mark also outlines a simple regimen for ensuring that your entire day is not devoured by Twitter, but you are still an active participant within your community.

Finally, the book discusses how to put all the concepts together, as well as some important competitive advantages that will come from using Twitter, and how some of the current influence benchmarks work and are being used. While far from perfect, these influence metrics are still important to be aware of, and you certainly won’t be able to ignore them for long.

Overall, I was quite impressed by this first book by Mark W. Schaefer. It tackles a key problem that businesses face when adopting Social Media, and uses real examples of successes, both personal and professional. The Tao of Twitter should be viewed as the handbook to become one of those Twitter users that people will actually WANT to follow. It’s the kind of book that you’ll read more than once, lend to your friends and colleagues, and will probably fill with post-it notes, highlighter marks, and dog-eared pages.

*NOTE: This review was not solicited in any way. My copy of the Tao of Twitter was purchased.