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by B.J. Mendelson

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-250-00295-2
Publisher: St. Martin's

Mendelson dethrones the ubiquitous myths spewed by influence peddlers claiming special insight into how individuals and small-business owners can profit using social media.

The author lays out his thesis in four easily digested sections and a short introduction, in which he offers an overview of his career in marketing, from which he happily decamped in 2010. “Marketing is fiction created by salesman to get companies to buy ideas they don’t need,” he writes, “to sell customers what they don’t want, to an end that only benefits their own.” Following the introduction, Mendelson dives into a reader-friendly discussion of a variety of topics, including the basics of social media; who really runs the Web and how its history has been “selectively revised” for public consumption; how YouTube and Google work; and the rise of the Cyber Hipsters and their role in the marketing feedback loop. “Cyber Hipsters have their ideas spread to businesses through marketers, increasing their perceived influence,” he writes, “and the marketers get backing from the Cyber Hipster crowd, which does the same for them.”  Mendelson introduces the people behind all the social media shenanigans and deconstructs its puffed-up role in marketing and business. He dissects the questionable role the Internet played in several touted corporate success stories, including Zappos, Dell and KIA. The author then turns to what Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Foursquare can and can’t do for a business. “In most cases, money spent on social media platforms is money wasted,” he writes. The author concludes with a section titled “How to Really Make It On the Web.”

This small book packs a welcome, refreshing punch.