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"Twitterville" by Shel Israel - Book Review

Quick disclaimer: This is a sincere book review and it contains my honest opinions, and I haven't been compensated in any fashion for this.  That being said, I consider Shel Israel to be a friend now, so I will dispense with any formality (i.e. I won't be referring to him as "Mr. Israel" here).

Having had a chance to speak with Shel Israel when he appeared twice on our radio show this past year, and having met him in person when he was in Austin, I was looking forward to acquiring my own copy of his latest book, "Twitterville". 

In a nutshell, Shel did not disappoint with this effort, managing to cover Twitter from almost every conceivable business angle.  Non-profit? Check.  Medicine?  Check.  Politics?  Indeed.  Local businesses?  Absolutely.  What about big business?  Yes.  It's all here. 

Shel has a broad understanding of public relations and corporate marketing strategies, and frankly, it shows here.  If you're looking to create a social media marketing plan, this book is certain to give you some new ideas.  In fact, I would be surprised if "Twitterville" didn't stimulate some new methods and techniques that you can implement with your own business.

You will learn about what some businesses are doing right when it comes to social media engagement (think Zappos and Comcast), and which ones missed the mark altogether.  You will also read about customers who are forming groups of their own around specific brands.

At just under 300 pages, this is a relatively quick read, and Shel keeps things moving along by providing plenty of "real world" stories to illustrate his points.  He did a great job of locating the stories themselves, then an even better job of distilling them into a holistic work that supports his thesis.  Speaking of which, the main thrust here is that Twitter is a revolutionary business tool which serves to bring people together and makes things happen that might not otherwise have happened.  In essence, the world is made smaller and more intimate.  The full title is "Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods", which is appropriate.

Shel also covers the history of Twitter from its inception and its public debut at SXSW in 2007.  I got a better feel for the guys who run the show by reading his take on them and their distinct personalities and backgrounds.  He also details a handful of social media rockstars who are just plain doing things the right way, including Chris Brogan, Veronica Belmont, and Jeremiah Owyang.

"Twitterville" will remain on my bookshelf as a reference book, and I can't recommend it enough if you want to gain a better understanding of how Twitter serves to interconnect millions of lives, projects, and conversations. 

To pick up your own copy, visit


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