Download Welcome to the Fifth Estate

Welcome to the Fifth Estate by Geoff Livingston

It’s almost been two years since my second book Welcome to the Fifth Estate was published. Because of the compensation issues, time since publishing, and frankly, the plethora of social media and online marketing books out there, it’s time to give it to you for free!

Please feel free to download the book here. The password is “Fifth.” I’m sorry that it’s only available to you in this PDF format. And per the issues link, please forgive any typos.

From a content perspective, the Fifth Estate offers the deepest dive into social media of my three books. Here’s a glimpse:

  • A fantastic introduction from Mashable’s Chief Strategy Officer Adam Ostrow.
  • The first chapter details the media theories driving social networks and communities online.
  • Chapter Four offers perspective into the four types of strategies most frequently used in social networks; participation/community, content, influencer marketing, and crowdsourcing.
  • My former colleague Kami Huyse delivers perhaps the best 20 pages you can imagine on social media measurement in Chapter Six.
  • Chapter Seven offers tips to handle and successfully adapt to rapidly evolving social media.

Enjoy! Feedback is certainly welcome.

In Gratitude, with Love

Us with Soleil in the Pumpkin Patch

It’s been an amazing year. It has had big ups and big downs. In short, life was in session.

In hindsight, there is so much to be grateful for as we roll into the holiday season. With Thanksgiving upon us, I’d like to express my gratitude for many things over the past year.

First of all this was the magical year of Soleil, my one year old daughter who has blessed our lives. From watching her first open her eyes regularly to the first time she said “Dada” to her first steps, becoming a father has literally been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am so very grateful that Caitlin and I are together with this wonderful addition to our now three person family.

Releasing my second book, Welcome to the Fifth Estate, was a good experience, in large part because of you. Thank you to all the friends and punks who helped make the book a success, whether it was allowing me to guest post, offering me an opportunity to speak, sharing your reviews, or simply being supportive. Book marketing is hard!

Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington was an incredible experience. I am still processing it, but it certainly was profound, a pinnacle moment both professionally and spiritually. To be able to give back to my hometown for the past 20 years, and raise $2 million to help 1200 nonprofits all in one day (though it took six months of planning and work), well, it’s really humbling. Truly, something to be grateful about.

So many people worked to make this happen, but in particular I’d like to offer special thanks to all of my clients and friends at Razoo, Kathy Whelpley at the Community Foundation, and Kerry Morgan, Karyn Gruenberg, Stacia Klim and Elliot Gruber at the United Way. Thanks to all of our partners who helped get the word out. And thank you to the Washington nonprofit community — causes and donors alike — for coming together in a collective day of action.

Beth Kanter and Kami Huyse let me out of Zoetica early to attend to my house, a result of the above linked flood. Thank you.

In that same vein, Gini Dietrich carried my writing load over the past two months as I grappled with the flood and kept Give to the Max work moving forward. It’s so refreshing to work with an author who plays team ball and helped a partner that could not execute, literally putting the project on her back. Now it is my turn to write extensively, but Gini deserves a big thank you for helping me.

All of my friends (Dennis, Jimmy, David, Pernilla) and family in my personal life, people who don’t dig or just simply use social media in a normal fashion, deserve a special shout out. Whether it was direct help, friendly words, or an arm around the shoulder you helped me make it through a depressing time.

My online friends and readers, you, too reached out to me during the flood and ensuing recovery. I thank you so much for this. Every ounce of support helped me through a dark time.

Speaking of dark times, a year ago my friend George Giammittorio passed away due to depression. Earlier this year we as a community lost Trey Pennington. No matter how despairing the times may be — and for some the holidays are the darkest of times — there is always hope and love. If you are suffering and there is only darkness, please consider calling the National Hopeline.

2011 is not over. A trip to Austin is in order, there is a commencement speech for the Virginia Commonwealth University Mass Communications graduation to write and deliver, and the holiday giving season — a crucial time for causes — is upon us. And yes, it is time to catch up on book writing, and thus, I am taking the next week off from the social web and will return on the 28th for the final stretch.

Though we are not done with the year, one can never be too early in expressing gratitude. So thank you, and happy Thanksgiving.

Network Solutions Matches $1000 in NextGen Tech Women Donations

Julie & Kami
Zoetica’s Julie Pippert and Kami Huyse

With just two days left in the NextGen Tech Women fundraiser, the team of Danny Brown, Allyson Kapin, Julie Pippert, Kami Huyse and yours truly has raised more than $2,200. All proceeds are going to the National Center for Women In Technology’s 2011 and their Award for Aspirations in Computing, which recognizes young women in high-school for their computing- related achievements and interests. Now, Network Solutions and its Women Grow Business initiative has joined the effort with a matching grant for the next $1,000 in donations (you can donate here)!

As a father of a beautiful young lady and a partner in a majority woman owned business, the reasons to participate and support NCWIT seem obvious. But in the spirit of NetSol’s fantastic contribution, here is a top ten list of reasons why you should back the next generation of women in technology.

10. Women garner just 9% of all angel investment funds, yet they have the same approval rate for applications as their male peers. Educating women to succeed in this market needs to happen!

9. There is an attitude within women’s conversations on the topic that they are meek, don’t share ideas in meetings, routinely discount ourselves, are bad at math and science, and are responsible for twice as much of the housework than men and three times the childcare. Blogger Lisa Barone explains why this is not every woman’s attitude.

8. Sunday is Mother’s Day and what better way to celebrate the great woman in your life then a donation to support tomorrow’s great women?

7. Some male investors still believe that women will neglect their businesses in favor of their children (while men are better at abandoning their kids for business?). See how Paige Craig worked through his prejudices and invested in a female founder.

6. Women-run tech startups generate more revenue per invested capital and fail less then those led by men, according to New York Entrepreneur Week. Hmm, makes you think that matching 14% angel invest rate is off.

5. Within our own little corner of the tech sector, women are often denied speaking engagements. Men dominate! And that is in spite of the fact that a strong majority of social media communicators are women.

4. The gender wage gap is not expected to pull even until 2057. Yes, 46 years from now. Today, women have to work 2.6 hours more per day to achieve the same wages as their male counterparts. Yeah.

3. “Wishful thinking and arguing about female founders, entrepreneurs or gender roles is overriding recognition of the powerful role that the female consumer is already playing in technology.” Read the ensuing stats on women’s incredible use of technology as posted by TheIceBreak CEO Christina Brodbeck.

2. “Companies, including information technology, with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 66%,” according to research by Catalyst.

1. And most importantly, Network Solutions is matching your donation (up to $1000)! What better reason do you need than twice the giving power? Donate today!

Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging with NextGen Tech Women

This coming Saturday will mark my five year “blogoversary”. A laborious blog post lavishing personal reflections doesn’t feel right. As more time passes, such inward focused accolades tend to make me uncomfortable. Writers write, that’s what we do, and for me blogging is writing, an activity I will likely partake in the rest of my life. It is an honor not only to write, but to be read, and so I want to thank you my readers. To celebrate, I’m breaking this blog’s rule of not using the first person, and asking you to join me in a two week campaign benefiting the next generation of technology women (see my fundraising page).

I have several reasons for wanting to support women in tech, not least of which is that this side of the technology sector — communications media — is dominated by women AND both of my business partners in Zoetica, Kami Huyse and Beth Kanter, are women in tech. But before going in depth into why this matters to me, I’d like to provide some details into the actual cause.

The competitive NextGen Tech Women fundraiser (Allyson Kapin, Danny Brown, Julie Pippert, and Amber Mac also have independent teams) will benefit the National Center for Women & Information Technology’s (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing. The award recognizes young women in high-school for their computing- related achievements and interests. By generating visibility for these young women in their local communities, the Award encourages their continued interest in computing, attracts the attention and support of educational and corporate institutions, and emphasizes at a personal level the importance of women’s participation in computing.

Anyone can join us and start their own fundraiser. We are going to continue until Thursday, May 5, with a final big push in celebration of Mother’s Day. NextGen Tech Women hopes to achieve $25,000 in donations from individuals. Anything helps, $25, $50 or $100, please give what you can.

Supporting Women In Tech

Soleil, the Google Baby

In last winter’s series of conversations with Robert Scoble, Danny Brown and dozens of commenters about the gender imbalance in the technology industry, several things became clear to me. Blogging about the problem won’t help, and that action needs to be taken highlighting successful, capable women current and future in this sector. It is only through supporting, encouraging and highlighting women in tech that the larger industry will be forced to reckon with what the statistics already show: Executive women in tech companies equate to better run, more profitable enterprises. Thus, my support for NextGen Tech Women.

There is a real need for this. Here are several attitudes that have been revealed or alluded to me as I have blogged about this topic over the years:

  • We try to find women speakers, but there aren’t any out there. That’s why they don’t submit to speak
  • Women in tech are not really tech women if they are not coders
  • If a women is not a CEO, she is not qualified to speak about technology
  • Women are their own worst enemies, and hold themselves back

These statements really bug me. Whether you feel they are true or not, they are all statements that show a system architected towards men. The irony of the middle two statements is that they are often repeated and espoused by men who are often not coders, and often not CEOs. When considering my daughter Soleil’s future (pictured above), I think this is the kind of ignorance she will have to swim upstream against.

I know she can do it if she wants to. It’s in her blood. My maternal grandmother was a successful entrepreneur twice, first owning her own art gallery in Phoenix, then running a winery in Provence. My mom still has the largest syndication of any astrologer in English speaking newspapers globally. But I’d rather try to address this problem now, perhaps her road may become easier, just as today’s women have benefited from the equal rights era decades ago.

Raised in the family that I was, I know that women just like men can set their mind on a goal and achieve it. If given the opportunity,they can be great in any profession. Greatness is a human possibility, not a gender specific one. That’s why we need to support women in technology, and give everyone a level playing field.

I hope you will join me over the next two weeks, and donate, participate, discuss, and share about this important issue. I shared some of the strong women in my life, past and present. Who are some of the great female role models you have known?

Welcome to the Fifth Estate Available for Pre-Order

Geoff Livingston & The Fifth Estate

Welcome to the Fifth Estate is now available for pre-order with a release date of May 11! Special thanks to Mashable Editor In Chief Adam Ostrow for writing the forward to Welcome to the Fifth Estate. This introduction offers the experienced journalist’s view of an ever changing media landscape that has moved from blogs to group texting on mobile phones.

You must be thinking, yet another social media book… And from a guy who wrote one of the first social media books, Now Is Gone? Really? Well, after reading Now Is Gone again as well as the plethora of social media books that have been released since, a correction was needed with a stronger foundation in media theory and marketing fundamentals.

This book won’t pretend to be something it is not. Simply put, Welcome to the Fifth Estate guides executives and communicators towards generating a winning and sustainable social media strategy. In that sense, it is a social media book.

What distinguishes Welcome to the Fifth Estate?

  • Strategy: There will be no themed memes about engaging, conversations, instant response or personal branding. Instead, this book aims to advise you on how to get ready for, build and sustain a great online communications strategy. There is a whole chapter on specific social media strategies and a second on tactical implementation.
  • Experience: Seven awards later and dozens of social media initiatives for the likes of the American Red Cross, General Dynamics, Google, the National 4-H Council, Network Solutions, and the United Way provides this book a depth of pragmatic experience-based conclusions that no other social media book offers.
  • Measurement: Part of building a great strategy includes knowing how to measure it. Kami Watson Huyse provides a guest chapter on how to build a measurement program.
  • Pitfalls and Sustainability: Two chapters deal with topics you normally don’t see in social media books. Chapter Two deals with the weaknesses and dangers social media presents for your organization. Chapter Seven provides concrete ways to stay relevant once your effort becomes a success.
  • Commercial and Nonprofit Case Studies: Each of the seven chapters features two in-depth case studies, one commercial, one nonprofit. Every case study has a tangible outcome associated with it a la the prior point on measurement.

If your job involves communicating online, then this book will help you. It is designed specifically to become an off-the-shelf tool that supports your real efforts with guidance that has worked for many other organizations. In that sense, Welcome to the Fifth Estate should become more useful than your average business book. That is a guarantee.

Please pre-order your copy of Welcome to the Fifth Estate today!

Why Tech Already Has Women (And Why They’re Better Than Arrington)

UPDATE: Robert Scoble believes our comments are taken out of context, and has offered this Cincast on his views about women in tech. We appreciate Mr. Scoble’s participation in this important topic, and wish to encourage all parties to discuss the matter.

UPDATE: Robert Scoble has shared his thoughts on Women in Tech. You can view his take here.

Women of WiFi, after Caillebotte

Image: “Women of WiFi, after Caillebotte” by Mike Licht,

by Danny Brown and Geoff Livingston (Cross posted on Danny’s blog)

Contrary to Violet Blue’s disappointing stance about women in tech in 2010, this year saw a terrible new trend, the outright enforcement of the glass ceiling in technology.  First there was Michael Arrington’s terribly ignorant rant, followed verbally by the likes by Robert Scoble and Ms. Blue, as well as the visual use of boobs to sell copies of WIRED by Chris Anderson and crew.

Before opining too much, here are some statistics for you (the first three were originally cited by Allyson Kapin in Fast Company):

In spite of the statistical advantages of women in tech, negative trends towards male speakers and executive leadership continue. Worse, reading this negative enforcement of sexism in tech has been a damn shame. Working with great women in tech — Susan Murphy, Beth Kanter,  Kami Huyse, Allyson Kapin, Amber MacArthur, Sarah Prevette, Lisa Kalandjian and Cali Lewis to name a few this year — has been a phenomenal experience for both of us, and they demonstrate every day how brilliant and capable they are.

In fact, these women are better than the likes of Arrington and crew, because they would never allow themselves to demean an entire race, gender or religious sect of people on the Internet.  Even if they had such feelings (which we doubt), they would rise above this kind of baseless attack to offer solutions.

Then again, perhaps that shouldn’t come across as too surprising. TechCrunch is hardly the purveyor of common sense and good “fights,” as they’ve shown continuously in the past with their attacks on PR, CEOs, bloggers – basically anyone who doesn’t bow to Arrington’s missives.

There are certainly issues for women, as pointed out by Allyson Kapin in the above articles as well as many other women who discuss this issue. Men have a role in it, too, as evidenced by this year’s newest glass blowing experiences.  Moving forward, men need to be more active about providing solutions to create a more level playing field. For example:

  • Actively support women in business, both through choices of partners, vendors and employees, and in promotion.
  • Support men and women trying to help women.  Whether it’s Girls, Inc., supporting female entrepreneurs abroad, efforts to highlight Women Who Tech, or a host of other efforts, support women.
  • Stop trashing and reacting to women trying to succeed.  Rather than get into throw downs about how women create their own problems in tech — or worse revert to past bad practices like conferences for men — work to create an inclusive balanced playing field for every human being.
  • If you are a man and you don’t like these types of actions against women — posts, magazine articles, speaking rosters — say something. When both genders actively voice dissatisfaction in this matter, it becomes a powerful statement.
  • Instead of supporting old structures for speaking — such as soliciting speaking submissions from chest beating male A-Listers — build an editorial mission for the conference, and seek out great male and female speakers beyond the comfortable and immediate social network.
  • Stop thinking with the mindset that “women” and “success” are two words that – together – are news, and start thinking it’s the norm.
  • Think of the challenges your great-grandmother, grandmother and (possibly) your mother went through to be someone. Then ask if you’d want that still, and add your wife or daughter into the mix. Would you want them to be viewed as “unique” because of their industry choice? And that’s “unique” in a negative way, not in a good one-of-a-kind way.

To be fair, this isn’t an isolated issue with the technology sector. Think of a lot of industries, and you’ll find that women are often viewed as second-best to their male counterparts. They may have won the vote but it’s clear that women still trail men when it comes to advancement, recognition and financial reward compared to their male peers in too many industries.

But it’s even more evident in the technology sector, where too many geek overlords want to keep the sandpit for themselves, and maybe the women can solder a chip or connect a conference call between the male kingfishers.

And it’s just plain stupid. For every Michael Arrington there’s a Bindi Karia; for every Robert Scoble, there’s a Gina Trapani; for every Chris Anderson there’s a Stephanie Agresta. And with new innovators being sponsored to come through from India, and developing countries making women and technology one of their key focuses, these names (and others like them) will only be added to.

Frankly, an argument can be made that most of the modern gender imbalance issues are rooted in men not consciously looking for great women, as opposed to them not existing. 2011 can be a year where forward progress can be made — by both women and men.  Let’s hope the community joins together in working towards that goal.  Given how great women are in business, why wouldn’t you?

About Danny Brown

For readers who aren’t familiar with Danny, he is co-founder and partner at Bonsai Interactive Marketing, a full service marketing agency offering integrated , social media and mobile marketing solutions and applications. He’s also the founder of the 12for12k Challenge, a community-driven social media charity initiative to connect globally and help locally that’s raised over $100,000 since inception in 2009. His top ranked blog is featured in the AdAge Power 150 list as well as Canada’s Top 50 Marketing Blogs, and won the Hive Award for Best Social Media Blog at the 2010 South by South West festival.