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Social Networking for Business: Choosing the Right Tools and Resources to Fit Your Needs Hardcover – January 23, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0132357791 ISBN-10: 0132357798 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson Prentice Hall; 1 edition (January 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132357798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132357791
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,672,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The First Best-Practice Guide to Executing Any Type of Social Computing Project


Organizations today aren’t just participating in social networking, collaborative computing, and online communities--they are depending on those communities to play crucially important roles in their business. But these collaborative environments don’t just manage themselves: To succeed, they must be guided and nurtured carefully, actively, and intelligently.


In Social Networking for Business, Rawn Shah brings together patterns and best practices drawn from his extensive experience managing worldwide online communities at IBM and participating in social networking on the Internet. Drawing on multiple real-world examples, Shah identifies key success factors associated with launching social networking projects to meet business objectives and guides you through managing the crucial “micro-challenges” you’ll face in keeping them vibrant.


•   From mega-trends to micro-issues

    Mastering both high-level strategy and day-to-day, ground-level management


•   Defining the social experience you want to provide to your community

    Clarifying how members can join together and collaborate on collective tasks


•   Focusing on the crucial human factors

    Building a culture of engagement in deeper collaborative relationships


•   Promoting effective leadership and governance

    Setting ground rules that work appropriately for the situation, without “oppression”


•   Building the skills to manage and measure your collaborative project

    Discovering the skills necessary to effectively lead computing projects

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Rawn Shah is best practices lead in the Social Software Enablement team in IBM Software Group, helping to bring the worldwide population of more than 350,000 IBMers closer together and to improve their productivity through social software. His job involves investigating the wide range of social computing technologies, collecting best practices, measuring the usage and behavior of social software as it impacts productivity, and advising on implementation, governance, and operations.


In his prior job as community program manager for IBM developerWorks, he led a team of operations and development staff covering the worldwide network of thousands of communities, blogs, wikis, and social computing environments supported by IBM. He also led the creation of the developerWorks spaces software tool, a multitenant system to allow individuals and teams to bring many social tools together into their own focused social environments.


An avid software gamer, he has been involved in the online gaming world since 1990, both as a player, a guild leader, and hosting massively multiplayer games. He has witnessed how these social environments have grown from underground curiosities to the billion-dollar businesses of today, with the nature of social grouping and collaboration evolving hand in hand with every new offering.


He has previously served as network administrator, systems programmer, Web project manager, entrepreneur, author, technology writer, and editor in different business environments: as a sole proprietor, in a small startup, and in a Fortune 50 company. He has contributed to six other books, the most recent being the category-leading Service Oriented Architecture Compass, which since has been translated into four languages. His nearly 300 article contributions to technical periodicals such as JavaWorld, LinuxWorld,, SunWorld, Advanced Systems, and Windows NT World Japan, covered a wide range of topics from software development to network environments to consumer electronics.


Customer Reviews

The book does not address business issues that can be addressed by social networking.
Mark P. McDonald
After reading the book, I am not sure I am any closer to finding answers to those questions.
John Gibbs
Nothing earth-shaking here, but a good book for a basic review and a relatively easy read.
Susan Katz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mark P. McDonald VINE VOICE on March 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Rawn Shah's book, Social Networks for Business, is a top down technical view on implementing social media. He provides a view of social networking that will appeal to IT professionals as it is based on a premise that social networking is a technology that should be structured and controlled at the center like other technologies. While this is possible, the advice Shah offers is based on the fundamentals that if you build it right, manage it right, then they will come.

That logic is simple but it assumes that business professionals are users of the technology rather than creators of the solutions that operate on a social network. That last piece is important as those following the advice in this book bear a high probability of simply recreating existing low value low activity intranet portals and knowledge bases in new social networking clothing.

A warning that this is a rather lengthy review in order to explain why I see the book as technically correct but not enough to address the issues fully. Shah is not wrong, its rather he is narrow in the ability to his advice to work beyond his experience and he is looking at the issue with an established techno-management lens that does not capture the potential of these new technologies. Perhaps no book can capture it all, in which case this becomes part of a social media library and body of study.

That has been my observation at more than two dozen companies I have met all of whom have the same question "We, meaning IT, have built a social network with all the bells and whistles but no one wants to use it." The reason behind the low use is in the question itself. Social networks are not built and provided by one party for others to use.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Adam Khan VINE VOICE on June 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Have you ever read a textbook that was almost impossible to follow? That's what it's like trying to read "Social Networking For Business." The information may very well be excellent. I wouldn't know; I couldn't stay awake long enough to find out.

I picked a sentence at random so you can see what I mean: "However, you can still fit this aggregate behavioral information into the context of a given framework by separating commitment into distinct threshhold levels and watching for markers of certain types of actions that fit profiles of behavior for each level."

Just a few minutes of reading this kind of thing will put you right to sleep.

I recommend the authors read Rudolf Flesch's book, "How to Write, Speak, & Think More Effectively," apply the principles of readability, and try again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Bennett VINE VOICE on March 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am interested in social networking, and its possibilities in business. My friends and I spend a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites, so it makes sense to use all of this to the benefit my businesses. My first "business" is working for a private school that is always looking for ways to increase enrollment and obtain funding. My second business is a small communications company that operates various informational websites. I was hoping to find a book that offered practical, easy-to-understand, and proven ways for businesses to use social networking. Unfortunately, I found this book to be very academic, technical, and not very user-friendly. While I am used to reading academic literature, I didn't intend to buy a book that reads like a dissertation on social networking.

First, let me highlight some of the positives. This book is very thorough, and is filled with tables full of information about various types of social networking, and ways a business can use the Internet. Shah provides detailed information on the benefits of using social networking to address common business problems (e.g. group-think, lack of real collaboration, etc). This book makes a strong case for using social networking to facilitate better communication among employees, encourage "out-of-the-box" thinking, and involve customers and partners in decision making and project development. Using social networking in this fashion saves the company money, and contributes to a company's creative capital. I also found his real-world examples helpful. Thus, there are many good points and ideas contained within this book.

Now, let me express the things I didn't like. The treatment of the topic is so thorough and academic that he lost my interest. For someone in my situation, this book was overkill.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love social networking tools. I am continuously logged into Facabook, and I use Twitter more or less regularly to promote some of my professional websites. I thought that a book on social networking for business would help me use these tools more effectively, and perhaps improve the visibility and accessibility of my professional websites. However, from the information that I've gathered about this book it seems to be geared more towards large businesses which want to utilize social networking tools to manage their personnel and projects. Or so I assume based on the author's background as some sort of social networking guru at IBM. The fact is, this book is so atrociously badly written that I will never know for sure. Poor choice of words, awkward phrasing, sentences in different paragraphs that allude to each other are just some of the problems with writing that I encountered already on the first couple of pages. I found myself reading and rereading several passages in order to understand what was going on. I can't believe that a reputable publishing house would publish something like this. This book is in a need of a LOT of editing, but I fear that even with some heroic editing effort it still might be unsalvageable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Rawn Shah is an expert in collaboration and social computing methodologies within organizations and on the Web. He is a business transformation consultant in the Social Software Adoption team in IBM where his primary responsibilities involve measuring and determining the business value of collaboration technologies.

He currently writes the "Connected Business" blog at as well as a technically-oriented blog on social computing on IBM MydeveloperWorks

He is the author of seven books, his latest being "Social Networking for Business: Choosing the Right Tools and Resources to Fit Your Needs" (Wharton School Publishing, 2010)

In 1990s and early 2000s He was also a freelance columnist and editor for technical journals such as JavaWorld, LinuxWorld, Windows NT World Japan, IBM developerWorks Web Services zone.

In his spare time he is a third-degree black belt and teaches Japanese swordfighting to middle and high-school students in Tucson.

He can be reached at The contents of this blog are his own ideas and opinions and not that of his employer IBM.

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