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Thursday, January 15, 2015

"Got Social Mediology" (Jay Izso)

TITLE: Got Social Mediology?: Using Psychology to Master Social Media for Your Business without Spending a Dime
AUTHOR: Jay Izso
PUBLISHER: Raleigh, NC, InterAction Press, 2014, (312 pages).

Master social media without spending a dime for your business? Sounds a little too far-fetched isn't it?  Perhaps it is, but chances are, many people would be piqued to find out more why Jay Izso, sometimes called "Internet Doctor" believes it is possible. With psychology and basic business sense, it is entirely possible through what Izso defines as "social mediology." It is not technology that is the main driving force in this new media for business. It is the psychology behind it.

Izso starts by listing down some social media "personalities" which essentially are the different behavioral traits. The "heartthrob" is one who lives, eats, walks, and sleeps all things social media. The "traveler" only does social media in short spurts through the day. The "fly on the wall" are mainly observers. The "benchwarmers" are waiting for things to happen before jumping in while the "rookie" knows how to create a profile but does not go any much deeper into social media. Others like the "curmudgeon" are totally against social media and avoids them like a plague. Izso aims to make converts of all these, to help the proponents push the envelope further and the naysayers to turn around and venture bravely into this brave new world. Three things sum up the authors intent. First, that social media is less about technological tools but more about human cultures. Second, social media is a unique form of communications which increase the interactive capacity. Third, understanding psychological principles will help one make the best use of social media.

Arguing that social media is always "social first and media second," Izso is telling us that the person is more important than the technologies behind social media. Why do people use social media? The key reason is because they feel connected. Using it stimulates dopamine in our brains, the chemical that makes us happy. Connectedness. Happiness. Free. That is tempting.

Izso debunks several myths surrounding the two extremities, like those who detest and avoid it; and those who embrace it to the extreme of uncritical trust. Readers will learn about the different tools and purposes behind LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Before venturing into the various platforms and their pros and cons, Izso spends time talking about what "social mediology" is.
  • It is knowing the user will get turned off by advertisements on social media just like search results
  • It is knowing the power of "liking" or "repin"
  • It is being present frequently so others will notice you
  • It is learning to associate business with personal posts, and link "likes" with the products offered
  • ...
The really interesting parts come when Izso gives us the inner look into the workings, and the pros and cons of using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Youtube, and other social media platforms. By beginning with LinkedIn, Izso knows the business audience well as LinkedIn has often been labeled the most "true social media business platform." After all, many employers and prospective employees use them for jobs, for fact finding about businesses, for networking about business associates, and so on. What was resume in the past is now increasingly LinkedIn. Moreover, it does not require frequent updates or interactions, but provides a convenient way to be visible to the business world. Forget name cards. LinkedIn is the new world that does more things than name cards. The important thing is about credibility, not the quantity of information or accolades we put on our LinkedIn profiles. Readers will learn techniques from as simple as a photo shot to something more selective, like groups to join.

He deals with Facebook next, and notes the statistics of FB users where more than half are over 25 years of age, 58% women and 62% having an income of over $100,000. This shows us that many FB users are affluent, and how FB is able to entice businesses to pay more for promoting their posts. Izso shows us some ways to promote our posts for free. The key is to understand the culture of FB, how EdgeRank works, and most importantly, why people use FB. Distinguish making friends (personal) from promoting products or services (business), and to learn how to promote businesses without interfering with the personal experience users want. The trick is to know when, what and how much to post. Don't forget that "follow up" is crucial.

With Twitter, the demographics change again, with 62% women users vs 38% men; and 51% of users having a college education. It is a "pop and information" culture that basically combines "celebrity status and valuable information." Izso feels that Twitter is not absolutely necessary for businesses but can be potentially useful as long as businesses understand its culture.

Filled with lots of reasoned observations and perceptive understanding of the way the technology works, the psychology of the user environments, and many very interesting pointers about how to utilize the potential of social media and avoid the pitfalls. I enjoy reading the underlying technologies and techniques explained without much technical jargon. The description of the pros and cons of the common social media tools give us a very good overview of what the technology can and cannot do. Information is key to using it well and Izso has done it with clarity and poise. There is no boring moment, especially for anyone who is familiar with social media tools. Even long-time users will learn a tip or two about the media as well as the kinds of people who tend to use the media. The separate segments allow readers to zoom into the social media platform of interest very quickly.

This book is an important read for businesses as it deals with issues more at a human level rather than a machine level.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of InterAction Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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