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The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business Hardcover – April 21, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Based on seven years of reporting from over a dozen countries, writer Tom Wainwright takes you on an extraordinary journey into the business of being a drug lord. Learn more.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Hunt, cofounder of community-marketing consulting firm Citizen Agency, presents the hows and whys of accruing "whuffie," her word for social capital in the Web 2.0 landscape. Introducing a wide range of post-blogosphere social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Flickr, Hunt clues in marketers to the possibilities with online success stories, influential voices and winning strategies. Numerous anecdotes (from the Obama campaign, online t-shirt boutique Threadless, Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh, etc.) illustrate the power of even the most tossed-off communiques; micro-blogging site Twitter, for instance, may restrict posts to 140 characters, but is uniquely powerful in its ability to reach a swarm of "followers," establish new relationships and provide multi-various feedback. Hunt packs in many specific strategies and concepts, which include seeking out and incorporating feedback, educating and empowering your connections, and treating your company's message as a conversation (a good net marketer's goal should be contained in the statement, "I want to create a culture of..."). Detailed, practical profiles of networks and related tools make this a valuable, illuminating title for anyone looking to the ever-expanding realm of online social life for business success.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Embrace the chaos! The Whuffie Factor weaves stories from Moleskine, 37Signals, Threadless, Willitblend, and Gary Vaynerchuk into a compelling story of the way business is now done. Tara doesn’t just talk about it, of course, she does it herself.”
—Seth Godin, author of Meatball Sundae
“Marketing–or doing business at all–in the age of whuffie and the world of social media means authenticity, listening, engaging, and trusting. That’s what Tara Hunt says, and it’s also exactly what she does. If you are in marketing now or starting a company that has customers, you need to read this book to understand exactly, and I mean precisely and with detailed examples, how the conversation between vendor and client, business and customer, has changed radically. Tara Hunt knows her stuff, and she knows how to put a great deal of knowledge into compelling ­stories that are a pleasure to read because her voice is not just the voice of extensive experience: Tara Hunt’s voice works well in this book because it’s who she is.”
—Howard Rheingold, author of The Virtual Community and Smart Mobs
“Social capital may be the most powerful currency of the twenty-first century, and this book is a guide to its care and feeding. Bursting with energy and enthusiasm, Tara Hunt shows us how to win friends and influence people in a Web 2.0 world.”
—Tom Kelley, cofounder of IDEO and author of The Ten Faces of Innovation
"The market power of social networking continues to grow exponentially. It may well overwhelm all other communication vehicles--and in short order. The Whuffie Factor is exceptionally readable, and both instructive and fun. You'd be foolish to pass it by, or fail to heed its advice."
—Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; First Edition edition (April 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307409503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307409508
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,111,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tara 'missrogue' Hunt has spent the past fifteen years online, either participating in or building communities. From the first wave of online marketing as it emerged in the late 90's while in Canada all the way to being a pioneer of new marketing in Silicon Valley in 2005, leading the wave into Web 2.0: the participatory web. She has been practicing her unconventional views on marketing for over 10 years now, for small to large companies and clients ranging from Oil & Gas to Consumer Products to Technology to Non-Profits.

Tara understands how the participatory web is changing all of our relationships: B2C, B2B and C2C. She doesn't believe in pushing messages or creating strong brands, only in the power of building relationships. She co-founded Citizen Agency in 2006 with the mission of teaching her clients how to work more effectively with the communities they serve and how to embrace and adjust to all of the changes in culture businesses are facing and has more recently moved to Montreal to write her next book.

Tara blogs at HorsePigCow, is on Twitter under her superhero name MissRogue, posts a great deal of self-portraits on Flickr, can be located like Carmen Sandiego on Dopplr, is trying to shake her addiction to Facebook, publishes her resume with microformats and is pretty much as open as one can be anywhere online.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I liked this book. A reader might find it helpful to see why using social network sites and blogs to build (grow) a Web platform and possibly a customer following is the way to go in the Digital Age we live in today. I certainly will recommend this well written tome to my SCORE clients who either are stumbling with New Media or need to learn about it for the first time. The book has the following ten chapters:

1. How to be a social capitalist
2. The power of community marketing
3. Turn the bullhorn around & create continuous conversations with customers
4. Building whuffie by listening to & integrating feedback
5. Become part of the community you serve
6. Depositing into & withdrawing from your whuffie account
7. Be notable: 11 ways to create amazing customer experiences
8. Embrace chaos
9. Find your higher purpose
10. Whuffie "in real life"

You might not be familiar with the term "Whuffie" before reading this book. I know I wasn't. It supposedly stands for "the store of social capital that is the currency in the digital world." Marketing today in the New Media is about building relationships. It's about give and take. It's not about "in your face" or just throwing money into advertising campaigns. By reading this book you should better understand what online marketing has migrated to be about and why it is important to go with the flow.

This book is not going to tell you how to plan an online marketing campaign. The best book on that subject that I know of is Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've become increasingly accustomed to ideas best captured as magazine articles being extended into books. It's sometimes a bit offensive to be sold something long when something short would have done.

"The Whuffie Factor" is something else entirely -- a sentence or a paragraph expanded into a book.

Here it is: Your social reputation is important, so cultivate it well.

Save your money. This book is insulting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book's release is dated May 4, 2010 here on Amazon, but the copy I received is copyrighted 2009 and contains information from 2008. If there's a newer version, I didn't receive it. Unfortunately I can't recommend this book. In social media, a world which moves so quickly, 3 year old information is extremely old and out of date information.

There are still some good takeaways from this book, but a lot of information is so outdated it made me laugh. Not the author's fault -- she's covering a fast-moving topic -- but I would save your money for something more up to date.

Of the many social media books I've read in the last few months (I'm researching the topic for a university course), the most useful have been from Dave Kerpen (Likeable Social Media) and Gary Vaynerchuk (The Thank You Economy). I don't know either author and I have no ties to either -- but their books were immensely helpful to me in researching social media marketing for businesses.
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Format: Hardcover
The concept of Whuffie is that of a sort of "cultural currency"; that is, how good a person's or organization's reputation is. Ms. Hunt is obviously a veteran of the Web, and she makes some good points - in essence, that one needs to be honest and moral in order to achieve high Whuffie rather than just try to use the Web as another outlet or venue for typical one-sided marketing hype.

No argument there; certainly if we could all check our egos at the door and put out honest appraisals of products (including our own, including admitting when we screw up) then it will engender more positive feelings on those that wander around the WWW to shop, etc.

I didn't rate the book higher only because I get the sense that Ms. Hunt thinks that the Web is the be-all-and-end-all of the world of commerce. Certainly, many people (myself included) log on multiple times a day, but nevertheless I don't think of my online presence as the essence of me. Too, there are still many people who either never get to the online world at all or else only sparingly, preferring "real reality" to "virtual reality" and so not so absorbed in what happens online.

So as a general instruction guide of how to do good online, this book is fine. As an attempt to prove that it is (or will be in the foreseeable future) critical to enjoy high Whuffie levels, it falls way short.
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Format: Hardcover
As a Higher Education Administrator, I encourage all my colleagues to read Tara Hunt's "Whuffie Factor". As more and more colleges and universities integrate Social Media tools, it is imperative that those who make decisions about college "communications" read this book and get great insight. Listen to your students, staff and faculty and have engage them in conversation!

I highly recommend it as a must read! Thanks Tara for all your work on this wonderful book!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was written a few years ago, but it is still relevant today. The whuffie factor goes into detail on how to engage with people online in ways that truly matter. This is a must read for anyone that needs to market their product or services.
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