A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Review: Friends with Benefits by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo

Reviewed from Uncorrected Proof

imageFriends with Benefits
A Social Media Marketing Handbook by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo is coming out this November. Just in time for my birthday.

Lucky for me, their book publisher, No Starch Press, understands geek entertainment and they sent me an advance PDF. Yahoo!

Friends with Benefits is the best book on social media marketing that I’ve read to date. Why is it so great?

Reason 1
My friends wrote it and 3/4s of the way through there’s a screenshot that includes one of my Facebook updates.

Ok, no really, there are better reasons than that.

Reason 2
Friends with Benefits is one of the few books that offers social media marketing case studies with accompanying stats. Although every company has to set their own baseline for metrics, having a reasonable idea of what to expect is critical. Much of this private info is never shared, which means it is hard for a marketer who’s new to social media to answer the boss’s question, “what do I get for this investment in social media.”

Reason 3
There are great passages and quotes.

“The connections we make with other people online are real.”

“The Internet has become a public venue where the audience responds to news reports, suggests stories to cover, and even reports on stories.”

“Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. A successful campaign is usually the result of a hundred correct decisions and actions.”

Reason 4
Friends with Benefits answers the question, “Why would I want social media when my standard marketing practices are safe and known?”

If you’re a marketer dependent on mass media, then understanding web 2.0 as explained by Barefoot and Szabo will shoot you light years ahead of your competition.

The quick history in the first chapter helps establish the customs and culture that make up the web today; and how PR professionals can work within that framework.

Friends with Benefits is a must-read for social media marketers and those new to the field. There’s stuff for everyone, including the case studies I mentioned above, the reasonable expectations set around metrics, the how-to checklists and the great tips on the tools.

Who is Friends with Benefits for?
Anyone who wants:

  • More website visitors
  • More incoming links
  • More subscribers to your RSS feeds
  • More views of your content on video- and photo-sharing sites like YouTube and Flickr
  • More references to your company, products, and services on blogs, podcasts, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, ...
  • More followers on Twitter
  • Better search engine optimization
  • More genuine interactions with your customers

Good job Darren and Julie! I look forward to seeing the book in stores.

Andre Charland, Darren Barefoot, Julie Szabo
Darren and Julie with Andre Charland from Nitobi at IMC Vancouver 2008

Download Chapter 4 from the No Starch site: “Netiquette: Miss Manners for the Web” (PDF)



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Alain de Botton: A Week at the Airport

Author Alain de Botton was installed at Heathrow Airport as its writer in residence for a week. And, the book he wrote at Heathrow was launched yesterday in the airport’s Terminal 5.


(Source: Springwise)

Alain de Botton’s Websites



Monday, September 07, 2009

Protest Arts Funding Cuts in BC

(Press Release)



Where:  In front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street
When:  Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 at noon
Wear Gray – the colour of life without art
Bring your family, friends, board members, audiences – anyone who feels that the cultural life of BC is important.


British Columbia’s arts and culture sector is being decimated by a government that is clearly contemptuous of one of the province’s most productive economic sectors. 

Arts funding has and is being cut despite recent headlines telling us it has been “restored” - This is only for a few and only temporarily. Despite what we are being told, the figures we have at present tell us that our sector will be cut by up to 92% by the end of this government’s mandate.  This while their own studies show that for every $1 they invest, they receive a return of $1.38 in taxes.
We ask you to consider the ways that arts and culture touch your daily lives at home, in the streets, your children in schools, on TV, your music, on the internet, in videogames and in theatres. We ask you to think about culture as part of our individual and community identities, a way to connect with our origins with who we are today, and with what we care about.

Our world would be a gray place without our art and culture.  Art is not a frill. Culture matters.

Please join.

For more information, visit the following links: