Resource spotlight: Social by Social

Book cover for Social by Social, white text on red backgroundDo you ever get the feeling that you could be swept away by the latest online trend or fad? Virtually everyday brings us a shiny and new form of online interaction to play with.

Before you can get to grips with the last one, it’s all too easy to be swept away by the next. Could this application fit our organisation’s communication mix?

Lots of other people are grappling with the same questions, so there is plenty of good advice around.

I’ve come across another useful guide to add to the veritable toolkit. Social by Social is “a practical guide to using new technologies to deliver social impact”. You can tackle the guide as book, downloadable as a free PDF, or view individual pages on the website. Although it is written for a UK audience, it is very relevant in these parts of the globe.

The focus is on principles and setting things in context. Detailed case studies with 10 pioneers from a range of fields offer many insights. These are 2-3 pages each, so it’s there is enough detail to be genuinely helpful.

There is an emphasis on drawing out some of the processes that make things work, as well as the more mechanical aspects of implementing web projects. I’m struck by the advice to ensure you commit your budget three ways: building/ modifying a platform; promotion; and ongoing support. It’s a recipe I wish I’d followed on a couple of projects I’ve worked on.

The authors acknowledge contributions from a wide range of people who contributed to creating the guide. Many people commented on early drafts that were made available online to elicit feedback. Despite attracting 150 plus members an allied social networking space for people working on ‘social by social’ doesn’t seem to have endured.

What I most like best about Social by Social is that it’s ripened with age. The publication was released in 2009 by a team authors who are experienced veterans of using the online world to support communities.

I actually find it reassuring when I find a resource that is still relevant after being published a few years ago. Such is the trend for the latest and greatest thing online to take precedent, it can feel like you’re standing in quicksand when you try to come to grips with what it all means. In this case, some maturation adds to Social by Social’s value. It is very relevant.