Top 25 Social Media Books for Academia: #17 Age of Context

For those fascinated with wearable technology or struggling to predict the feasible potential of big data, this is a great resource. The Age of Context provides a comprehensive overview of what is likely to happen with location based services, wearable technology, big data, sensors, privacy and mobile in general. For practitioners in social media marketing, it is a must read. 

Age of Context ranks as top social media book

Robert Scoble and Shel Israel as authors of top social media book

The book, in my opinion, also qualifies academically as a supplementary reading for undergraduate level and MBA programs. The recommendation is based on the following:

  1. Robert Scoble and Shel Israel clearly have the technical insights to back their predictions. Their stories of high tech possibilities are backed by their expert grasp of social media behaviors as well as their personal exploration of technology. 
  2. The book fills a gap in contextual marketing and IoT understanding that professors and practitioners otherwise glean from fragmented blogs and research papers on the subject.
  3. The two authors make a great pair.  The seemingly odd pairing – some describe as a technical pundit and business consultant – makes for a dynamic dialog.
  4. The authors provide sound rationale and plenty of examples to back their future vision. This contrasts with the many 2014 predictions that widely overestimate technology adoption. 
  5. The book provides a convincing argument of how context will change how we use technology and social media. This fits in well with curriculum aimed at projecting future behaviors and marketing practices. 

What keeps the book, however, from qualifying higher as a primary text for MBA social media courses is the following.

  1. Despite the fascinating perspectives on what big data, the cloud, sensors and Google Glass can offer consumers and brands, the book seems to miss an opportunity to lead the way in contextual marketing. If instead they referenced a number of conceptual or behavioral studies, students might be more convinced of the psychological dimensions of context. Their great chapter on “contextual self,” for example, should be appended by some journal articles on the subject.  
  2. Being a mix of mobile tech and context raises the question of where to position the book in a social media marketing curriculum. If classes are structured around a SoLoMo perspective, the book fits in very well. If not, the book could perhaps follow social advertising as the first exposure to contextual marketing and then lead into an overview of either mobile marketing or technology (e.g., IoT). 
  3. The book’s evolving technology storyline makes it a fun and fascinating read. The authors take a topical approach to introducing a myriad of new tech and changing consumer perspectives. On the other hand, it makes it challenging for professors tasked with constructing critical thinking and strategically oriented exercises as well as tying the topics to learning outcomes.  A suggestion would be to use the book as a prelude to models depicting contextual behaviors or frameworks for dissecting the psychological aspects of context.

Overall Evaluation of Social Media Book

Category: Recommended supplementary reading for undergraduate and MBA courses in social media marketing as well as IMC.

Social media book evaluation

Evaluation of Age of Context as top social media book

So what is your take on this book being qualified for higher education? Please share your own criteria or what disagreements you have with this book’s academic influence.

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