As anybody who has been reading The Job Stalker blog over the past half year or so will know, I have been relying predominantly on Twitter in my current job search, for job leads, information on networking events, keeping up with contacts made at networking events, and for those story links that I share in here every Friday. So, it's no surprise that I was very taken with Twitterville when I encountered it last fall.
Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods is the latest book from Social Media commentator Shel Israel (@ShelIsrael), who was a guest speaker at one of the Chicago Social Media Club's monthly events towards the end of last year. As he notes below, Shel has a background as a reporter, and this book is a bit like him taking on the role of a "beat writer" in the ever-expanding world of Twitter. As an aside, I was just answering a question posted as a comment to my review where the person was asking about Twitter "fading away" ... I dug up some info which indicated that Twitter had added nearly a hundred million new accounts between April '09 and April '10 ... which gives you some idea of the explosive growth the platform has had of late!
Obviously, this book is not about the job search, and, frankly, Israel only mentions using Twitter for finding jobs in passing (in a discussion on professional networking) once. This is primarily a look at how businesses are using Twitter. However, as Twitter is the base for all of my job-search activities, I figured that featuring this here made a lot of sense. After getting his agreement to do this interview, I did ask Shel to steer his answers a bit to the job search ... here's his response:
Q: Briefly, what's your background?
A: I'm a trained journalist. Spent 12 years as an editor and reporter before joining the dark side, better known as PR, where I spent 25 years working mostly with tech start ups. Now I consult companies of all sizes on issues related to social media.
Q: Have you had notable job-transition experiences?
A: Let's see. I went from writing speeches for the governor of Massachusetts to driving a taxi in Mill Valley, CA, to doing high-tech PR in Silicon Valley. Does that qualify?
Q: Why did you decide to write a book about Twitter?
A: One day, a student named James Buck tweeted that he had been arrested while photographing the Egyptian Nile Delta food strikes. A day later, the US State Department sprung him out. I decided that Twitter had enough interesting stories going to make a good book.
Q: Do you have any insights on using Twitter in the job search?
A: It is rapidly becoming a jobs marketplace, a venue where applicants, hirers and recommenders all interact transparently. There has never been anything like it.
Q: If you had just ONE piece of advice for today's job searcher, what would that be?
A: Use social media tools.
Q: What do you feel makes your book unique?
A: There are 43 books on Twitter by my last count. Most tell you how to or why to. I am a story teller. I tell the stories of people who used Twitter to succeed for themselves and then I let readers figure out how to best use the tools themselves without the use of bulleted lists.
Q: Aside from your book, what resources do you recommend?
A: I regret to say, book shelves and internet are filled with great social media resources.
Q: Any additional words of wisdom?
A: When searching for work, you will find the best job available for you, if you show who you really are to a perspective employer.
As always, a more in-depth look at the book is over in my review.