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Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me: Book review

Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Twitter - it doesn't take a fool to tell you they're all massively popular.

Heck, even the new online drama Reservoir Hill uses social interaction, texting and Bebo to help Beth as she negotiates her new life in a new town.

But let's be honest - how many of us have ever thought there's too much of a proliferation of these types of media and that we're not exactly sure how best to cut through the noise and chatter and use them to make a success of a company?

Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me - What Online Social Networking Means For Your Business by author Penny Power takes a look at how best to utilise the online social media for the benefit of your business - rather than finding your company's alerts confined to the spam bin or ignored by the masses.

I hadn't heard of Penny Power before - a 45-year-old mother of three who, in 1998 set up Ecademy, a business networking company that helps other newbies to the genre boost their profiles within the marketplace.

The beginning of the book backgrounds Penny, how she set up the Ecademy and rode out the dot com bubble burst - Penny seems to have a moral approach to the social media and networking and believes many of the big businesses operate immorally and socially irresponsibly. It's this attitude which shaped her early forays into the market and boosted her desire to set up an organisation which would share ideas and do more to help its members.

It's interesting to note that in the early parts of the book, she's adopted a didactic approach and the initial stages of the book reads like a series of powerpoint presentations with a slightly headmasterly tone. While it softens a little later on, it has to be said it doesn't make it easy to plough through - but it is informative and helps you build more of an insight into her as a business woman.

The book takes in the recent US Presidential campaign and how that was shaped by the likes of the facebook pages and web, details stories on experiences of members of the Ecademy as well as expanding how to build a better brand for You as a user and poster on sites.

She also talks about how to 'Know Me' as a network is about getting the message out to as many people as possible - although 'Like Me' is about providing depth and personality to that network. In other words, you may have 500 or so friends on Facebook, Bebo et al, but how many of those people look at your postings and think "Oh no, not another one."

It's a sobering thought and perhaps a slightly frightening one for those who are just venturing into the big ever wide world of social media.

As I got further into the book, I have to admit to being in awe of the amount of different ways to communicate with people and build networks - and, while there's some clarity on how to increase your personal worth (such as blog regularly and with good content rather than a scattergun approach) I wasn't 100% clear as to how I wouldn't become a spammer of people over different social media networks.

That said, the discussion and distillation of philosophies and tools does make this book an important guide as businesses continue to look to ways to improve their standing - both financially and socially.

It may not be the easiest read in places, but Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me - What Online Social Networking Means For Your Business is an interesting take on what to do better - and given the Ecademy has survived for 11 years now with a membership of some 250,000 she's certainly in a position to help refresh people's thinking and understanding of the opportunities in the marketplace.

Rating: 6/10

Title: Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me - What online social networking means for your business
Author: Penny Power
Publisher: Hachette
RRP: $47.99
Available: Now!