Advance Book Review: Twitterville

Shel Israel of Naked Conversation fame (don’t worry if you have no idea what Naked Conversation is, Israel will repeatedly remind you about the time that he and Robert Scoble interviewed so and so for Naked Conversation…) authored a book on the latest social media sensation known as Twitter . With the same epic tone of Naked Conversation, Israel tells the story of @ev and @biz’s expedition through the virtual world of microblogging. The book starts with the tale of how Twitter started as a forum to wrangle a bunch of software developers into the office for meetings and exploded into a global neighborhood called Twitterville with approximately 45 million worldwide users. Though there is some discussion of the “what I had for lunch” phenomenon, Israel concentrates his discussion on the numerous businesses and organizations on Twitter, from big name corporations like Starbucks (@Starbucks) and Comcast (@comcastcares) to small businesses such as a plumber named Scott Becker of Suffolk, NY (@OnlineHandyman).

Israel also devotes a chapter each to discussing how Twitter is and can be used for personal branding, the integration of citizen journalism with traditional media aka braided journalism, politics and fund raising. For long time residents of Twitterville there is a sense of “I was there!” when he explains how the Twitter community beat every major news network in reporting the plane crash in the Hudson and the epic fund raising efforts of Stacey Monk’s (@StaceyMonk) charity Epic Change (@EpicChange). (Full disclosure: theKbuzz worked on Tweetsgiving)

Israel is an obvious supporter of the global community of Twitterville and encourages his readers to move in, but not without fair warning and explanation of the “dark streets” of the hood where scammers, spammers and even stalkers lurk. Throughout the tale of Twitterville, Israel includes random tweets, which may or may not relate to the prose in which they are placed. It seems as though he wants to replicate a Tweetstream, but instead of the reader deciding who they want to follow, Israel has chosen who and what to include. This may just be the trouble with trying to use a static medium to explain a dynamic social media platform that is constantly growing and changing.

In the conclusion of the book Israel provides a brief “How and Why” section which is reflective of the rest of the book. Though it is not a blatant how-to guide, the book is intended to serve as a learn-by-example depiction of how Twitter can be used to make a name for yourself and/or your company, raise money for your cause or revive your reputation. Israel is by no means subjective. He is very clearly a supporter of the platform and it’s use by humans behind brands rather than what he calls “logo tweeters”. For Twitterville newcomers and veterans alike, Israel’s history lesson of the social media platform come global neighborhood is worth the read.

Twitterville officially goes on sale September 3. But you can read a free excerpt or preorder the book today at

Reviewed by Dave (@davekerpen) and Biana (@beeahna)