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on March 24, 2009
There are several books and websites which teach you how to develop applications for facebook but there aren't any resources which explain how facebook applications can be used to generate revenue. This book explains in detail how revenue can be generated by using facebook to enhance your business opportunities. The author's personal experience in creating the first business application on facebook gives this book a huge amount of credibility.

The best thing about this book for me is the author's enthusiasm. Her belief that we are on the verge of another tech revolution is inspiring and exciting and that to me makes this book all the more worth it.
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on November 11, 2009
I bought the book and hope that the book can give me advance insights of what we can do in Facebook or social media in general. But I am a little bit disappointed to find 2/3 of the book is about social media history and the role of social media. The last 1/3 covers practical actionable ideas.

The book is very easy to read and understand, especially for people who have no experience participating in social networking sites. In fact I think this qualify as the Dummy book series.

The most interesting thing in the book is the idea of Facebook as CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Well.. I think it could be, but probably not now. Although social media sites are increasing in their popularity, not many people use social media sites as frequently as they use.. cellphone or e-mail.

However, it is still a very interesting insight because if a company can build strong presence in social media sites right now, they might reap tremendous advantage later, when social media become as common for communication.

Although the book is titled "Facebook Era" but it also discuss a little bit about some popular social media sites such as LinkedIn, Myspace, Faceforce, etc.

For CEO, Vice president of marketing from company of any size, who want to catch up about what happening in the social media landscape up to the first half of 2009, the book is for you. For people who know and use Facebook for business, you might skip this book.

In conclusion, I like to read the book, but it does not provide me much. Because social network sites are constantly changing (many new social sites emerge and new features are introduced in monthly basis), this book could lost its relevancy soon.
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on March 23, 2009
For those trying to figure out how to use Facebook as a tool to enhance business opportunities and ecommerce, this book has a lot of the answers. Really like the case studies of how actual businesses are using social networking in real life. Of course the SalesForce - Facebook app is a huge advantage for Salesforce customers ... and its free! I also found the history and in depth analysis of why Facebook is so popular for the first time explains the phenomenon in simple and understandable terms. If she is even half right in her belief that we are on the verge of another breakthrough which will be as big as was the creation of the internet, this book will have prepared you and will be worth it.
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on May 13, 2009
The loose relationships that bind social network users are a one of the most valuable commodities of Facebook, according to Clara Shih, author of The Facebook Era.

As individuals, Shih contends that we have two sources of personal competitive advantage: human capital and social capital. The former is the natural talents, characteristics and abilities of an individual. The later is the ability to leverage relationships with others to get things done.

According to Shih, the weak social ties created by social networks build social capital and drive an informal, but powerful, quid-pro-quo social exchange. "Individuals with greater social capital close more deals, are better respected and get higher-ranking jobs," Shih said. "Online social networks offer access to social capital, empowering those who are well connected with private information, diverse skill sets, and others' energy and attention."

Online social networks make it EASIER TO ASK FOR FAVORS and HARDER TO DENY OTHERS' REQUESTS. As a result, according to Shih, weak ties carry the greatest amount of social capital. They are low maintainence and high value.

Read this entire review at: [...]
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on July 29, 2009
First off, I wish that we could give books a 1/2 star....because 4 out of 5 stars is to low. I really enjoyed this book. Owning a small e-commerce business, I wanted to figure out the best strategy to get inside of Facebook and really use it effectively.

What this book does very effectively, is show you how powerful social media, specifically Facebook, can be if used correctly. However, despite the history, case studies, and general information, I was hoping for more specific examples on how to make it work...for you.

In the next edition, I would love to get some concrete examples of how you can effectively build up the initial following. I know, in theory, the viral nature of Facebook, but with it being such a new technology, some practical steps to building a following (without simply resorting to display advertisements), would be appreciated.
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on October 13, 2009
Last week, I brought The Facebook Era book by Clara Shih to the gym. The publisher had sent me the book eons ago but it wasn't until last week that I finally had some time to read it. I finished it up in just a couple hours of reading on machines at the gym.

It is a useful book, to be sure. It is practical and holds your hand and addresses your concerns, as long as you're a business owner who is considering getting into Social Media as a business tool. If you're a fan of [...], you'll appreciate the smarts here since Ms. Shih is a Salesforce alum and the forward is by Marc R. Benioff, Chairman and CEO of [...]

The book does promote [...] little shamelessly but it doesn't hurt the neutrality of the text: you'll get good advice on how to leverage Social Networks, Social Media, Online Community, and Web 2.0 to manage, promote, offer service on behalf of you, your brand, or your company.

What I really liked was Part I, A Brief History of Social Media, which is a brilliant primer for people who didn't actually live through the precursors and foreshadowing of Facebook and Twitter; however, for me, it showed me that Clara Shih understands the continuum of technology, computing, community, platform, and how they evolved over time.

Other topics you might really love to explore, though they're less practical and a little more philosophical, but in a good way, and explore ways to use Social Media to develop strategies for your business for Social Sales, Social Network Marketing, Social Innovation, and Social Recruiting. What's great about this part, Part II, is that these teachings are pretty platform agnostic, giving you skills in tools not limited to just Facebook, the primary focus of this book. What this means is that this book will even be useful to you when Facebook dies and something else rises up in its place.

At the end of the day, most folks who buy the book will skip to Part III: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Using Facebook for Business. Fair enough. It is pretty comprehensive and walks you through more than philosophy, it gets you onto Facebook and marketing, selling, recruiting, prospecting, branding, relating, engaging, and participating if you take some time and follow the steps.

Is this book good? Well, it is if you spend a little time opening your mind and reading through Part I and Part II -- and do it away from a computer. If you get into context, read the case studies, explore some of the examples and best practices, Part III will make more sense and you will do a better job and be more effective.

Did the book bore me? Nope, I liked it, and that makes me happy because I am not being paid to read these things, it is just flattering to receive free review copies -- it makes me feel like I am important and influential!
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on November 28, 2009
I had originally read about The Facebook Era in a New York Times article which peaked my curiosity. At first glance this book seems a bit daunting with small font, black and white photos, and an overall serious impression - not the inviting look that one would expect from a book written about social media, especially Facebook.

Upon reading this book I was pleasantly surprised. The tone is conversational enough and the author provides insight for both beginners and social media experts alike. I have been using Facebook, as well as some of the other social media tools for at least a couple of years now and I had still learned quite a bit from this book.

Have you ever wondered why social media works and why it continues to gain popularity? This book describes this in great detail, mainly in terms of human capital and social capital and how social networking furthers these theories. Other interesting concepts include the reciprocity ring and the online social graph, among others. There is also a useful list of the major players in the social networking arena and who these particular sites cater to which should be useful to those wishing to expand their social media presence. Finally, there were also some useful step by step pointers to walk individuals through using functions within Facebook that I found valuable.

Despite the value this book offers there are a few items that detract. First, the book felt a bit corporate and serious as mentioned in the beginning of this review. This is consistent with the author's background, however it may keep a large amount of the population from reading it as it may not be approachable enough for the general population. Second, I felt that this book was inconsistent at times. For example, there is a discussion on how businesses are facing a shortage of talent - this felt inconsistent with current events given the economic recession. Finally, The Facebook Era seemed a bit promotional for [...]. Given that the author is employed by the company that develops and sells that tool it's understandable, however it did seem to detract from the overall experience at times.

Overall the good points definitely outweigh the drawbacks. I highly recommend The Facebook Era to anyone interested in social networking - whether you are a beginner or expert - there is definitely something to learn here.
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VINE VOICEon June 17, 2011
I really wanted to like this book - the author wrote with a much more professional, adult tone than I've found in most other books on the subject. She also clearly did her homework, researched thoroughly and edited well. Unfortunately, I really was not happy with the contents. Shih is an unreserved fan of Facebook, and to hear her version of the world it is very nearly as essential as oxygen. The world as she sees it is also a very shallow place; people and contacts are mined as resources for one's business, worth keeping around as "friends" because there's so little required to keep them on the line.

Unless you're an apps developer, you really only get use from the last quarter of the book and everything there is either common sense or standard business practice. Have a page, update it regularly, utilize target markets where you can. There was a lot of well researched but totally unhelpful information to slog through in this book, and very little of value to balance it out. I recommend skipping this one.
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on March 16, 2010
I hate to write negative reviews and just reviews in general. Therefore, I will try to keep this brief. I had to write a review of this book because it is easily the worst book I have ever read. If I can save even one person from wasting their time and money on it, then this review will have been completely worth my time.
This book is entirely self serving gloating about her personal success (of which there is none) and her company. She is trying to push social networks because it helps her personal as a company that develops for these sites.

On to the work itself, it has 0 citations for sources or facts. As a result, she contradicts herself every few pages. She cites facebook population at different numbers all throughout the book from 100 million total registered to 120 million total registered to sometimes just saying "there are 200 million facebook users online at all times!" It seems as though most of these facts are made up to help her cause. Everything in this book is very subjective because again there are no sources - not even one - cited.

The author is extremely naive to assume people don't instantly block the ads they are being fed the moment they sign on facebook. She talks about how wedding companies make so much money from people changing their status on facebook to engaged. She never seems to realize that most people run adblockers... all adblockers are designed to kill said ads from facebook or any other site. I have used facebook, myspace and other social sites since their conception and never once have I seen a single ad on any of them. Why? Because I run adblocking software; I always have and always will. Probably companies are reaching close to 50% less of the "community" than they think they are as a result.

Yes the advertising and marketing areas are changing from traditional areas of radio, TV and newspaper towards the internet. However, facebook is NOT the new advertising market. I don't know of a single person that would go out and buy a product based on an ad seen on facebook. The author herself admits briefly that she might be wrong but still considers this the 'new era' of business. I agree that businesses have not found the best use of their time and money for advertising campaigns... but I vehemently think facebook is a waste of their time.

The book is very much fluffed up for length by repeating herself constantly and padded the book with blurry low quality pictures that show nothing useful. This work could easily have been published as 20 pages not 220.

The author makes no points in this book that are not already common business knowledge (perhaps this is why she has no citations?). Therefore, her target audience is truly the green horn highschool graduate that is trying to skip college to start his/her own small business.

The author constantly makes errors on investment all throughout the book indicating she has no knowledge economics: sunk costs, return on investment and margins.

In conclusion, don't waste your time. This is the first book I have ever read where I did not learn a single thing. If you really want to see how awful this book is... send me the money for shipping and you can have my copy for free. It is truly that bad.
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on March 21, 2013
The Facebook Era is a great introductory book to digital marketing through the utilization of social networking websites specifically. It provides a very simple yet insightful look into the mechanics and results that websites such as Facebook,Linkedin, Hoover Connect,Twitter, etc. provide in terms of value,an online social graph,and building customer relationships.It also does a very good job in distinguishing the differences between the various various advertising methods, Targeted Ads,Advertising,Social Actions, and Engagement Ads, and the best situations to utilize them. Clara Shih has done a great job in introducing the reader into the analysis of the various reasons as to how and why social networking is so effective as well as providing a very in depth yet simple to read background on the different methods and strategies. She touches upon the benefits it provides in business efficiency, support networks, and consumer relations,while also showing some of the downside in issues of transperancy and intellectual property security. All in all the author has done an incredible job in providing references, company examples, and statistical information about the benefits of social networking for modern day business and providing in a style of writing that was quick to read and easy to understand.
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