Social media represents one of those rare instances when something "new" comes along, seemingly out of nowhere, that have a significant impact on the way people interact and communicate. To some, social media has become indispensable, whereas others can quite figure out what they are or why they matter.

Social media is often dismissed as a leisure activity, but it is a way to manage "rivers of information" and coordinate communications among large groups of people - and as such are of a high level of relevance to the workplace, if they are leveraged appropriately. And therein is the problem: most companies, and most managers, simply do not know how to harness and channel the tremendous power of social media. As a result, they have not only failed to recognize their value, but often forbidden employees from "playing around" with them instead of doing "real work."

Because social media is still fairly young, and the SM world is rapidly evolving, it's difficult to get a grasp of it. There are no established business models, no best practices, no "rules" to guide businesses. (EN: And though the author doesn't mention it, there is no shortage of crackpots who are dispensing bad advice and selling products that achieve no benefits to those who are too eager to experiment with SM.)

Given this environment, the author wrote this book to serve as a how-to guide for managing the people who are brining SM tools into the workplace, and those who are tasked with figuring out how to leverage them. The potential rewards for being a first-mover are significant, as are the potential risks when you are working on the bleeding edge - so getting a general grip on SM, outside the context of any given product or service, is important to sorting things out.