The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business by Tara Parker
In the book, the world is a place where everything is provided, free and for the taking. Since economic incentive has been removed, Whuffie becomes the motivation to do creative and useful things. A person’s Whuffie is a general measurement of his or her overall reputation, and it is gained (or lost) according to a person’s favorable (or unfavorable) actions. Public opinion determines which actions are favorable or unfavorable.
Whuffie has come to be known as “social capital,” currency in the digital world, and it’s what you build relationships with online and in communities.
What’s The Whuffie Factor is about: Tara Hunt is the co-founder of community-marketing consulting firm Citizen Agency. In her book, The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business, Hunt discusses strategies for building whuffie through engaging with a social media community, encouraging conversation and acting on feedback.
Like many social media books, it’s about marketing, but it can be applied to anyone online with the understanding that success (whether it is measured by sales, readers, downloads, etc.) comes from becoming part of the community, listening to feedback, and being “notable.”
Should I read it? The Whuffie Factor is a good read for someone new to social media; perhaps a company or entrepreneur who is discovering that marketing to customers is no longer about paying to push out a message but instead about interacting and listening.
It’s engaging and would be a great book to have in your library as a consultant to businesses entering social media to help them “get it,” but it’s not really an advanced level discussion about honing your social media reputation.
But, is there anything I can really use? I don’t consider it a “how-to” book, necessarily, but while there are some tips, it’s more conceptual. There are some great examples of companies who have a “high whuffie factor” including TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences, Virgin America Airlines, and Flickr.
Some of my favorite points from the book:
- Be notable: Pay attention to details, go above and beyond, inject fun into your product, be experimental, simplify, be a social catalyst.
- Make happiness your business model.
- Building whuffie and “turning the bullhorn around” is about changing your interactions with customers from trying to get them to listen to you to listening and paying attention to them.
- Building whuffie is about how to recognize your community and interact on a level that will benefit everyone.
Lunch hour/naptime read factor: High. It’s easy to read. Hunt has a friendly voice and is enthusiastic about building social currency.
There’s a theme in some of the books I’ve read for this column: in social media, relationships are what’s important. I enjoy social media books that make me nod in agreement, but I do wonder how we got the point where it’s considered revolutionary to act like a human online.
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The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business