Revisiting recent themes ...


Those of you not into "personal branding", "social media", and the web in general (although I can't imagine that I'd have been able to keep many of the latter sort of readers around for long, given my focus on the job search via Twitter!) will be happy to hear that this is likely the last book of this genre to be featured in here for a while.  I am just about done with another, but it's way too "technical" for this space ... but I do have two more "job search" books that I'm going to be starting in over the next week or two.

That said, I'm pleased to be featuring Chris Brogan's new book, Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online which is practically an "encyclopedia" of information on the subject.  This is a collection of 87 posts from his blog, which covers pretty much everything you might want to know about the state of Social Media at this time.  Please check out my review for more details.

Now, I've tried to have "author interviews" here since I've been doing these book features, but given that I'd covered Chris' Trust Agents just a few weeks ago (link), and my questions are pretty much the same for each of the authors, it didn't seem to make sense to run the same answers! I had the idea of asking him for 8 "highlights" from SXSW, but both the Wiley publicist and he got back to me right away saying that he was so over-booked and behind on stuff, that it was probably not going to happen.

Needless to say, I was disappointed, as I thought it would be very interesting to find out what had specifically sparked his interest down in Austin over the past week or so.  In lieu of this, I dug around on the web, and found a few small video interviews from the conference.  While not exactly addressing the material I'd suggested, these are at least "interviews" ...

Click on each thumbnail to view video interview:

Regular readers will no doubt wonder how this relates to my little essay on Social Media and personal time (link) that I put in this space instead of an interview with Gary Vaynerchuk.  Obviously, there's a limit to what one can give attention to ... there are only 10,080 minutes in a week, and somebody with Brogan's "reach" in this arena has a lot of people looking for bits of his time.  In fact, if he did nothing but dole out his time to his Twitter followers (without working, eating, or sleeping), he'd have a whopping 4.7 seconds to give to each in a week.

In his latest blog entry he takes a look at this.  As I noted in my piece about Trust Agents, Brogan has been very dedicated to making himself available as much as humanly possible, but he appears to be coming close to "hitting the wall", and is starting to reconsider just what is feasible.  This is one of the frustrations that I've encountered in the whole "Social Media" orthodoxy of "endless reach", as while it is technically possible from the hardware side to be in contact with even millions of people, it seems that this is more than the human software can manage. 

There is a whole literature on this, focusing on what's come to be called Dunbar's Number, arising from the study of human social groups, this suggests that any given person can only have meaningful contact with about 150 other people.  This is approximately the size of neolithic tribal or village populations, and has, interestingly, continued to manifest in such structures as military units, with "company" size being about that number, ranging from the armies of Rome to modern forces.

It does make one wonder what the future holds for Social Media ... because it's starting to look like that we can do technologically is putting a lot of stress on those who attempt to adapt their neolithic-era primate brain settings to that new reality!  Anyway, do check out my review for more on Brogan's new book.

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