I follow Laura Dodd on Twitter, but I don’t know her personally. Still her simple Tweet caught my eye. It read, “My new book is in stores tomorrow!”
I clicked through, of course, and found a video featuring a twenty-something (her description, not mine) telling how she had aggregated content for her new book, Dig This Gig. The self-help manual is designed to show first-timers evaluate what’s actually going on in the job market they’re entering: what do titles really mean, what are employers really looking for, etc. etc.
Dodd says the process that culminated in her “book” grew organically, beginning in conversations to her twenty-something friends already in the marketplace. As such online conversations tend to do, the process webbed outward via social media to an ever larger group from whom she drew material. In other words, she gathered empirical evidence — commentary, opnion, and “sharing” — from friends and friends-of-friends online.
This is quite a contemporary approach to expertise, but one that the twenty-somethings reportedly trust more than information from distant “experts.” To this cohort, somebody you don’t know personally definitely needs to know somebody you do know or somebody you know who knows somebody else.
The empirical road to book publishing isn’t anything new, or course. Helen Gurley Brown took this approach all the way to the bank when she wrote Sex and the Single Girl in 1962. Still, Laura Dodd’s book – which may or may not be successful – exemplifies a growing (and likely permanent) trend in content aggregation: the faceless, joined-at-the-web interview.
So, business execs everywhere: Add social media aggregation to your content development strategy. Perhaps, over time, we’ll have less respect for this “friends” approach to expertise. But for now, I give kudos to Laura Dodd. Like all success stories she’s got the first step down – she’s early to market. I wish her the best.