Book Review Six Pixels of Separation By Mitch Joel

The title of this is right on for the current times. I am a light Facebook user, but I have recently reconnected with people that I have not seen/spoken to/ thought about since college days. Everyone is definitely connected, and I don’t mean in the macrame, hippy way.

Due to all of the interaction and personal media creation going on currently, there is more data and thusly more hooks to latch onto other people-whether they are from the past or the future.

Joel starts with a chapter called “I google you, just like You google me.” While this is pretty obvious to me and probably anyone reading this, it is my belief that if something (you) does not appear in the mighty G, you don’t exist. Conversely, all the digital trail that you have put out there (or others have put out there about you) is in the Cloud forever. This is a pretty heady concept. I think that this makes it both more difficult to start over or disappear as a person. It is also a huge opportunity to build your own brand. People have a chance to brand themselves by engaging and sharing content to the rest of the world. His “Personal Brand Questionnaire” on pg. 129 is helpful here.

He talks a lot about the Trust Economy, not unlike the book Trust Agents. He gives some good advice, but this is targeted towards new users of some of the SM tools-Consistency, Add Value and use a global user name.

I think one of the most useful sections is where he outlines many of the tools that one can use to join the online conversation. Some of the tools include RSS Readers, Google Alerts, etc. I took some inspiration from his discourse on setting up real world meetups. I feel that there are not enough real meetups here in the Chicago area, so I used some of the suggestions for setting one up.

Joel’s analysis and foreshadowing about mobile seems a bit dated, but that can’t be helped with the time lag involved with offline publishing. The point is valid, as your age decreases, the audience becomes increasingly mobile.

Overall, I found this a quick read and a good primer for folks that may be late adopters to the techniques and concepts of Social Media. I would recommend that marketers review this book- it is a great way to get up to speed quickly in this area.


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