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Monkeys with Typewriters – Myths and realities of social media at work – A Review

Posted by John Horniblow on Mar 24, 2010 in General, marketing 2.0, Social Media Marketing |


Monkeys with Typewriters – Myths and realities of social media at work.

There seems to be a lot of books that are be published about social media, the new digital marketing paradigm, and they are propagating as fast that the exponential growth of social media and networking. Most are, unfortunately, the non-descript how to do, or dummies guide to social media or how to use particular tool or a book rushed to print on hype. For the most part these serve their purpose but will be outdated by the time they publish or contain nothing more that are dry set of repetitive studies presented as a mind numbing, blunt string of wide eyed testimonies that say the “times are a changing”. I must say, save the print and spare me the drudgery please. Then I also must concede, I am not the target audience or buyer of such books.

Jemima Gibbons recently published book, Monkeys with Typewriters is quite different to those aforementioned book types. Its a new and refreshing read, a sparkling gem in a field of proliferating drudgery of “read this now and it will change your life” books. It also poignantly marks the period we are experiencing.

I must admit I do have a few books about digital convergence, digital economies and communications on my bookshelf . These are time markers that articulate what they see as present behaviours and guide future directions,: Being Digital, The Cluetrain Manifesto, Convergence Culture, Groundswell, and Secrets Of Social Media Marketing to name them. Monkeys with Typewriters is potentially another time marker, intelligently drawing upon history, the present and piecing together a jigsaw picture of trends. At it’s centre lies numerous informative and insightful conversations and stories. What’s profoundly different about his book is that is a narrative woven out of these conversations with about 50 thought leaders and practitioners the world of social computing ( and I must confess that I am one of the interviewees), written around their personal situations and personalities , their thoughts and experiences almost like investigative reportage. The actors in the narrative are drawn from a cast of influencers; startup CEO’s, corporate executives, academics, specialists, and noted pioneers in web 2.0. The narrative is structured into a framework of six defining trends or behaviors that mark the change in communications, information and the psychologies that are driving the flow of change. What it presents is a rich tapestry of current thinking and practices that harness the power of open information flow in the realtime web.

There’s no doubt, we do live in a time of somewhat profound and chaotic change in communications, knowledge and information flows. Borders are increasingly only geographical, businesses and countries are transforming and we are more connected than we ever have been before. Making sense of chaos and change is often quite hard as there are many factors at play. Monkeys with Typewriters is a must read if you want to make sense of the inter connectedness and how to behave in this new brave world.

As Jemima concludes in her wrapup about Wise Monkeys “Social media is not about technology. It’s about people, relationships, and conversations. The web is the enabler. If you can engage with and value this network and incorporate its collaborative properties.. then you are one step closer to business zen : an intuitive, harmonious and enlightened working environment.” I couldn’t phrase it better myself.

Here are some links to buy the book and Jemima’s Monkeys with Typewriters blog

This blog is published and maintained by John Horniblow AKA BladeDigital ™ : On the Cutting Edge

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