Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking

You know when you read something that is so great you want to just run down the street and tell everyone that they need to read it, like right now? Yeah, well that’s happened to me this weekend when I started (and finished) reading Share This!: How You Will Change the World with Social Networking, by Deanna Zandt.

Zandt is a media technologist as well as a consultant to key progressive media organizations including AlterNet and Jim Hightower's Hightower Lowdown, and hosts TechGrrl Tips on GRITtv with Laura Flanders. She specializes in social media, and is a leading expert in women and technology, which clearly gives her a unique background to write this book.

Some of the key ideas that Zandt explores in the book is looking at how social networks are places where we share stories and connect with others. I love that she recognizes that these are not necessarily new phenomena, but that she takes the time to help readers understand how the technology changes the spaces in which we do this as a society. She does this by discussing in depth the issues of trust, authenticity and privacy. At the heart of the book is examining how building empathetic relations really can change the world and she provides clear-cut examples of how this is possible.

This book is funny, engaging, and true to life. You’ll find yourself agreeing with Zandt at so many turns and understanding yourself in relationship to social media infinitely better after reading the book. And no matter what you background level in social media is I guarantee that you will find this book entertaining and useful. Also, I rarely ever read the “Resources” section of a book, but I think that this section may be one of the book’s greatest strengths. It answers the “so what do I do know” questions you may have, and has really great questions/answers related to some of the key themes, tips for individuals, and insights on how to manage information overload.

I really encourage other foundations as well as non-profit organizations to pick this book up, you'll benefit from Zandt's insight both personally and professionally, as you try to navigate the world of social media. After having finished the book, I’m even more excited to have the chance to hear Zandt speak at next week’s Personal Democracy Forum Conference. The theme of this year’s conference is the question, “Can the Internet Fix Politics” and I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about it.

Next up on my reading list will be The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change, by Allison Fine and Beth Kanter. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the book at the 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Atlanta this past April. I’ll be sure to post my review of it once I get the actual book in my hands!