Anthony J. Pennings, PhD


My Top Social Media Books

Posted on | February 27, 2011 | No Comments

In general I’m unhappy with the focus and range of books on social media. Still, some interesting works are worth mentioning. I don’t really have them in a particular order as I haven’t really developed a useful taxonomy. Also I don’t have extensive comments as I link them to their Amazon pages where you can read the reviews on each one.

  • The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom.
    Yochai Benkler
  • – Opaque and intellectual, this book gets better with time. Its strengths are its discussions of democracy and the emergence of a networked public sphere.

  • Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business.
    Erik Qualman
  • – Readable and likable, it provides a good introduction to social media. A bit too anecdotal for my taste, but like I said, it’s a good start.

  • Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide: Business thinking and strategies behind successful Web 2.0 implementations.
    Amy Shuen
  • – I liked this book but found it a bit too cryptic for the undergraduate class I ordered it for. Still it’s the book I go back to when I want more serious ideas about social media. Looking forward to the second edition.

  • Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.
    Clay Shirky
  • – If you want to know what Wael Ghonim meant when he said “Ask Facebook”.

  • Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder.
    David Weinberger
  • – Read this traveling on the trains in Japan and use it in one of my Digital Media Management classes. Really good foundation to the different ways of organizing information and how digital technologies transform the whole area of information management.

  • The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success.
    Lon Safko
  • – Buy the Kindle version, this book is big.

  • Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment.
    Jim Sterne
  • – Numbers, deal with them.

  • PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences.
    Deirdre Breakenridge
  • – I plan to use this in my New Technologies for Advertising and Public Relations course at NYU this summer.

  • What Would Google Do?
    Jeff Jarvis
  • – Google has a mixed record when it comes to social media hits but with $28 billion in 2010 revenues it is a force in itself.

  • The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.
    Chris Anderson
  • – This is a classic in conceiving some of the economics of social media and blogging.


    Follow apennings on TwitterAnthony J. Pennings, PhD has been on the NYU faculty since 2001 teaching digital media, information systems management, and global communications.


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    Professor at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea since 2016. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, digital economics, and strategic communications.

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