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The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life
     

The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life

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by Oliver Luckett, Michael J. Casey
 

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From "tech mogul" (Los Angeles Times) Oliver Luckett and MIT Media Lab's Michael Casey, a groundbreaking book that illuminates how social media functions on a global scale, how human culture is evolving with it, and how we can master digital content for good and for profit.

The co-founder of three multi-million dollar start-ups, Oliver

Overview

From "tech mogul" (Los Angeles Times) Oliver Luckett and MIT Media Lab's Michael Casey, a groundbreaking book that illuminates how social media functions on a global scale, how human culture is evolving with it, and how we can master digital content for good and for profit.

The co-founder of three multi-million dollar start-ups, Oliver Luckett is frequently asked to speak on social media's impact. But how, he used to wonder, could he best describe the interactions of millions of users, a complicated system of human connections? One day, while hiking through Joshua Tree National Park, Luckett had a flashback to his days as a microbiology lab rat—and an epiphany: Social media is an organism, a living, breathing, evolving creature.

Luckett and Casey deliver a revolutionary theory of social networks, showing—to an astonishing degree—how they mimic biological life. By examining cells, viruses, and other microbiological functions, we can master social media in both business and in life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/29/2016
Luckett and Casey argue that social media—today’s digital world of images, videos, hashtags, and more—“functions on every level like a living organism.” Their history of modern mass communication, from “super-bloggers,” Friendster, and MySpace to LinkedIn, Instagram, and Vine, creates a context in which to effectively explore such topics as memes, selfies, and YouTube stardom. Examples include #BlackLivesMatter, Brexit, Twitter, Grumpy Cat, and Bat Kid. The extended metaphor works well to illustrate social media’s power as a means of communication and driver of change, though Luckett and Casey’s discussion bogs down at times in lengthy explanations of biological processes, including a puzzling digression on boll weevils. They offer a mostly positive perspective on social media as a living organism but take a very dim view of Facebook’s “censorship” of users. They also make the important balancing point that “social media pitchfork mobs can engage in mass character assassination against targeted individuals.” The book loses steam when the authors present their prescription for social media’s future, but this preachy conclusion shouldn’t deter readers who are interested in how social media works and how to use it effectively. Agent: Gillian MacKenzie, Gillian MacKenzie Agency. (Nov.)
Kirkus Review
Sept. 15, 2016
A manifesto of sorts, proclaiming that the ubiquity of social media is not necessarily the end of the world, Luddites notwithstanding, even if those media need to be cajoled “into a healthier state.”Luckett, formerly head of innovation at Disney, and one-time Wall Street Journal columnist Casey (The Unfair Trade: How Our Broken Global Financial System Destroys the Middle Class, 2012, etc.), currently a senior fellow at MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative, take a generally positive view of our connected, always-on digital world. However, pointing to Kim Kardashian butt shots and kitty videos, they caution, “not all evolution is progress.” Regardless, a swift evolution has glued us to our hand-held screens, and by the authors’ account, a sort of mass mind has spawned, patrolling the airwaves for ideas and deeds and punishing the bad while rewarding the good. Thus it is that when a Minneapolis dentist shot poor Cecil the Lion last year, the web came crashing down on him. “It is as if the Social Organism recognized Walter Palmer’s behavior as a harmful foreign substance,” write the authors, “a threat that needed to be expelled, akin to the racist Confederate flag.” So it is, as news travels less by media networks than by the peer-to-peer, instantly outraged spiderweb of Facebook and Instagram. The argument is the usual stuff of pop social science, in which carefully chosen anecdotes meet smatterings of fact. The approach is sometimes a little breezy and sometimes a little careless. It would seem ill advised, for instance, to characterize South Carolina shooter Dylann Roof as simply “a white twenty-one-year-old redneck,” though it’s certainly correct to observe that social media were supremely instrumental in channeling the grief and outrage of his murders into a campaign to remove Confederate symbols from the state house. There’s not much new here apart from some synthesis of current theories about meme proliferation and networking, but the book should interest cyberspace completists.
From the Publisher
"If anyone can help us understand this digitally connected world, it's [Luckett and Casey]—and they don't disappoint.... The book offers a deeply informed and nuanced portrait of the social-media landscape, supported by numerous examples.....This is an overarching theory of social media, spanning disciplines from biology to anthropology to business to computer science... Compelling."—Booklist"

Social media is the most obvious recent way that human life is being forever changed by technology. This book's brilliant unifying metaphor, the Social Organism (which is the converse of my mentor Marvin Minsky's book Society of Mind) illuminates how the ground is shifting beneath our feet. As Luckett and Casey conclude, social media will begin to act more and more like a global brain. The implications for our way of life, our governments, and our businesses are immense. I cannot recommend this book enough."—Ray Kurzweil, inventor, author, and futurist"

The Social Organism's exploration of social media goes far beyond a recipe for clicks and 'likes' and presents a deeply convincing theory of how life is changing in the digital age, and how you can use social media not only to transform your business but to help change the world."—Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post and #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sleep Revolution"

In less than a decade, social media has gone from fringe to mainstream. In the next decade, it will reorder the ways people communicate, work together, trade, and pursue ideas. Luckett and Casey have written the quintessential guide to understanding our social future."—Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner, Andreessen Horowitz"

When I started my first business in 1992, there was no social media. Today, no successful business is launched without a social strategy. This book is the best guide out there. Want to build a brand or a cause? Start by reading this."—Daymond John, CEO of FUBU, CEO of Shark Branding, Co-Star on ABC's Shark Tank, bestselling author of The Power of Broke"

I saw how humankind can use the Internet to bring about positive change when Oliver Luckett helped register 2 million new voters for the Declare Yourself campaign we initiated in 2004. Since then, social media seems to have delivered such transformative change again and again. In their deeply insightful new book, The Social Organism, Oliver and Michael Casey make sense of it all. Finally, even this ancient clunk of an Internet user has some sense of what it's all about and where we're heading."—Norman Lear"

Social media and its complexity may appear to be disordered chaos, but, using a natural and biological lens, The Social Organism helps us make sense of this powerful new system. Important reading for anyone trying to understand the world."—Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab and Co-Author of Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future"

As individuals, we are the authors of our own thoughts. But, social media has triggered emergence. The sum of our public thoughts has become greater than the whole—a new life has manifested. The Social Organism brings context and perspective to this, our hyperconnected ecosystem."—Biz Stone, Co-Founder, Twitter, Medium, and Jelly; author of Things a Little Bird Told Me"

The Social Organism is a remarkable hybrid: a riveting history of mass media, a convincing guide to the landscape of digital platforms, and an indispensable window into our future world. It's a must-read for business leaders and anyone who wants to understand all the implications of a social world."—Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316359528
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
11/15/2016
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
97,932
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)

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What People are Saying About This

Co-founder, Twitter, Medium, and Jelly; author of Things a Little Bird Told Me - Biz Stone
"As individuals, we are the authors of our own thoughts. But, social media has triggered emergence. The sum of our public thoughts has become greater than the whole—a new life has manifested. The Social Organism brings context and perspective to this, our hyperconnected ecosystem."
inventor, author and futurist - Ray Kurzweil
"Social media is the most obvious recent way that human life is being forever changed by technology. This book's brilliant unifying metaphor, the Social Organism (which is the converse of my mentor Marvin Minsky's book Society of Mind) illuminates how the ground is shifting beneath our feet. As Luckett and Casey conclude, social media will begin to act more and more like a global brain. The implications for our way of life, our governments, and our businesses are immense. I cannot recommend this book enough."
director, MIT Media Lab and co-author of Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future - Joi Ito
"Social Media and its complexity may appear to be disordered chaos, but, using a natural and biological lens, The Social Organism helps us make sense of this powerful new system. Important reading for anyone trying to understand the world."

Meet the Author

Oliver Luckett is a renowned digital entrepreneur whose resume hosts an array of formidable start-ups and other accomplishments in new media. He is currently CEO of theAudience, the world's largest multi-channel publisher, which he co-founded with Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel and Napster/Facebook pioneer Sean Parker. With a reach of a billion customers a month, theAudience works with top celebrities, brands, and "influencers" to help spread their message.

Co-writer Michael J. Casey is the author of three critically-acclaimed books and a longtime columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He recently became the Senior Advisor at MIT Media Lab's new Digital Currency Initiative.

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The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous 23 days ago
Got this book as a Christmas gift and have made it most of the way. I can't make it all the way through because its more a left wing political rant than the book about social media that I expected. The authors begin the book with promise, but then they devolve into the type of sanctimonious socio-political commentary which recently sank an election campaign and which you can find on for free on Vox, Buzzfeed etc. Had potential to push big new ideas but instead it left a bad taste that stopped me from finishing it.