Jason Yormark

Socialnomics Book Review

I debated whether to post a book review as I experienced flashes of high school busy work, but Socialnomics is certainly relevant to my world, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Seeing as it is freshly released, I thought it might be useful to get a review out there for potential readers.

For those of you looking for the quick and dirty, Socialnomics reads quick, is filled with interesting socialnomicsreal world stories, and is basically 265 pages of argument that social media is not only here, but ready to transform the way we live our lives and do business (his tagline actually).  Socialnomics will not necessarily teach you how to use tools, convey strategy, or equip you with resources to act on.  I recommend The Social Media Bible or The New Community Rules: Marketing On The Social Web if you are looking for a resource like that.

Socialnomics is written by Erik Qualman, most well known for his contributions over at Search Engine Watch and on the tradeshow circuit.  He’s done his homework on this one as it’s filled with a ton of real world examples of how a handful of businesses have won and lost in the social media game.  Whatever Socialnomics may lack in tactics and strategy, it more then makes up for in these extremely useful stories, case studies and examples of how social media has taken the world by storm.  Most people with a pulse can tell you that Facebook and Twitter are all the rage, but Socialnomics drives it home with detailed examples from organizations that have embraced social media and found huge success (Obama’s campaign detailed in Chapter 4), to companies that have missed the boat (see Hasbro’s Scrabble incident in Chapter 7).  It’s interesting stories like these that really drive home how powerful social media can be when taken seriously.

As I mentioned above, it’s not really a book to teach you how to integrate social media into your day to day strategy, but one to inspire you to do so.  I’m not so sure social media “experts” (if there even is such a thing), will have too many “ah ha” moments, but it’s still a refreshing read, especially considering there are few books on the subject.  For me, the real value this book brought me as a social media/community professional, was providing me with more ammunition to evangelize and sell social media and community building strategies to potential clients and employers.  After reading the book, I felt more equipped to really take this evangelism to another level by being able to use the stories and case studies to share with others.  Of course you can find things like this online for free in a variety of places, but it’s nice to have a hard resource like Socialnomics to reference and pull out when needed.

  • A few other tidbits that I really enjoyed about this book.
  • The book doesn’t necessarily have to be read start to finish.  You could easily jump around and not miss a step as each chapter is it’s own self-sustaining topic not requiring the previous ones.
  • I love books like these that go the extra mile and summarize the chapter you’ve just read through bullet points as Qualman does here.  It makes it so much easier to go back and get a refresher.
  • I also love Qualman’s writing style, very informal and narrative.  Makes for a more enjoyable read.
  • Tons of notes referenced throughout the book at the end to dive into when and if needed, most with URLs to the source
  • If you haven’t seen the “trailer” for the book, it’s a must see.

For more information on the author, check out his Socialnomics blog here, his articles at Search Engine Watch or simply get the book.  It’s worth it!


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Jason Yormark
I'm a 20 year veteran of digital marketing & the owner and founder of Socialistics, a social media agency based in Seattle. My spare time is filled with writing, baseball, my boys and everything Seattle has to offer.


  1. Greg, I wholeheartedly agree from your article regarding that it is foolish to write off “old media” (I touch on it here in case you might think I'm a flip flopper: http://jyormarkblog.wpengine.com/2009/08/17/controll…).

    Sparking controversy has always been a tried and true tactic to increase readership and conversation. I can't speak for Erik, but perhaps articles like the Boeing example are one of those. I've got to believe that anyone with a background like his would still see the value in old media, and realize that not all marketing campaigns ROI relate directly to sales and in fact larger issues.

    I've had the luxury of some “old media” experience before digital blew up and perhaps that helps me stay grounded. But I certainly see the trend you speak of with those that haven't and have blinders to other methods. There in same boat as the self proclaimed “social media” experts whose only qualifications tend to be a large Twitter following and a bunch of nifty icons on their blog to every social network on the net.

    Thanks for stopping by, and sharing. You've got another interested reader.

  2. Jason

    Thanks for the reply:-) and I really enjoyed your post about communities.

    I agree that Qualman doesn't seem like one of those “Social Media Charlatans” who are so annoying and dishonest. He genuinely seems to know what he's talking about and, more importantly, he seems to help people and further the discussion.

    However, I don't think the post was a ploy to get attention. If it was, why would he pick Boeing of all companies?

    I've checked into his background a bit and, although he's worked with some major brands he doesn't seem to have had any experience with general brand development. I think he was just viewing the Boeing campaign through the prism of his own experience (like my Eastern European friends) and missing the bigger picture.

    To be fair, I believe most of the silliness is due to the dismissive attitude that the marketing profession gave to people on the digital side for so many years. The type of group think that produces arrogance was actually somewhat necessary for survival and self respect in the early, early days.

    However, Digital Media could compete much more effectively if they knew more about what they were competing against. One example, controlling frequency, is the subject of my next post:-)

    Thanks again for getting back to me.

    – Greg

  3. I wonder sometimes that what will be the future of all these books on socialmedia. Reason being, social media itself is such a 24hr-present-out-there information bouquet of case studies and approaches that you only need a few hours of reading per week on not more than a couple of blogs aggregation sites like SMT etc on this topic and subscribe to a couple of handpicked feeds on postrank and you have all that you need to know its history, present and its short term future! Plus the related blogs/links feature on most of these online sources really help you dig in one particular direction if you so wish! Interesting thing is, most of these new technology authors already have blogs with rich content and so a person already knows more than 50% about the author's approach to a problem, his logical makeup of mind and his preferred analysis methods. Suppose someone writes a book on blogging… would you be interested in buying & reading the paper -nohyperlink- version on that subject OR just lookup on Google for a blog about this? 🙂 .. My natural tendency will be to go for 2nd option.. Its like living in online world and trying to sell a collection of 10 blogs in offline world 🙂

  4. I thought that too (which is why I got the book fresh off the press), but I do feel this book did a very good job of presenting useful case studies and stories that really drive home the potential for social media. I don't see myself reading too many books on the subject, because you're right, much of it is freely available online, but I do feel there can still be value in certain well written, insightful titles. Another I look forward to reading is Chris Brogan's Trust Agents.

  5. Nice review, Jason. And totally agree; there's nothing ground-breaking in the book. But certainly offers some good points for how a corporation can enhance the customer experience being more transparent.

  6. Nice review, Jason. And totally agree; there's nothing ground-breaking in the book. But certainly offers some good points for how a corporation can enhance the customer experience being more transparent.

  7. There are rarely times in history where a content rich book is published in the midst of the very revolution that it is addressing. Typically, those books are written after the fact, looking back in time. Socialnomics looks forward. As the leader of a company that is in the midst of this very transition–from “creating and pushing” to “engaging and listening,” I found Socialnomics to be timely, informative and full of very useful, practical information and case studies. If you want to harness the power of social media for your business, read Socialnomics.

  8. Thorough review. I just purchased Socialnomics and am just reaching the third chapter. I can't put it down! Very easy to read and has already given me a few ideas to brainstorm on.

  9. Thorough review. I just purchased Socialnomics and am just reaching the third chapter. I can't put it down! Very easy to read and has already given me a few ideas to brainstorm on.

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