The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life

Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey. Hachette, $27 (252p) ISBN 978-0-316-35952-8
Luckett and Casey argue that social media—today’s digital world of images, videos, hashtags, and more—“functions on every level like a living organism.” Their history of modern mass communication, from “super-bloggers,” Friendster, and MySpace to LinkedIn, Instagram, and Vine, creates a context in which to effectively explore such topics as memes, selfies, and YouTube stardom. Examples include #BlackLivesMatter, Brexit, Twitter, Grumpy Cat, and Bat Kid. The extended metaphor works well to illustrate social media’s power as a means of communication and driver of change, though Luckett and Casey’s discussion bogs down at times in lengthy explanations of biological processes, including a puzzling digression on boll weevils. They offer a mostly positive perspective on social media as a living organism but take a very dim view of Facebook’s “censorship” of users. They also make the important balancing point that “social media pitchfork mobs can engage in mass character assassination against targeted individuals.” The book loses steam when the authors present their prescription for social media’s future, but this preachy conclusion shouldn’t deter readers who are interested in how social media works and how to use it effectively. Agent: Gillian MacKenzie, Gillian MacKenzie Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/2016
Release date: 11/15/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-316-35953-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-4341-9
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-316-35954-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-4338-9
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