Posts Tagged ‘Six Pixels of Separation’

Book Review: Six Pixels Of Separation

Six Pixels of Separation bookAs I mentioned recently, I’ve been working my way through the book/audiobook of Mitch Joel‘s Six Pixels of Separation for a while now. Well, I’ve finally finished it… here’s my take…

The Good

  • Well-written – Six Pixels of Separation is written in Mitch’s usual friendly, candid style. Though the 270+ pages of content took me a while to get through, it certainly wasn’t because it was a hard read.
  • Well-targeted – social media is reaching a point where small businesses can effectively use it to build a presence online. There are a lot of people out there who don’t know how to go about it. This book aims at them, and keeps its beady eye on that audience throughout.
  • Good background – throughout the book, Mitch makes reference to the ways that traditional marketing works, and the ways social media marketing differs from that. It’s a useful perspective for people new to the field.
  • Good primer – Mitch takes his readers on a well-constructed tour through most of the basic elements of social media marketing. If you’re new to this stuff, it’s a great primer. If you’re a recent convert, it’s a good reminder.

The Not So Good

  • Nothing new – Take this one with a pinch of salt as I’m not the target. Whether it’s Join the Conversation or even back to ClueTrain, this book adds little that hasn’t been said before.
  • Same people – listen to Media Hacks or to Mitch’s podcast? You’ll have heard either directly from or about most of the people mentioned in this book.
  • Not so practical – this book is all about “why,” not “how.” If you’re looking for the “how” of social media, look elsewhere.

The Take-Aways

  • Nowadays, everyone researches things online. When they do that, you want them to find as much good content about you as possible.
  • Control is a myth. If you matter to people then they are talking about you, whether you know about it or not and whether you like it or not. The only choice is whether you participate.
  • Content is king.
  • Social media lets you choose and define your own niche, and own it.
  • Mobile marketing is emerging as a powerful channel.

Who should buy this book

Not you.

This book is targeted at small business owners who are still searching for the “why” of social media. If you’re reading this site, you’re probably beyond the “why” and into the “how.” You won’t learn much new from this book.


(See what I did there?)

If you’re into social media or the evolution of marketing, you’ll probably enjoy this book. Unlike some other books out there, it’s not a string of blog posts strung together but a well written, cohesive book that flows well. So, if you’re looking for something to reinforce your general thoughts on social media, this is a good start.

The Conclusion

Most of the criticisms above are based on my prior knowledge – I live and work in this space and I either know or know of almost everyone mentioned in the book, so I’m clearly not the in the sweet spot. This book just isn’t targeted at me.

Despite those minor criticisms, though, I really enjoyed this book – enough that I was willing to pay for the audiobook as well as the hard-back copy. It’s easy to absorb, easy to understand and hard to put down. I’d happily recommend it to a small or medium-sized business owner looking to learn more about this space.

There’s my brief take. Have you read Mitch’s book? What did you think?

Top 12 Communications, Marketing And Social Media Podcasts

I’m a podcast junkie. I listen to them whenever I’m outside, and I get through a lot. It helps that I run marathons, so I spend an hour or two on the trails most nights and have plenty of time to listen.

If you’re into PR and social media and you’re new to podcasting or are looking for a few new shows to check out, here are my current favourites, in no particular order:

Six Pixels of Separation

As I said in a call-in comment to this show last week, Mitch Joel‘s ‘Six Pixels of Separation’ is one of the shows that got me into listening to podcasts. Mitch’s enthusiasm for his subjects is infectious. What’s more, his commentary, insights, interviews and useful tips make for essential listening if you’re even remotely connected to digital marketing.

For Immediate Release

This is another one of the foundations of my podcast playlist. Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson, together with a plethora of regular correspondents, lead their listeners on a bi-weekly tour of the world of communications and social media.

For Immediate Release is divided into several ‘streams’ – the Hobson & Holtz report; book reviews; interviews and live call-in shows. They’re available individually or aggregated together as a single feed.

The regular shows are usually about an hour long, so if you don’t have lots of time for your podcast listening it can be a bit infeasible to listen to them all (I quickly fall behind when I’m not training every day).

Inside PR

The first of several Canadian podcasts on this list, Inside PR is one of the shows that I make a point of listening-to as soon as it is published each week. Hosted by Dave Jones, Martin Waxman, Julie Rusciolelli and the guy-next-door-to-me, Terry Fallis. The show focuses on public relations from an agency perspective, and was actually the first podcast to which I ever listened.

Managing the Gray

Along with Mitch Joel, CC Chapman has one of the most energizing, infectious voices in podcasting. He can be sporadic in posting new episodes sometimes, but the energy level alone makes them worth checking out. I had the pleasure of hanging out with CC at PodCamp Montreal this year, and the energy is there in real life as well. The marketing thoughts in his show are helpful, too…

License to spyCBC Search Engine

This is the first show I listen to every week. Unfortunately Jesse Brown’s lively, insightful show got cut from the CBC’s regular schedule and the length has suffered from the lack of resources Jesse now has. Regardless, it’s still essential listening for me. It doesn’t hurt that I love the way the show is structured – the music, the tone, the topics all fit together perfectly.

CBC Spark

Nora Young hosts Spark, another CBC podcast which explores issues in technology and culture. I met Nora and her colleague Dan Misener at Podcasters Across Borders this year

Media Bullseye Radio Roundtable

The most recent addition to my list (as the folks at Custom Scoop just added it to iTunes); every week Jen Zingsheim and Chip Griffin invite a different person from the social media sphere to join them for a discussion of the latest news in the blogosphere. The different speakers each episode mean there’s always a new perspective on things. Well worth checking out.


The cast of PRobecast has changed over time as people have come and gone from the Topaz Partners team, but the show has retained its focus on social media and public relations. Nowadays the cast includes a couple of people who are new to/haven’t bought-in to the social media ‘thing’ so there are plenty of interesting discussions.

Marketing Over Coffee

Christopher Penn and John Wall meet at a Boston-area Dunkin Donuts every week to discuss the latest in marketing trends and techniques. I have a habit of referring to the show as “Spam over Coffee” due to their focus on email marketing, but whichever way you cut it, there’s more knowledge jammed into each show than I possess in total.

(Also check out John’s other show, The M Show, for his take on recent news and entertainment happenings; and Christopher’s Financial Aid Podcast for… well… financial advice.)

Trafcom News

The lovely Donna Papacosta’s podcast is one of the more irregular shows on my listening list, but it’s worth it for the useful, practical podcasting and audio production tips, and Donna’s dulcet tones (she’s like an audio massage).


One of the more irreverent shows on my list, this one makes it on here due to its occasional tangential mentions of PR and marketing. I primarily listen to Shill for amusement while telling myself it’s educational.

With an apparently random show schedule, Dave Jones and Doug Walker take a tour through whatever catches their attention at the time. Throw-in the occasional F-bomb, plenty of self-mockery and copious ribbing of their listener, and you’ve got a thoroughly amusing show (to me, anyway… but what do I know?).

Tip: The show notes are often as amusing as the podcast itself.

Media Driving

The show title is apt, as Jay Moonah quite literally drives while recording this podcast (I wonder how that will work with Ontario’s proposed new cellphone driving law…)! The shortest show on my playlist, the ever bubbly Jay usually gets into just one topic within the umbrella of “communications, content, messages and marketing” on each show. This makesMedia Driving perfect for when you’ve got a spare minute or 10 on your hands.

So now you know what I’m listening to. What about you?