You know you live in the modern world when acquiring Twitter followers is a marketable skill. Scott Stratten spent months following people on Twitter and gaining followbacks. He then made an emotionally-appealing video for his followers. It went viral, Stratten started public speaking, and a career as a marketing consultant was born. One of Stratten’s favorite sayings is “You’re an expert when you say you’re an expert.” Which brings to mind one of my favorite sayings: “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”
Twitter is amazing. Of course it is. And Stratten is good at it. However, there is an entire world that is not Twitter-savvy. It’s possible to be well-connected online by using other platforms, such as Facebook, blogs, and Tumblr, but Stratten never discusses those things. It’s as if the entire internet is limited to 140-character micro-updates. Moreover, instead of developing truly meaty content, and then tweeting about it, Stratten’s tweets are an end in themselves. There is no there, there.
UNMARKETING has short chapters, which can be read in any order since they don’t connect with each other in any meaningful way. The book feels like scrolling through the archives of a blog. Like most blogs, it’s very writer-centric, making UNMARKETING read more like a memoir than a how-to. Stratten learned to use Twitter, got some freebies because he uses Twitter, and screwed up a few times with his mailing list but got better at it. Fair enough. He’s writing about his own experience because it has worked for him. However, he’s not teaching other people how to duplicate his success.
That isn’t to say UNMARKETING is all bad. There is some solid marketing advice in here. Stratten understands that with social currency, you have to give before you get. He’s against spammy things like auto-responders. He knows how to set up a newsletter and even what the welcome message to new subscribers should look like. He discusses what makes a good website and uses social networking in clever ways. He obviously knows his job and is probably good at working one-on-one with companies to craft their marketing message. However, he doesn’t know how to broaden that message into a more general how-to. There isn’t enough material that’s applicable to enough people to make UNMARKETING worth the time spent reading it.
rating: 2 stars
I recommend How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie and Brent Cole or Platform by Michael Hyatt instead of this book.