Book review: The Tao of Twitter

Picture of Ville Kilkku holding The Tao of Twitter by Mark W. SchaeferIn The Tao of Twitter, Mark W. Schaefer sets out to provide an instruction manual on Twitter for business users, because he attributes the fact that many Twitter users quit shortly after starting to the lack of good guidelines on what to do after you have your account set up and have sent your first tweets.

The book begins with a story on how Mark himself “got” Twitter after spending some time trying to figure it out. There are also many other stories in the book on how Twitter has been both beneficial and fun, and these stories are the strongest part of the book. Mark knows how to write an engaging and persuasive story, and his tales provide valuable insights on how to make Twitter an integral and enriching part of your life. Most of the stories are also unique to this book, and not the usual success stories.

His stories may make you all excited about Twitter, but he does not stop there. The book also provides clear guidelines on how to get the most out of Twitter, which Mark calls the Tao of Twitter: establishing targeted connections, creating and sharing meaningful content, and being genuinely helpful. Mark carries on to provide practical advice on how to pursue this path, some in detail although not in great length.

In case the stories do not spark your business interest in Twitter, Mark also provides some statistics on how Twitter users are vocal and influential online. While that becomes established, I think this is ultimately the weakest part of the book, because the figures are not successful in creating a compelling overall picture: all the figures look good, but the show does not cover enough ground. Mark himself partially admits this when he recommends using good stories or a pilot project to show the benefits.

As for the stories, I should point out that they are not fairy tales. Mark’s blog, {grow}, and his presence on Twitter show that he walks the walk. Whether that walk is for everyone is something The Tao of Twitter does not establish: while the only case in the book where Twitter is found not to be a good channel for someone is a case where the person himself just does not want to tweet, the book does not provide enough data to say that this is the only case where Twitter does not work.

The Tao of Twitter is easy to read in a single evening. Its 96 pages are enough to provide the basic instruction manual on Twitter that Mark set out to create, and it is a good primer on Twitter. As for convincing someone who does not know Twitter at all to join in, it all depends on how well the stories are received, as the presented figures do not paint complete enough a picture.

The Tao of Twitter is available, for example, on Amazon.

Author: Ville Kilkku

I run my own consultancy business, so if you find the ideas on this blog intriguing, contact me at consulting@kilkku.com or call me at +358 50 588 5043 and we can discuss how I can help you solve your business problems. I am currently based in Tornio, Finland, but work globally. Google+