Review: NOW IS GONE by Geoff Livingston

Now Is Gone
Now Is Gone

With the Internet continuing to evolve at a dizzying pace, where six months can feel like six years, most printed books about new media are outdated by the time they hit bookstore shelves. One published back in 2007 should, by all rights, be completely worthless at this point.

That Geoff Livingston’s now is gone: A Primer on New Media for Executives and Entrepreneurs (Bartleby Press, November 2007) still holds up is a testament to his wisely focusing on “social media principles rather than tactics” and offering a practical take on the opportunities and challenges new media technologies have introduced to the marketing mix.

For “traditional media” organizations, new media has been a remarkably disruptive force, leveling the playing field for consumers and marketers alike to connect without traditional intermediaries, and enabling both to become influential and competitive content producers themselves. The learning curve for successful integration of new media into a traditional media organization can be steep, leaving all but the savviest executives in the dark about how to proceed.

The future impact of social media on marketing will be felt throughout all disciplines. When there are vast changes in the way people communicate, like social media, marketing tactics and entire programs need to be rethought. For some more consumer-based industries, a shift in marketing means an even more dramatic organizational change.

Credited as being written “with Brian Solis” — the hyperbolic PR 2.0 guru seemingly afflicted with Munchausen by proxy syndrome and a flair for belaboring the obvious — Livingston’s more rational voice is, thankfully, dominant throughout. While there is nothing particularly revelatory here that any savvy marketing professional shouldn’t already be familiar with, most will appreciate its recognition of social media as a fundamental piece of the marketing mix, part of a long-term strategy tied to a company’s core values, and not a short-term tactic tied to the latest new shiny du jour.

Everyone thinks it’s a revolution, when in reality it’s a return to old-fashioned values. Relationships and values in the sense of the baker, the butcher and general store owners down on Main Street… By talking with its community rather than at them, a company becomes an integral part of those communities.

now is gone fulfills its stated mission of being a primer on new media for key decision-makers, making it a perfect resource to pass along to executives who simply don’t “get” it when it comes to marketing, traditional or social. Livingston never talks down to the reader — something many new media evangelists are guilty of — and he keeps things relatively high-level and practical with case studies spotlighting specific initiatives, covering the most important fundamentals in the second and third chapters, “New Media Ready?” and “Building a New Media Effort.”

Any executive should appreciate the mix of personal insights complemented by commentary and experiences from the variety of industry professionals quoted and interviewed; that he consistently ties everything back to fundamental strategic planning and return on investment is the real clincher:

Businesses that leverage social media intelligently have great things to gain from new media, including positive conversations with customers, better communications, buyers who consider the company part of their community, increased brand loyalty, longer relationships, and much, much more… New media allows companies to create valuable content for important communities, beginning a dialogue with them and attracting loyal buyers. Created with a purpose–whether it’s personal entertainment, the publication of an online journal, or corporate promotion–these content forms are sticky, generating and keeping audiences’ interest.

now is gone is an excellent addition to anyone’s business and/or marketing library, and Livingston continues to offer solid social media commentary grounded in reality at his blog, Buzz Bin. (Check out “Integrating Social Media into the Larger Mix“, “Five Quick Tips for Enterprise Adoption“, and “I Don’t Care About Your Personal Brand“.)

Buy the book, subscribe to the blog, follow him on Twitter — where I first came across him — and tap into one of the smarter and more engaging personalities working in the new media realm.

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3 thoughts on “Review: NOW IS GONE by Geoff Livingston

  1. Geoff: No problem. I'm glad I enjoyed the book as much as I have been enjoying your blog. Keep up the great work. Next time you're in NYC, I'd love to buy you a drink and pick your brain!

  2. Geoff: No problem. I'm glad I enjoyed the book as much as I have been enjoying your blog. Keep up the great work. Next time you're in NYC, I'd love to buy you a drink and pick your brain!

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