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For companies looking to increase exposure and revenues in today's online environment, leveraging social technologies is serious business. Any project or venture using social technologies requires a strategy, an oversight structure, and mechanisms to measure the outcome. Shah (social software enablement, IBM Software Group) here documents these best practices and identifies patterns and metrics as well. Do not let the slim size of this text fool you; this is quite a dense read and is extremely granular in nature. Furthermore, the book has a strong emphasis on IBM solutions, which might make it more difficult for smaller businesses to embrace the advice. VERDICT While the advice offered here on macro- and micro-level activities is technically applicable to any social project or initiative, readers may not always be able to relate to the content or the examples. In the end, this is a scholarly text appropriate for only the most serious-minded and is potentially an excellent resource for MBA programs.-Judy Brink-Drescher, Molloy Coll. Lib., Rockville Centre, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Shah (IBM) aims to help readers understand social computing and social networking tools, but his work is vitiated by limited coverage of key social networking platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. One intriguing example presented is Amazon's "plogs" (product blogs), in which authors write about their products and doings. Other examples are interesting, though some perhaps are not useful to most readers. These include IBM's InnovationJam (150,000 business partner online event), Amazon's inclusion of customer reviews as a burgeoning collaborative community, and even Disney's Club Penguin. Shah discusses technological developments such as cloud computing, though their applicability to social networking is not adequately considered. He also examines Wikipedia's dynamic quality control process and covers collaborative approaches such as social brainstorming, "crowdsourcing" (doing a project through a large group), relationship mapping and mining, and location-centered social interactions. Informative chapters describe what is involved in creating information socially and mapping the engagement activities of social group members, including a model for identifying commitment as a lens to examine a social group's formation and evolution over a life cycle. A more useful overview of this topic for students is The Social Media Bible by Lon Safko and David K. Brake (CH, Sep'09, 47-0374). Summing Up: Optional. Most appropriate for practitioners. C. Wankel St. John's University, New York