The Now Revolution by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund is a decent book that you don’t need to read. It’s intended audience is not you, a blogger with a dream and a Twitter account, and even then, this book could have been executed much more effectively.
The Now Revolution has a lot going for it. Two awesome bloggers combine their powers to produce something better than than the two of them could alone. It’s got a lot of social media buzz happening, and it seems like it could be a major shift in social media books. Still, I think this is a book most social media people will read once, think about for an hour or so, and then put back on their shelf where it will live until it is sent to their public library as a donation years from now.
It’s not a book about how to do social media, but at the same time, it is. The chapters on listening, crisis management, and measuring return on investment (ROI) are all excellent resources about how to handle those aspects of social media. This book is not meant to be read by bloggers like me, but rather the higher managers and c-suite executives who make big decisions for businesses. Still, the authors are trying to spread the word through bloggers like me. I don’t know about you, but a blog that says F#*k you, Facebook usually isn’t my first thought of a place that has an ear with the CEO every morning.
The last three chapters of The Now Revolution are the best. They’re the least vague and wishy-washy, and tell you how to set up your business to accomplish goals in listening, measuring ROI, and social media crisis management without being too preachy or saying there is only one right way to do it. They give real, practical information that a business can use to improve their social media efforts. Not much of the information was new to me because it’s the type of thing I do for my clients in my day-to-day work, but if you’re new to the game, this is good stuff.
Here are the 8 things I despised about The Now Revolution. These are the things I felt took away from the valuable information, and were the things that made me stop and go “WTF?!”
- This Book is 7 Extended Blog Posts – The Now Revolution reads like the longest blogs posts you’ve ever read. To me, the book is 7 very long blog posts that are tied together in a hardcover. At times I felt like I was reading copy that was destined for search engine optimization, rather than a cohesive and coherent narrative.
- The Chapter on Hiring - I know nearly every employee now has a Facebook profile, a LinkedIn Profile, and other pieces of an online presence, but that doesn’t give employers the right to stalk them using social networks. It’s extremely easy for anyone to look at one tweet and blow it that information out of proportion. The authors even go so far as to suggest this type of search can supplement a true background check service. We have enough problems getting people to work right now without having to deal with HR managers who are stalking candidates on Twitter.
- Bad Grammar - Normally, I don’t read books with pens sitting next to me. Because I knew I’d be reviewing The Now Revolution, I made sure to have my pen next to me to mark things I like and things I disliked. As I did that, I also found myself correcting grammar in places instead of taking notes. If I, a blogger who admittedly has problems with spelling, typos and grammar can find these, someone wasn’t doing his or her job.
- Terrible language - “Engineer a New Bedrock.” “Follow the Humanization Highway.” “Emphasize Response-ability.” What the hell are these? Bedrock is formed naturally by geological processes, response-ability is the worst pun I’ve read in years, and I still have no clue what a humanization highway is. There was one chapter where there was a bad simile in every third paragraph. Writing should be fun and it should be able to stir the imagination with images and ideas that didn’t exist previously, but we can do it without confusing the reader and writing down to them.
- The Microsoft Tags – Jay and Amber use Microsoft’s weird version of QR codes so readers can access more information outside of the book with their smartphone. These tags added so little value to the book. With the space they take on the page must have added an additional ten pages alone because they are so big. It would have been much easier for me go to a URL using my computer, because I have a nice big screen to read from and it’s infinitely easier for me to save things for later using my computer. Also, by using these tags without any URLs, the authors presume everyone reading the book has a smartphone. There’s nothing like needing a $200 phone with a $100 monthly bill to get all the value out of a $13 book.
- The bad graphics – I’ve seen better graphics designed with the publishing program I had on my first DOS Machine in the late 1980s. The images and charts used in the book are terrible, and I think they actually take away from the stuff of quality in the book. They are that distracting. Jay and Amber – when either of you write another book, I offer my services to illustrate if you so choose.
- The blog ads and speaking ad in the back of the book - I don’t know which is worse, the ad to bring Jay and Amber as speakers, or the ads for their blogs. These stink of desperation and gratuitous self-promotion. They make me as a reader think I didn’t get value from the product.
- The two pages of testimonials INSIDE the book – Now, for all I know, this could be dictated by the publisher. Still, regardless of whether the sin was committed by the authors or the publisher, I worry about the content of a book when the first two pages I read tell me how good the next 200 pages are going to be.
You don’t need to read The Now Revolution. Unless you’re a business owner or an executive, you’re not going to get much out of this book. If you are a business owner and are getting into the social media game, you’ll want to read the last three chapters. Find a sucker friend who has the book and borrow it from them to read it, or fork over the $9.99 to read it on Kindle.
If you’ve read The Now Revolution, I want to know what you think. Am I being a crazy curmudgeon, or is this book really deserving of those two pages of praise?
Win a Copy of The Now Revolution
I’ll make it easier for you. I’m giving you the chance to win a copy of The Now Revolution. All you have to do is draw a picture of a social media bacon cat, whatever the hell you think that is, and leave a link to it in the comments by February 18. 2011. I don’t care if you use crayons, Photoshop, pencils, or MS Paint. I wanna see what you think a social media bacon cat is. I’ll be picking the winner randomly from all selections and sharing all entries later.
Disclosure: I won two copies of The Now Revolution, one to review and another to give away, and I wouldn’t otherwise pay to read this book.