Book Review: “Six Pixels of Separation”

Published in 2009, I read it in 2010, but just now reviewing it. So, a lot of my review is coming from what I highlighted with a yellow-marker. Overall, as a person who lives on the internet, the book seemed kind of basic to me. However, to companies and individuals that have ignored Web 2.0 and beyond, the book has a lot of practical advice.

Key quotes: “In the digital world there are NO degrees of separation between you and your customers” (Introduction) … “we live in a world where we can know everyone – and everyone can know us” (page 4).

The book describes itself as “your guide to understanding what these digital channels really are and how best to work within them to connect, communicate, share, and grow your business” (pages 5-6).

“We have an inherent trust in those who have taken the time to publish their personal feedback. there is a ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ at play here and an overriding faith in groups of individuals who have never met. ” (page 22) Later he gives an example of a band that put it’s album online, for sale, for as much (or as little) as the individual fan was willing to pay.

“Over half of all traffic to Wired magazine’s website, Wired.com, is to the archive. This creates a media paradox of the highest order.” (page 32). I’ve find similar results on my blog. People discover it by some very odd “long tail” searches. Later he adds “20 percent of all searches done on Google every single day have NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE.” (page 48).

Six free online tools you should be using now: (pages 58-63)

  1. Blog reader, such as Google Reader, to monitor blog RSS feeds
  2. News alerts
  3. Watchlists (for example, Technorati offers a free service that can notify you when you or your company is mentioned in over 130 million blogs).
  4. Google Blog Search
  5. Search engines (know where you rank in the various search engines).
  6. Google Trends and Facebook Lexicon – allows you to compare your brands with others.

I was surprised to learn this: “A negative review actually converts to a sale more effectively than a positive review. The average consumer review is 4.5+ out of 5.0” (page 82). The point here is to begin using reviews on all your products, and don’t be afraid of the negative ones. The “Wisdom of the Crowd” does really matter.

One blog from Engadget.com, regarding an internal delay, caused Apple’s stock to plummet by over $100 million. (page 89).

He quotes Marketing magazine (April 30, 2007) “You are no longer in control of your marketing messages.” … “Here’s what you can control: You can control whether or not you take part in it. (pages 93-97).

“Interesting things happen to those who dare to lead. Leaders tend to get some of the attention from the media surrounding the event.” (page 117)

“Today, in the Age of the Individual, you have to be your own brand. Here’s what it takes to be the CEO of Me Inc.” (page 126, quoting Tom Peters). This book, along with others, lead me to creating this blog as well as several others specialty blogs. Later the book adds, “You can’t fake passion. You also can’t fake your personal brand.” (page 130).

Not sure why, but my yellow highlights ran out about there… either I must have spead-read the remainder of the book, or moved on to some other book.

I don’t feel that I got to know the author, Mitch Joel (photo above), as much as I did Chris Brogan, one of the two authors of “Trust Agents”. You can read about the author Mitch Joel, President of “Twist Image” here: http://www.twistimage.com/about-mitch/ and listen to his podcasts/book-reviews here:
http://www.twistimage.com/podcast/. The book is definitely not a pitch just for his company; even after reading it’s “What we do” mission statement, I’m still not sure it’s clear. At the time I’m writing this, there are at least 264 episodes of his podcasts available on the above site.

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