Social Media Reading List

I am prepping for my fall graduate course in social media at NJIT and I'm looking at my list of  book titles for outside reading on social media, and some related digital design topics. The original list of titles was crowdsourced on this blog and updated  2 years later. The latest additions are based on outside reading by myself and recommendations from the last group of students who took the social media course. New suggestions welcomed.

  1. The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success - Safko

  2. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide by Henry Jenkins - web 2.0 technologies and trends in the context of participatory culture.

  3. YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture by Jean Burgess and Joshua Green

  4. Social Media for Social Good: A How-to Guide for Nonprofits - Heather Mansfield

  5. Social Media: Dominating Strategies for Social Media Marketing with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram

  6. What Would Google Do? - Jeff Jarvis

  7. Googled: The End of the World as We Know It   Ken Auletta

  8. The Art of Social Media - by Guy Kawasaki & Peg Fitzpatrick

  9. Power Friending - Amber MacArthur

  10. 101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits: A Field Guide - by Melanie Mathos & Chad Norman

  11. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations - Clay Shirky

  12. Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies  Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li

  13. Social Media Marketing All-in-One For Dummies - by Jan Zimmerman & Deborah Ng Yes, there's a "dummies" book for SM too

  14. Building Social Web Applications: Establishing Community at the Heart of Your Site -  by Gavin Bell

  15. Social Media Explained: Untangling the World's Most Misunderstood Business Trend - by Mark Schaefer

  16. Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business - Erik Qualman

  17. Designing for the Social Web - Joshua Porter

  18. The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future - S. Craig Watkins

  19. Designing Social Interfaces: Principles, Patterns, and Practices for Improving the User Experience by Christian Crumlish and Erin Malone - best practices for starting a social website with a focus on design focus

  20. The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom by Yochai Benkler - though not a text on social media, law professor at Yale University, Benkler has made the entire book available for free download and a few chapters are very good at generating thoughts about the emergence of social software

  21. Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone. - Mitch Joel - a business focus on using Net marketing, especially. free tools and services

  22. Shel Israel - Twitterville

  23. Chris Brogan and Julian Smith - Trust Agents

  24. The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging

  25. David Meerman Scott's New Rules of Marketing & PR

  26. Paul Gillin - The New Influencers

  27. Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge - Putting the Public Back in Public Relations

  28. David Kirkpatrick The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that's Connecting the World (Jan 2010)

  29. Tim O'Reilly and Sara Milstein -  The Twitter Book

  30. The Zen of Social Media Marketing - by Shama Hyder

  31. Bob Garfield  -  Chaos Scenario

  32. David Meerman Scott  - World Wide Rave

  33. Adam Penenberg' -  Viral Loop

  34. Enterprise 2.0  -  Andrew McAfee ~ Web 2.0 for the enterprise

  35. Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation - Tim Brown

  36. The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business - Hunt

  37. The Cluetrain Manifesto - though ten years old, this book on the networked marketplace probably makes more sense today in its observations about how the Internet continues to change business.

  38. Visual Thinking by Rudolf Arnheim - probably more in the art and visual design world, but his premise that all thinking is basically perceptual and the ancient dichotomy between seeing and thinking, between perceiving and reasoning, is false and misleading.

Can You Still Require a Textbook for Your Course?

Articles on college students' spending on textbooks continues to be an issue, as I has been for decades. Lately, it seems that the spending on books and course materials is declining, but not because textbooks are cheaper.

As I have posted and presented in years past, more and more students simply skip buying required course materials. Do students have alternatives? There are usually used books to buy - though the constant "new editions" discourage that and buying from college bookstores or publushers is often not much of a savings. 

The scarier alternatives for faculty, colleges and students is that students simply try to get through the course without the materials. Fake it, beg, borrow or steal it. Some students report that they have to take fewer classes (especially true with part-time students). Some students say that the cost of materials is a factor in choosing classes (electives) or sections of a course (required).

Can you still require a textbook for a course? Of course. Can you expect that all the students will own a copy? No.

A new survey of undergraduates on 23 campuses by the National Association of College Stores, found that students spent an average of $563 on course materials during the 2014-15 academic year, compared with $638 the year before.

Some of that decrease may be due to the increasing use of textbook-rental programs and the use of open textbooks. But of those students who did not buy textbooks, the report noted, a greater percentage than in the past said it was because "they believed them to be unnecessary."

I would not recommend that students buy a textbook before the semester and wait to see how critical the readings are to course success.

I have found for my own students (and other surveys seem to agree) that as digital as my students might be, they still prefer print if cost isn't a factor. 

I do not see a significant increase in the use of free and inexpensive open textbooks, and that is unfortunate. That is out of the hands of students and is often a direct result of teachers not being aware of them.

In a time when college bookstores are more likely to be called just the "campus store" because more sales come from clothing, snacks and drinks than books, you would expect the open textbook movement to be gaining strength.

I did a number of presentations to faculty in past years about finding open textbooks to use in their courses. (An older guide I did at PCCC is still online and relevant.) You can start by just searching through some of the most used sources (below), but, yes, it does take some work.

I haven't assigned a textbook in any of my graduate classes in the past 5 years with all readings coming from free online sources including open textbooks. 

Why Do We Grade Papers With Red Ink?

You'll often see a rubric used in academia as a guide listing specific criteria for grading or scoring academic papers, projects, or tests. But the word rubric has at least three other applications and an interesting origin.

It can mean: a heading on a document; a direction in a liturgical book as to how a church service should be conducted; or a statement of purpose or function.

The word rubric has origins in late Middle English rubrish which was the original way to refer to a heading, section of text. Earlier Old French rubriche had the same meaning and came from the Latin rubrica.

was a color designation for terra, to describe both a red clay or ink in the red ocher/ochre color.

Medieval printers had few ways to give emphasis to text on headings and the first character of a paragraph. Illuminated manuscripts could be quite elaborate and beautiful, but fonts were not standardized and there was no italic or bold. That left them to use color for emphasis.

Ochre is a naturally occurring pigment from certain clay deposits containing iron oxides, and has been used since prehistoric times to give color to dyes, paints and inks. Ochre colors are yellow, brown, red and purple. The most common in printing colored text was red ochre. In Latin, red ochre is rubrica and that is the origin of the word rubric as these red emphasized headings. Scholars who penned manuscripts in red ink were known as rubricians.)

This was taken further in the many religious texts that were reproduced. Those texts, used by clergy, included a kind of "stage directions" for the clergyman who was reading. These directions were printed in red while the text for the congregation was printed in black ink. This gave an additional meaning to the red rubric writing as instructional text.

As universities were created and books became more commonly used, scholars grading student papers would use red ink to leave instructions, suggestions and corrections on student papers. The practice has survived, although in some educational settings using red ink is now frowned on as being too negative. personally, I find criticism the same in any color.

An earlier version of this post appeaed on my blog Why Name It That?


The Impact of Games on Learning

go board

Games for the classroom continues to be an expanding field, though there are more skeptics than converts. As with other trends (MOOCs, for example), many educators want more information on assessing the impact of games on learning before they adopt games or game qualities in their courses.

Some bloggers on gamification have pointed out that it is not even clear what we want to accomplish in using games. Engagement? Critical thinking, problem solving and analysis skills? Personalized learning? Motivation?

A new report from Games for Change and the Michael Cohen Group titled "Impact with Games: A Fragmented Field," looks at some of the disconnects.

For example, a game may not have a significant impact on teaching "knowledge" but may impact collaboration and problem-solving skills in unexpected ways.

The report writers say that they "discovered that the words fundamental to successful collaboration like ‘game’ and ‘assessment’ have become litmus tests -- forcing people to be 'with us or against us'”

The report summary also suggests that:

"Success may require new umbrella language to enable meaningful comparison and improve coherence and efficacy -- especially across stakeholders. Power may need to be shared, rather than giving preference to either researchers or designers. The primary contribution of this first report is to make five basic claims about how the field is currently fragmented, establishing a foundation for more systematic solutions. Along the way we reveal why we are talking past one another, in public and private. Our second report (forthcoming) will dive deeper into proactive solutions..."


The Return of the Autodidacts

"Autodidact" has its roots in the Ancient Greek words autós, or "self" and didaktikos, meaning "teaching."  Dacticism defines an artistic philosophy of education and autodidacticism (also autodidactism) is used to mean self-education.

Learning that is self-directed about a subject in which you have little to no formal education is hardly a new trend. Before we had any formal educational systems, everyone learned on their own. From the primitive person knocking rocks together to create a tool, to a much more privileged autodidact like Leonardo da Vinci, to the home-schooled and largely self-taught inventors like Thomas Edison, we learned on our own and through the informal teaching and example of others.

Before schooling, there were less-formal ways of being taught through craft guilds, apprenticeships, tutors and mentors. The Industrial Revolution and the accompanying creation of schools changed that.

My title,"The Return of the Autodidacts," may not be completely accurate since they never left. Schooling has made learning less self-directed, but everyone has always learned on their own to some degree. It does seem that in this young 21st century, there has been a noticeable increase in learning outside of schools. The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and Maker movements, free and open online courses (MOOC) and even schools based on Self-Directed Learning (SDL), all indicate a desire to learn that is disconnected from organized classrooms and credits, certifications and degrees.

I have been writing about School 2.0 (AKA Education or University 2.0) for about six years and a lot of that touches on the idea of the individual taking the initiative and the responsibility for the learning that occurs. I heard a lot about "student-centered learning" at the end of the last century. Much of that came from the rise of online learning where the instructor has less ability to be the center of the learning.

Allowing a "student" to select, manage, and assess their own learning activities, on their own schedule opens up learning - and creates problems, especially if you are in the business of traditional education.

Lately, I hear the term "Self Directed Learning" (SDL) used more often and I see it attached to traditional schools. Some of the methods used by autodidacts have been co-opted by schools. Although it is still more likely that you would find a makerspace in a community setting or within a library, you are also seeing them as part of a school from grades K through college.

Self-directed learning also plays a role in movements such as home-schooling, experiential education, open schooling and life-long learning.

Proponents will note that the benefits extend beyond learning knowledge and skills and into a learning mindfulness for setting personal goals, planning and taking action to meet those goals with evidence of having learned. Self-improvement, personal and character development are central themes of SDL discussions. SDL involves initiating personal challenge activities and developing the personal qualities to pursue them successfully.


Do-It-Yourself (DIY) is the method of building, modifying, or repairing something without the aid of experts or professionals.

The motivations to go DIY are many. You might not have the money or the traditional tools and resources to buy or even make something. Perhaps the item just isn't available to you, or even to anyone. You may be disappointed in the quality of existing products. You may want a personally customized version of something. Maybe it is a sense of pride in creating something on your own, whether it is for your own use or for display or sale.

The term "do-it-yourself" has been associated with consumers since at least the early 20th century when it was usually connected to home improvement and maintenance (such as an automobile) activities. By the mid-century, it was in more common usage due to the emergence of a trend of people undertaking home improvement and various other small craft and construction projects as both a creative-recreational and cost-saving activity.

The maker movement grew from the DIY movement and led to communal spaces (makerspaces) that allowed access to workspace, tools and materials that many individuals could not afford. At one time that may have meant power tools, but today it includes laser cutters, 3D printers and computer-aided design tools. These spaces also can offer informal training and mentoring from other members. It brings the old models of craft guilds, apprenticeships, tutoring and mentoring back. Perhaps, it truly is a time of the return of the autodidact.