From my experience as a social media manager, I’ve learned that social media for individuals and small organizations boils down to two things: trust and how we communicate with our community.

While I think one of the best ways to work in social media is to dive in and get to know your community, there are many techniques to learn from books and websites on communicating with your audience.

To stay relevant I research communication technologies, design of tools and graphics, why people share, and storytelling so that I continue to strengthen my skills.

Here’s my recommended summer reading list:

These historical comparisons of social media and blogs to past technologies and eras has given me a deeper understanding of social media trends
The Victorian internet by Tom Standage
“The Victorian Internet” by Tom Standage
Writing on the Wall Social Media the First 2,000 years
“Writing on the Wall: Social Media the First 2,000 years” by Tom Standage
Trust Me I'm Lying - Confessions of a Media Manipulator
“Trust Me I’m Lying – Confessions of a Media Manipulator” by Ryan Holiday
Understanding design helped me to think about how our communities interact with our content
The Design of Everyday Things by by Donald Norman
“The Design of Everyday Things” by Donald Norman
Picture This by Molly Bang
“Picture This” by Molly Bang
Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
“Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug
Marketers do TONS of studies into why we share, these two books dig into that psychology
Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
“Made to Stick” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Contagious by Jonah Berger
“Contagious” by Jonah Berger
Social media is a visual media, so I have both these books in my library as a reminder
Blah Blah Blah What to do When Words Don't Work by Dan Roam
“Blah Blah Blah What to do When Words Don’t Work” by Dan Roam
Graphic storytelling and visual narrative
“Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative” by Will Eisner
To better understand the intersection of visual with written I read books about writing for visual mediums
Writing for Story by Jon Franklin
“Writing for Story” by Jon Franklin
Wired for Story by Lisa Cron
“Wired for Story” by Lisa Cron
Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Sachs
“Winning the Story Wars” by Jonah Sachs
Practice – these books help me to come up with ideas and exercises to test with our community on social media
Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills by David Sherwin
“Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills” by David Sherwin
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
“Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon
Mashup Cultures by Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss
“Mashup Cultures” by Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss

Here’s a few websites I browse to learn from others: Voice and Tone, Skillshare, General Assembly, Treehouse, Visual.ly and TutsPlus

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