There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method.

—Herman Melville

First, let’s define some terms. Sharing a common understanding of these terms will help all of us dodge some of the confusion lurking around the subject of this book. These definitions are vast oversimplifications, but no matter. They will get us started on our journey, more or less together.

Social networking: Humans sharing knowledge with other humans outside of their immediate pair-bond families.

Social computing: Systems of hardware, software, and firmware that enable social networking in a digital environment.

Social media: Platforms specifically designed to make social computing available to anyone with a device capable of connecting to the Internet.

Enterprise 2.0: A term coined by Andrew McAfee, a professor at the Harvard School of Business, to describe the impact of social networking, social computing, and social media on business organizations.

OK, now we can begin. Clearly, you’ve already heard a lot about social media and you’re wondering how it can help your business or help your career. That’s probably why you’re reading this book, right? Our goal is to take some of the mystery out of social media. After all, it’s just another tool.

Or is it? Saying that social media is just another tool is a little bit like saying the telephone is just another tool or the Internet is just another tool. OK, maybe you’re right. They are all tools. But from that perspective, ...

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