Of all the books you will find in the bookstore about social media, The Dragonfly Effect [Amazon affiliate link] by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith is the most approachable and useful to the person who's not spending half their day in social networks and wants to understand the potential of connecting technology and personal life to impact social change.
If this sounds like a mouthful it's my own doing. The book is quite simple in its structure, and clear in its purpose and exposition. You will feel involved while reading it.
I loved the story about tech entrepreneur Sameer Bhatia and physician Vinay Chakravarthy -- it put people right in the center of the action and demonstrates the power of community building to raise awareness and drive action.
The book will help you see one framework to use for harnessing the dragonfly effect:
- focus - identify one single, measurable goal
- grab attention - cut through the noise with something personal, unexpected, visceral, and visual
- engage - create a personal connection, accessing higher emotions through deep empathy, authenticity, and telling a story. In other words, empowering the audience to care enough to want to dosomething themselves
- take action - enable and empower others to take action. To make action easy you must prototype, deploy, and continuously tweak tools, templates, and programs designed to move people from being customers to becoming team members who want to further the cause and the change beyond themselves
Doing something important, bringing about social change, is a worthy goal and focus. The problem of misallocating our attention and effort is real, Dan Ariely reminds us in the afterword.
Once you understand how to get people to care, you also realize that you have the power to influence what people do, how they spend their time, and how they spend their money -- simultaneously influencing where they will pay less attention and time.
Social power is no different than any other kind of power, use with care. Aaker and Smith's experience and training in psychology, customer strategy, and operations inform the framework and offer a welcome subtext in the material, which is designed and written for learning.
[Disclosure: I received a copy of The Dragonfly Effect from the authors via a non-PR pitch by Jessie Young who took the time to tell me why the book would interest me, specifically. By doing so, she demonstrated principles from the book. Which is why her message and what it communicated stood out in my crowded inbox. This review and recommendation is based upon the quality of the material -- and not on how I obtained it.]