The best social media books

5 authors have picked their favorite books about social media and why they recommend each book.

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Feeding My Mother

By Jann Arden,

Book cover of Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as a Daughter Lives with Her Mom's Memory Loss

When Jann Arden falls into her role as caretaker to her parents, she uses journaling and social media to maintain her sanity. "I didn't want to feel alone in a room with Alzheimer's," she writes, and so she brings the reader into her home. Comprised of excerpts from Jann's journals, photographs that make the daily minutiae feel real, and recipes, Jann's beautiful book is a generous and very personal gift. Even those who are not already ardent Jann-fans will feel like her friend when immersed in this memoir. I did my first reading in one sitting, cried, and then read it again.


Who am I?

I am a care aide (aka personal support worker) who has happily worked at an extended care facility for more than twenty years, and as such, I have been a compassionate listener to many a family member suffering from the tsunami of feelings involved when coping with aging parents or spouses, so I thought I would be well-positioned and emotionally prepared to cope when it was my turn to face my own mother's deterioration. How wrong I was! Thank goodness for the generous souls who write memoirs. Each of the books that I have chosen was an education and an affirmation to me as I tried to maintain my equilibrium while supporting my mother and my mother-in-law through their final years.


I wrote...

A Funny Kind of Paradise

By Jo Owens,

Book cover of A Funny Kind of Paradise

What is my book about?

A Funny Kind of Paradise is a novel about a strong, independent woman who, because of a debilitating stroke, ends up in an extended care facility, partially paralyzed, mute, and tube-fed. But Francesca still has a strong will to live, and a great sense of humour, and she is surprised to find herself deeply engaged in the lives the residents she lives with and the workers who look after them all. The daily routines and dramas Fran witnesses lead her to reconsider her past, in particular her role as a single parent to her children.

A Funny Kind of Paradise is a warm and insightful novel about one woman's opportunity for reinvention--for unconditional love, acceptance, and closure--in the unlikeliest of places.

I am a Troll

By Swati Chaturvedi,

Book cover of I am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of the BJP's Digital Army

When I started working in Indian politics, I believed fixing issues that people faced was the prime driver of votes. It soon became obvious that it wasn’t facts and issues that determined election results, it was emotions. It was also clear that emotions could be manipulated, and the information people chose to believe in wasn't necessarily based in reality. This book details how troll farms built by political parties can be used to shape the conversation on social media, generate fake outrage, and derail rational thought, and how this influences election results. 


Who am I?

I graduated early from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor to come back to my home country and work in Indian politics. Since then I’ve worked with a Member of Parliament, handled campaign design in states across India, and headed data analytics for India’s largest political party. This experience gave me an inside view of how politics operates and how elections are actually won. The fact that this was at a time when Indian politics was going through massive changes with micro-targeting, digital technologies and disinformation gaining ground made the experience even more unique. Based on this experience, my books detail how power is gained, (mis)used, and lost.


I wrote...

How to Win an Indian Election

By Shivam Shankar Singh,

Book cover of How to Win an Indian Election

What is my book about?

Written by a former election campaign consultant for a major political party, How to Win an Indian Election takes readers into the forbidden world of election war-rooms and gives them a glimpse of how strategy is formulated, what works with voters on the ground and what doesn't. Based on research, interviews, and the author's own experiences, this book is invaluable for its insight into the inner workings of politics, political parties, and what really makes for a winning election campaign.

How to Stay Safe on Social Media

By Effie Manolas,

Book cover of How to Stay Safe on Social Media: Social Media Dos and Don'ts: What Kids and Parents Should Know

This book focuses on cybersecurity for parents and teenagers, specifically focusing on social media. As a parent of a teenager myself, I know how critical this area really is. Teens are often using social networks and communication channels that their parents are mostly or completely unfamiliar with. Due to that lack of familiarity, parents have a hard time monitoring or setting appropriate limits on the ways their children use social media. Author Effie Manolas wrote this book for both parents and teens, enabling an open conversation on both the benefits and the risks of social media.


Who am I?

I have been an information technology and cybersecurity professional for over two decades. I’ve learned over and over again that “people are the weakest link.” You can build the most secure system in the world, with stringent password requirements. But if the user writes their password down and leaves it where someone else can see it, system security is irrelevant! The easiest way to gain access to a system is via “social engineering” – to trick a human being into giving you the access you need, rather than trying to hack the system itself. The books on this list will help the reader lower their chances of being exploited like this.


I wrote...

10 Don'ts on Your Digital Devices: The Non-Techie's Survival Guide to Cyber Security and Privacy

By Eric J. Rzeszut, Daniel Bachrach,

Book cover of 10 Don'ts on Your Digital Devices: The Non-Techie's Survival Guide to Cyber Security and Privacy

What is my book about?

In nontechnical language and engaging style, 10 Don’ts on Your Digital Devices explains to non-techie users of PCs and handheld devices exactly what to do and what not to do to protect their digital data from security and privacy threats at home, at work, and on the road. These include chronic threats such as malware and phishing attacks and emerging threats that exploit cloudbased storage and mobile apps.

Through ten vignettes told in accessible language and illustrated with helpful screenshots, 10 Don’ts teaches non-technical readers ten key lessons for protecting your digital security and privacy with the same care you reflexively give to your physical security and privacy.

Content Inc.

By Joe Pulizzi,

Book cover of Content Inc.: Start a Content-First Business, Build a Massive Audience and Become Radically Successful

In Content Inc, Joe Pulizzi makes a bold proposal: What if you build your business on content—before you sell anything? Start with content, build a community, figure out what people want, and then serve it to them. A company built this way will have a culture aligned with its customers’ values. Now in its second edition, this book will make you rethink content marketing and entrepreneurship.


Who am I?

I am an author, nonfiction writing geek, and marketing practitioner on a mission to help people make a positive impact with their writing. Before setting out on this path, I spent many years as a marketing consultant, working with over 100 technology companies to articulate their messaging and value to customers and prospects. My first book, Subscription Marketing, was my manifesto about the changes needed in marketing to thrive in the emerging, subscription-based world. It’s now in its third edition and has been translated into multiple languages.


I wrote...

Subscription Marketing: Strategies for Nurturing Customers in a World of Churn

By Anne H. Janzer,

Book cover of Subscription Marketing: Strategies for Nurturing Customers in a World of Churn

What is my book about?

The growth of the subscription economy is reshaping our expectations of what it means to be a customer. Customers don’t want to be sold “stuff” or treated like transactions—they value experiences and relationships. The traditional practices of marketing must adjust. In today’s world, leads are fine, but relationships are better. Large marketing budgets are helpful, but creativity is priceless. Interrupt-driven tactics like advertising deliver inconsistent results, while adding and creating value always work. 

Subscription Marketing is a guide to navigating the new opportunities of marketing. The book offers a wide range of “value nurturing” strategies that you can implement, no matter what industry you’re in.

The Boy Kings

By Katherine Losse,

Book cover of The Boy Kings: A Journey into the Heart of the Social Network

A memoir that covers Losse’s experience working at Facebook from 2005 when she was the company’s 51st hire. Losse weaves her own experience—at first as a low-level employee in customer support and later as Mark Zuckerberg’s ghostwriter—with sharp analysis of Silicon Valley’s changing role in politics and culture. A powerful reckoning with her own complicity working for a company that exhibited dangerous “totalitarian” ambition from its very beginning.


Who am I?

Joanne McNeil has written about internet culture for over fifteen years. Her book considers the development of the internet from a user's perspective since the launch of the World Wide Web. Her interest in digital technology spans from the culture that enabled the founding of major companies in Silicon Valley to their reception in broader culture.


I wrote...

Lurking: How a Person Became a User

By Joanne McNeil,

Book cover of Lurking: How a Person Became a User

What is my book about?

A concise but wide-ranging personal history of the internet from the point of view of the user. 

In a shockingly short amount of time, the internet has bound people around the world together and torn us apart and changed not just the way we communicate but who we are and who we can be. It has created a new, unprecedented cultural space that we are all a part of—even if we don’t participate, that is how we participate—but by which we’re continually surprised, betrayed, enriched, befuddled. We have churned through platforms and technologies and in turn been churned by them. And yet, the internet is us and always has been. In Lurking, Joanne McNeil digs deep and identifies the primary (if sometimes contradictory) concerns of people online: searching, safety, privacy, identity, community, anonymity, and visibility. 

This Is Marketing

By Seth Godin,

Book cover of This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See

As Godin states: “Great marketers don't use consumers to solve their company's problem; they use marketing to solve other people's problems.” This book is for anyone in sales. For writers, you may find you see book marketing in a new light after reading this book. Not only is there psychology in how consumers (readers) make their decisions, learning to sell books also has a psychology behind it. Once you know who you are selling to and understand their needs, you can and will sell more.


Who am I?

I grew up reading my dad’s hardcore sci-fi and my mother’s romance, horror, and thrillers. This led to my desire to become a published author. Prior to 2012, I was a bestselling Canadian author with a handful of titles published. After hitting #4 on Amazon’s Bestsellers list, I was approached by agents and publishers. Within weeks I signed multiple contracts. Trident Media Group asked to represent me. Yes! I signed two audio deals with Audible, and multiple deals with foreign publishers. One of my mottos has always been to help other writers when I can, so I share my marketing expertise and experiences.


I wrote...

How I Made Over $42,000 in 1 Month Selling My Kindle eBooks

By Cheryl Kaye Tardif,

Book cover of How I Made Over $42,000 in 1 Month Selling My Kindle eBooks

What is my book about?

This book is specifically designed for Amazon's KDP Select publishing program. Tried and tested methods that will increase your followers, fans, mailing lists, and sales from Imajin Books publisher and bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif. This book contains 130+ links to sites that will promote your ebook, plus other valuable resources. It is a To-Do book, not just To-Read. 

If you follow these steps, your sales will increase and you will build momentum that will keep going. I earned $100,000+ in one year because I did everything described, and the following year I earned $100,000+ because of the momentum built using these strategies and hitting #4 on Amazon’s overall bestseller’s list for my thriller, Children of the Fog.

Misogynoir Transformed

By Moya Bailey,

Book cover of Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women's Digital Resistance

Bailey originated the term “misogynoir” in 2008 to describe, she writes, “the anti-Black racist misogyny that Black women experience, particularly in US visual and digital culture.” The controlling image of the “Mammy” has long been a hyper-visible, toxic presence in this milieu. In this book, Bailey examines the digital resistance and social media-based activisms of Black women—particularly queer and trans women—who seize representational power to dismantle the distorting stereotypes, expose their systemic impacts, and make spaces for telling their own diverse, gendered Black stories and enable others to do so as well. Throughout, Bailey makes clear that cultural representations have material, life-and-death effects, but also the capacity to create new and better worlds.


Who am I?

Stories of the past are always about making claims to the present and future. These claims include which stories—whose stories—are persistently silenced, ignored, or made very hard to hear, see, and know in the dominant culture. I am a cultural historian of U.S. political history, broadly imagined. My work is almost always driven by the same question: Why didn’t I already know this? Quickly followed by: What has it meant that I didn’t know this? Invariably, the answers are found in the histories of women, gender, race, sexuality, class, and immigration.


I wrote...

Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America

By Micki McElya,

Book cover of Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America

What is my book about?

When Aunt Jemima beamed from a box of pancake mix, many felt reassured. She was everyone's “Mammy,” the faithful slave who was content to cook and care for whites, no matter how grueling the labor or blatant the exploitation, because she loved them. This image of a nurturing black mother-figure ensconced—or trapped—within idealized white domesticity exercises a tenacious hold on the American imagination. 

The myth of “Mammy” warps popular understandings of slavery and its legacies while sustaining violent white supremacy, all through claims of affection. In 2021, the Aunt Jemima trademark was finally retired, but the myth holds on because so many refuse to let go of it and the cultural, political, and emotional work “Mammy” performs.

Can Your Teen Survive—and Thrive—Without a Smartphone?

By Melanie Hempe,

Book cover of Can Your Teen Survive—and Thrive—Without a Smartphone?

This gem of a book presents the argument that parents should consider delaying giving their children smartphones until the child becomes an adult and has attained certain life skills. A mother of four, former nurse, and founder of ScreenStrong, author Melanie Hempe lived through digital addiction in her own family and is passionate about helping other families avoid her “mistakes”. At the same time she is well-versed in the current scientific literature across a broad array of tech-related topics, and she successfully “walks the talk”: her teens abstain from gaming/social media/smartphone use, but they are far from being socially ostracized - a common fear amongst parents.


Who am I?

I am an integrative child psychiatrist with a special focus on how screen-time detunes the nervous system, causing issues with sleep, mood, focus, and behavior. In fact, technology use is the most underestimated influence of our time; it causes problems whose connections aren’t always obvious, leads to misdiagnosis and overmedication, and wastes resources. I am passionate about helping children and families methodically reverse these changes using screen fast protocols that provide dramatic improvements in functioning and well-being. I speak regularly to parents’ groups, schools, and health providers, and my work has been featured on such outlets as NPR, CNN, NBC Nightly News, Psychology Today, and Good Morning America.


I wrote...

Reset Your Child's Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen

By Victoria Dunckley,

Book cover of Reset Your Child's Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen

What is my book about?

Increasing numbers of parents grapple with children who are acting out without obvious reason. Revved up and irritable, many of these children are diagnosed with ADHD, bipolar illness, autism, tics, or other disorders but don’t respond well to treatment. Based on emerging scientific research and extensive clinical experience, Dr. Dunckley argues that the frequent underlying cause is overstimulation of the nervous system from too much screen time, wreaking havoc on brain chemistry, the body clock, stress hormones, and more.

This book offers a simple intervention that can produce a life-changing shift in brain function. Dr. Dunckley provides hope for parents who feel that their child has been misdiagnosed or inappropriately medicated, by presenting an alternative explanation for their child’s difficulties and a concrete plan for treating them.

Trust Me, I'm Lying

By Ryan Holiday,

Book cover of Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator

I couldn’t help but love this book for the marvelously dishy stories from inside the belly of the beast. You might think Ryan Holiday is dangerous, because he used all kinds of devious PR strategies to get journalists to promote his clients by giving them attention in their publications. He did it by arousing strong emotions, simplifying information, attacking opponents, and appealing to people’s deepest hopes fears, and dreams. But this entertaining read gets profound as Holiday reveals the dangers that can result from placing propaganda in the public sphere. Through rich storytelling, he unpacks the personal, social, and reputational damage caused by the many new media manipulators seeking to profit from controlling your attention.  


Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated with propaganda and persuasion since childhood. Growing up in Detroit, our family would watch both American and Canadian TV channels. The TV commercials shown on the American TV channels were noisier, nosier, zanier, and more intrusive than the more sedate and polite forms of persuasion on Canadian shows. Because advertising and propaganda are kissing cousins, I've always appreciated how they shape politics, journalism, entertainment, activism, education, and the arts. Propaganda's greatest (and most dangerous) power is its ability to both unify and divide people, and there's never been a more important time to look carefully at how propaganda is shaping our understanding of reality through the many screens in our lives.


I wrote...

Mind Over Media: Propaganda Education for a Digital Age

By Renee Hobbs,

Book cover of Mind Over Media: Propaganda Education for a Digital Age

What is my book about?

Students of all ages are surrounded by contemporary propaganda – and it now takes many forms as social media delivers highly customized, nonstop streams of entertainment, information, and persuasion. But educators can help students cope with the different kinds of propaganda – both beneficial and harmful – that can be found in news, advertising, movies, political campaigns, activism, and even education. This book offers a cornucopia of instructional strategies that help students analyze, resist, critique – and create propaganda. In the interplay of influence, propaganda is a strategic tool that shapes public opinion by using the power of language and images to appeal to the deepest hopes, fears, and dreams of people around the world. 

Influencer

By Brittany Hennessy,

Book cover of Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media

To become a top creator, I needed to understand the strategies behind people that lead an Instagram-ready lifestyle. After some search, I found this book that truly explained to me the fact that all current influencers started with zero followers and learned the proper strategy with time and mistakes. I recommend this book to everyone that wants to learn the principles and strategy of influencers, how they create content, measure success, and make sure they make money.

Who am I?

When you have online influence, you have the ability to transform minds, behaviors, and outcomes. Dario Sipos is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Branding Expert, Keynote Public Speaker, Business Columnist, and author of the highly acclaimed books Digital Personal Branding and Digital Retail Marketing. Dario has spent significant time working all over the world in the digital field, helping clients and developing brands. He helps leaders influence positive outcomes in all directions, even under the most difficult, changing conditions. Dario will help you build your influence in all directions of your online presence.


I wrote...

Digital Personal Branding: The Essential Guide to Online Personal Branding in the Digital Age

By Dario Sipos,

Book cover of Digital Personal Branding: The Essential Guide to Online Personal Branding in the Digital Age

What is my book about?

Digital Personal Branding is your guide to developing a personal online brand: Why it matters, how to approach it, and how to manage a personal brand successfully. No one can tell your story better than you can. This book will teach you how to do precisely that. You will be entirely ready to start and run your digital personal branding and marketing processes continuously and consistently. Never again worry about a job by becoming noticeable in your field.

Digital Personal Branding is a must-read for everyone that wants to develop their personal brand and become influential. Perfect for professionals, entrepreneurs, and college students.

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