Review: The Social Media Mind by David Amerland

The Social Media Mind: How social media is changing business, politics and science and helps create a new world order
David Amerland

New Line Publishing (2012)
252 pages
Non-fiction / Marketing

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This is not the standard review fare here at Working for the Mandroid, but when given the opportunity to read a copy of David Amerland’s The Social Media Mind, I graciously agreed to a review in return for a copy. As someone who is fascinated by the rapidly changing and always moving realm of social media, I was hoping that Amerland would be able to give me some insights and/or tips on how to better utilize social media to promote this site as well as to assist in my on-going job search. I came away disappointed.

I should have known from the long-winded and grammatically awkward subtitle that the writing in this book would not be the best. What I wasn’t expecting was the blatant overuse of commas except when commas were actually supposed to be used. Many times commas are the only thing standing between what you’re trying to say and something that just doesn’t make sense. I found myself having to constantly re-read and attempt to decipher clauses to get the author’s meaning. It caused a lot of frustration and made it hard to accept the content within.

I was under the impression that this was a final copy of the book and nothing within the e-book file proved otherwise. This made it even harder to comprehend the entire passages that were repeated near verbatim in multiple areas of the book. It was though Amerland had a short list of real life examples to prove his argument and, instead of looking for other examples or even just rephrasing things the reader had already been exposed to, choose to hit copy and paste to avoid the hassle of writing any more than he had to.

Outside the writing style and repetitive nature, the message for the most part was no different from what I’ve read on countless blogs. As far as advice on how to use social media for marketing – either as an individual or as a business entity – Amerland doesn’t go much further than a) be authentic, b) it’s an environment for dialogue, not a bull horn, and c) most businesses will probably have social media backfire on them. With his analysis of social media and the way it can be used as a marketing tool, the author didn’t bring anything new to the conversation, instead rehashing the general agreement on what social media is and how to utilize it in one’s best interest.

It’s very up-to-date, including the London riots and various Middle Eastern uprisings influenced and affected by the use of social media. These sociological analysis pieces usually had at least some interesting pieces to them, as did the case studies used to show the successes and complete failures of big businesses using social media as a marketing tool. One particular piece about how science has been influenced by social media I found really compelling. I’d heard of scientists developing games to help solve genetic problems by releasing them to the public in a form of crowd-sourcing, but I hadn’t heard of this specific example of gamers solving a complex problem of genetic manipulation in a matter of weeks that scientists had spent years working on.

I think the book overall would have been a lot better as just a history of social media and how it’s affecting life in general and had not tried to also be a potential training manual for businesses. The two messages, while not conflicting, muddled together until it was hard to grasp either. Amerland also comes across as a Google apologist, singing the praises of Google+ in ways I have never heard before. I enjoy Google as much as the next person, but the author uses the company as a bastion of what social media can be in disparagement of all other platforms. It got old pretty quickly.

This book needed heavy editing and a little more focus on its goals. It comes as noise within an already noisy field. There are much better books out there about social media, its effects on culture and how best to utilize it in a business sense. The Social Media Mind just rehashes what most social media-savvy people should already know.


I received an electronic copy of this book as part of the Author-Blogger Network in return for an honest review.