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The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life Hardcover – November 15, 2016
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"If anyone can help us understand this digitally connected world, it's [Luckett and Casey]--and they don't disappoint.... The book offers a deeply informed and nuanced portrait of the social-media landscape, supported by numerous examples.....This is an overarching theory of social media, spanning disciplines from biology to anthropology to business to computer science... Compelling."―Booklist
"Social media is the most obvious recent way that human life is being forever changed by technology. This book's brilliant unifying metaphor, the Social Organism (which is the converse of my mentor Marvin Minsky's book Society of Mind) illuminates how the ground is shifting beneath our feet. As Luckett and Casey conclude, social media will begin to act more and more like a global brain. The implications for our way of life, our governments, and our businesses are immense. I cannot recommend this book enough."―Ray Kurzweil, inventor, author, and futurist
"The Social Organism's exploration of social media goes far beyond a recipe for clicks and 'likes' and presents a deeply convincing theory of how life is changing in the digital age, and how you can use social media not only to transform your business but to help change the world."―Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post and #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sleep Revolution
"In less than a decade, social media has gone from fringe to mainstream. In the next decade, it will reorder the ways people communicate, work together, trade, and pursue ideas. Luckett and Casey have written the quintessential guide to understanding our social future."―Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner, Andreessen Horowitz
"When I started my first business in 1992, there was no social media. Today, no successful business is launched without a social strategy. This book is the best guide out there. Want to build a brand or a cause? Start by reading this."―Daymond John, CEO of FUBU, CEO of Shark Branding, Co-Star on ABC's Shark Tank, bestselling author of The Power of Broke
"I saw how humankind can use the Internet to bring about positive change when Oliver Luckett helped register 2 million new voters for the Declare Yourself campaign we initiated in 2004. Since then, social media seems to have delivered such transformative change again and again. In their deeply insightful new book, The Social Organism, Oliver and Michael Casey make sense of it all. Finally, even this ancient clunk of an Internet user has some sense of what it's all about and where we're heading."―Norman Lear
"Social media and its complexity may appear to be disordered chaos, but, using a natural and biological lens, The Social Organism helps us make sense of this powerful new system. Important reading for anyone trying to understand the world."―Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab and Co-Author of Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future
"As individuals, we are the authors of our own thoughts. But, social media has triggered emergence. The sum of our public thoughts has become greater than the whole--a new life has manifested. The Social Organism brings context and perspective to this, our hyperconnected ecosystem."―Biz Stone, Co-Founder, Twitter, Medium, and Jelly; author of Things a Little Bird Told Me
"The Social Organism is a remarkable hybrid: a riveting history of mass media, a convincing guide to the landscape of digital platforms, and an indispensable window into our future world. It's a must-read for business leaders and anyone who wants to understand all the implications of a social world."―Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company
About the Author
Oliver Luckett is a technology entrepreneur and currently CEO of ReviloPark, a global culture accelerator. He has served as Head of Innovation at the Walt Disney Company and co-founder of video sharing platform Revver. As CEO of theAudience, Luckett worked with clients such as Obama for America, Coachella, Pixar, and American Express. He has helped managed the digital personae of hundreds of celebrities and brands, including Star Wars, The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki, and Toy Story 3.
Michael Casey is a writer and researcher in the fields of economics, culture, and information technology. He is the author of three critically-acclaimed books: The Age of Cryptocurrency (2015), The Unfair Trade (2012), and Che's Afterlife (2009). In a two-decade career as a journalist, much of that spent as a reporter, editor, and columnist at The Wall Street Journal, he wrote extensively on global economics and finance. In 2015 Casey become a Senior Advisor at MIT Media Lab's new Digital Currency Initiative.
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Top Customer Reviews
Worth one time read.
I was able to finish it one sitting. Thankfully, not too fat!
The authors seem to go too much in biology trying compare social media with a living organism.
The last 2 chapters about future were a bit dramatic and boring.
If you are a into social media marketing like me, there is not much to take home from here.
If you are just curious about the phenomenon of social media, this book does help.
I would not say reading this book is a waste of time but I would not call it a path breaking book either!
Hope this helps!
Finally, the authors admit that evolution doesn’t occur by intention, yet they provide advice on human behaviors to address difficult issues, such as how the social organism will deal with “bad influences”. The authors’ biologic model for governance of social media is a giant mushroom (literally). Impressed with the longevity and size of the honey mushroom, a giant fungus in Oregon, the authors view this “cooperative” of fungal cells as a paradigm for cooperative governance. People would cooperate following a social code, all would be encouraged to participate equally, and this cooperative would be beneficial. But the authors do not note that this large and ancient organism has survived by destroying trees in forests (so it is not benign in its actions).
There are several other problems with this model. First, humans exercise more variety of thought and limited cooperation. Fungi in in the giant mushroom are simpler organisms. Furthermore, despite the size and longevity of the giant fungus, few people would consider a giant fungus as the highest form of life. Many species exist with distinctive evolutionary qualities but presumably, the human cerebral cortex is the evolutionary product that we most appreciate.
Another problem with this model is that more evolved organisms undergo differentiation and specialization in which some cells lose the ability, under normal circumstances, to perform certain functions. Thus, muscles cells lose the ability to act as brain cells.
A bigger flaw is the authors view that social media inevitably will survive and grow. The biologic model, however, argues that not only do individuals die but some species become extinct. The authors do not address the idea of species death (it is difficult to decide if MySpace was an individual that died or a species that became extinct). Nor do they consider that if a whole group of similar species, like dinosaurs, can become extinct, why can’t social media go the way of the dinosaurs?
The authors express that the value of social media is its emotion-stimulating nature. Again, evolution argues that the cortex is more advanced than the parts of the brain that generate our emotions. Emotional Intelligence is about the ability of the cortex to harness emotional impulses and use them to advantage, rather than uncontrolled. Using their biologic model, they don’t address this seemingly counter-evolutionary issue.
Overall, I applaud the authors for making social media more understandable (I learned a lot about social media), but from the perspective of arguing that social media is a biological organism, this should be considered an early working draft – there are some good analogies, but many of the arguments are underdeveloped. This book would have been better if a biologist were recruited as a co-author rather than being authored by two people of similar mindset, neither of whom have a deep understanding of biologic systems.
Mr. Luckett makes a call for freedom of information which i believe we need in collectively building a better future. In particular I love the insights about bi-lateral information systems and the necessity for two way conversations in social marketing.