Why I Don’t Blog About Social Tools

John Wall's Sweet J Filtered
I re-edited this John Wall jumper photo with Snapseed, one of my favorite social tools for photo sharing.

People frequently ask my opinion about social networks and applications. While I oblige requests individually, generally I don’t proactively seek to give advice or blog about tools unless the discussion revolves around a macro trend or impacts strategy.

It comes down to positioning, long term viability and personal interest.

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Big Dreams and SMART Goals

Above the Clouds

Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) differentiate stellar companies, says Jim Collins in his timeless classic, Good to Great. They’re also the things that drive business marketers nuts.

How can a big dream become attainable and time bound?

In Welcome to the Fifth Estate we talk about SMART goals (chapter authored by Kami Huyse), and in Marketing in the Round we add the ER (evaluate and reevaluate) to discuss SMARTER goals (brought to the conversation by co-author Gini Dietrich). SMART/ER Goals focus on Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound objectives.

BHAGs and SMART goals don’t have to conflict with each other. From the strategist’s perspective, far from it.
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Thank You for The Fifth Estate

Geoff Livingston & The Fifth Estate

Some authors write books without citing people. Others follow more academic, research-oriented approaches to documentation. In the spirit of journalism, it seems important to acknowledge sources, and give them credit for their work. The following 100 plus bloggers and online personalities were cited in Welcome to the Fifth Estate‘s 180+ footnotes.

The book itself, which has been delayed by a couple weeks, finally went to press yesterday. A big thank you to each and everyone of them! In all fairness, the best way to say thanks was to give them some old fashioned public acknowledgement and link love.

Before we get to the lists of sources, I also want to thank Jennifer Goode Stevens, Bill Sledzik and Tom Livingston (yes, Dad) for editing and making suggestions. Another special thank you should be provided to my business partner Kami Huyse, who drafted the chapter on measurement. Thank you to Adam Ostrow for writing an excellent introduction to Welcome to the Fifth Estate! And finally, Ike Pigott, a great friend, actually named the book after reading some draft material on my blog.

Independently, none of these sources shaped the book’s direction. Collectively, with several news reports and books mixed in, they are the very fabric of the text. While the endnotes in the text cite every individual work, the ensuing list either provides a link to one of the pieces cited or an author’s social property.

A-G

Chris Anderson, MD Anderson, Elliot Back, John Bell, Josh Bernoff, Anne Mai Bertelsen, Rohit Bhargava, Richard Binhammer, Olivier Blanchard, Lauren Bloom, Toby Bloomberg, Chris Boudreaux, Robin Broitman, Michael Donnell Brown, Shonali Burke, Pete Caputa, Doriano Carta, Connie Chan, James Chartrand, Patrick Crane, Anil Dash, Todd Defren, Peggy Duvette, Eric Eggertson, Jason Falls, Allison Fine

G-K

Susan Getgood, Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Gordon, Wendy Harman, Jocelyn Harmon, Scott Harrison, David Henderson, Chris Heuer, Shel Holtz, Linda Childers Hon, Kevin Houchin, Alexander Howard, Jackie Huba, Kami Huyse, Matthew Ingram, Shel Israel, Joseph Jaffe, Guido Juiret, Beth Kanter, Allyson Kapin, Avinash Kaushik, Joel Keller, Gary Kelly, Cindy King, Marshall Kirkpatrick

L-R

Tim Leberecht, Rick Levine, Carie Lewis, Charlene Li, Dr. Walter K. Lindenmann, Christopher Locke, Valeria Maltoni, Iain McDonald, Manesh Mehta, Mireya Navarro, Lee Odden, Kate Olson, Jeremiah Owyang, Katie Paine, Randy Paynter, Wendy Piersall, Isaac Pigott, Augie Ray, Andrew Redfern, F. John Reh, Laura Ries, Jay Rosen, Jackie Rosseau-Anderson

S-Z

Robert Scoble, Jaya Saxena, David Meerman Scott, Michael Schneider, Doc Searls, Andy Sernovitz, Aliza Sherman, Clay Shirky, David Sifry, Ryan Singel, Aaron Smith, Catharine Smith, Brian Solis, Michael A. Stelzner, Amy Stodgehill, Heidi Sullivan, Mark Story, Levi Sumagaysay, Mario Sundar, Clive Thompson, Robb Tokatakiya, Greg Verdino, Mike Volpe, David Weinberger, Joe Wikert, Jenna Wortham

Free Social Media Strategy Content

4 Types of Social Media Strategy for Businesses

Today, you are welcome to free content from the forthcoming book, Welcome to the Fifth Estate. It is a great pleasure to offer this to you as a loyal reader.

The Fifth Estate Strategy Wiki has two versions of the above powerpoint (for businesses and nonprofits) featuring the ideas presented in chapter four on strategy. It also has links to a dozen blog posts about strategy, many of which are not included in the book, and other resources. You can visit the wiki here. Please feel free to take this content and use it, and become a wiki member and add/comment/edit.

So many social media books have been published as vehicles for the personalities behind them. That would not be a successful outcome for Welcome to the Fifth Estate. This book is meant to provide ideas on how to create a strategy for social media within the context of a larger communications program. It will be a success if more practitioners understand and create effective strategies, rather than deploy tactics and tools alone. That means getting these ideas in the marketplace is the most important aspect of publishing the book.

There will be future updates to the wiki, including additional pages on tactics, measurement and sustainability. Expect more free information on this wiki, as well as an ongoing podcast of the book, which will disseminate the book’s ideas, again without cost to interested parties.

Thank you for your support.

How a Blog Reader Titled My Next Book

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When I announced the revision of my book Now Is Gone, I published a draft of the first chapter, “Welcome to the Fifth Estate.” A reader, Ike Pigott, who is very familiar with the first book, thought the primary theory and content was so different from the first one that it should be retitled.

Here is Ike’s comment on the Fifth Estate post:

Geoff – maybe “Welcome to the Fifth Estate” would have been a better title for the book. After all, it appears to be such a substantial rewrite, with all new case studies, that it would go beyond Second Edition status.

In actuality, Ike’s comment is very correct. More than 50% of the book is new, and of the remaining portions at least another quarter is significantly revised. The Fifth Estate theory runs throughout the book, giving it a new more dynamic view of how traditional and social media work together.

I broached the new title with Jeremy Kay of Bartleby Press. Jeremy agreed: It would be best to retitle the book given the substantive changes. So there you are! A blog reader titled my new book!

Now the arc with Ike goes further. He was actually a blogger on the Now Is Gone blog, and wrote the last post on the site. So he literally had the last word on Now Is Gone, and the first word — the title — on Welcome to the Fifth Estate! Thank you, Ike, many times!

Generally speaking, one of the approaches to writing this book has been publishing some raw draft material here. I committed to considering all comments as pieces of information that can better the book. And now you see it in action.

Please, friends, if you have something to add on one of these posts, do so. I promise to cite you if it’s used, and there are already two citations in the current draft as a result of these comments.