Today Neville Hobson (@jangles) posted: "Curious: had another request for recommendation on what's the best book on social media. That's 4 requests just this week."
Minutes later, he RT'd a reply from @dsgold: "I don't recommend books on social media since they're outdated the day they're printed. Start with @Mashable and go from there"
If pressed sufficiently hard, I would probably say that Online Public Relations 2nd Ed was the best... Well, one of the best that was published in 2009, anyway
You can see where @dsgold is coming from, but there are clear limitations this approach. Mashable has no guiding structure, no intro or conclusion, but more importantly it has opportunity for reflection - you can't understand the broader significance of an historical event just by reading newspapers.
One of the problems with conventional books (whether printed or Kindled) is it they take a long time to emerge; six to nine months from delivery of manuscript to book in store is considered a quick turnaround.
This is a real problem when your topic is as fast-moving as social media. David and I tried to avoid too many references to specific platforms or services as we knew they would be out of date way before OPR2 hit the shelves but we still have a book that is, at best, greying at the temples. A simple update is hardly enough. Ok we could update the number of Facebook users and we could include more on geolocation now we know about Foursquare, but that's simply not good enough.
Somehow we need to find a format that allows more than routine updating of the topical, we need to develop a more organic approach.
We need to curate Online PR. As I write, McAfee is updating my virus checking software. I buy the product, and a licence that gives me free updates for a year. Often the updates are pretty small, but occasionally they require a restart, which suggest the underlying structure iof the programme is being adapted.
Now there's a publishing model that @dsgold might approve of. I certainly would and, you never know, it might win a recommendation from @jangles!