This book is aimed at the American market, which came as a disappointment to me, here in Europe. It’s very much aimed at getting your teen a place at college. I had misinterpreted the inclusion of www.securityfirstassociates.com on the cover, assuming it would be more personal safety related while online. Security is touched on, and well, but the main emphasis is on building a desirable and easily marketable profile on the various social media platforms – on successful social networking and media strategies.
To remove kids from social media culture would do more harm than good, the author says, so it’s all about learning to handle them. You need to have a specific goal in mind – people with goals achieve far more than people without. And also, knowing what you want to achieve from your platform will help you get there quicker.
There are five chapters in the book.
1. Do you have a marketing and sales mindset: Getting into college these days requires this, at least in the States. Colleges use social marketing to reach out to students, so it makes sense that they use them to create good profiles that the colleges can look up.
2. Have a presence on the Big 3. These areFacebook, YouTube and Twitter. Others are Buzznet, LinkedIn, MySpace, Bebo, Delicious, Flickr, StumbleUpon. Your teens should have as clean a profile as possible. Get them to tidy up their account so colleges don’t see silly stuff. These seems rather severe but I guess it’s common sense. There are companies that can help you or your teen do this.
3. Character counts: this is all about how to show a good character on these sites. Your son or daughter needs to create an impressive personality online. How realistic, though, is a profile with inspiring quotes, family photos and career interest chats for a teen?
4. Don’t wait until senior year: The message of this chapter is on how to build up a profile in plenty of time. Scholarships are very important and must be applied for well in advance. There are hints on how to increase your chances of getting one.
5. Novice’s social networking cheat sheet: this includes such things as list of a keywords your teen should use on the sites, and what accounts to open where. There are also 8 tips regarding things like passwords, privacy settings, friending, groups inc list of hastags to use on Twitter, videos, keywords, sharing, content and conversation.
I have to confess that it all seemed a little over the top on the first read through. I’m not in the American system so I don’t know what it’s like. If it really is as competitive as this book would suggest then I’m glad I’m in France! However, on rereading the book, and especially as my daughter is currently trying to find holiday work, I could see the benefit of her creating, say, a LinkedIn page that she could direct prospective employees to. I know she wouldn’t go as far as a video message, but for outgoing teens, then I suppose that would be a good idea.
So, all in all, a book with sound ideas for a very particular population segment. It seems a shame that teens are having to market themselves from such a young age, but if needs must, well, they might at least do it well and this book will help them achieve that goal.