Now is Gone – Book Review

Earlier this month, in the column Search Marketing by the Book, I mentioned I hadn’t read Geoff Livingston’s highly acclaimed Now Is Gone: A Primer on New Media for Executives and Entrepreneurs. Geoff commented on the post and offered to send a review copy, and I was able to plow through it on my recent trip to Dallas.

I’m a big fan of the Now is Gone blog; I’ve been reading it for months, and it’s one of the greatest sources of information for posts that I forward on to my colleagues (though admittedly I’m remiss about sharing my favorites here, on Twitter, or elsewhere).

As for the book, it’s a great primer for public relations professionals and a good primer for marketers who don’t have too much experience with social media marketing. As a starting point, it’s one of the most accessible books I’ve read. As Geoff notes in the book, the focus is on strategy and not tactics, so it’s not a how-to guide. There’s more of that in Groundswell.

It’s tough reviewing this book as someone who works in the social media space, as I’m not the target audience for the book. I already know most of the case studies in the book, from Coke’s Virtual Thirst to GM’s Fastlane blog, and the strategies are all familiar. Yet would I recommend this to a PR executive or client looking to get started? Absolutely. A friend of mine who’s a PR consultant laments about how some execs at a firm he works with is years behind on all of this, and I’d easily recommend he use this book to educate them.

The other challenge with this book is Groundswell. That book is the most important book on social media I’ve read, one I can’t recommend enough for people in so many different roles at so many different types of organizations. In some ways, this book is Groundswell Lite. That can also be an advantage though. For someone who needs a quicker read to wade into social media marketing, Now is Gone is the first book I’d recommend. Groundswell, though, has the strategy and case studies (far more of both), along with the first-hand research, plus the insights from two gifted analysts.

If you’re only going to read one book on social media, go for Groundswell. If the whole notion of Groundswell intimidates the heck out of you, or you need a one-sitting airplane, pick up Now is Gone.