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Summary

From visionary tech entrepreneur Oliver Luckett and MIT Media Lab's Michael J. Casey, a groundbreaking, must-hear theory of social media - how it works, how it's changing human life, and how we can master it for good and for profit.

In barely a decade, social media has positioned itself at the center of 21st-century life. The combined power of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine has helped topple dictators and turned anonymous teenagers into celebrities overnight. In the social media age, ideas spread and morph through shared hashtags, photos, and videos, and the most compelling and emotive ones can transform public opinion in mere days and weeks, even attitudes and priorities that have persisted for decades.

How did this happen? The scope and pace of these changes have left traditional businesses - and their old-guard marketing gatekeepers - bewildered. We simply do not comprehend social media's form, function, and possibilities. It's time we did.

In The Social Organism, Luckett and Casey offer a revolutionary theory: Social networks - to an astonishing degree - mimic the rules and functions of biological life. In sharing and replicating packets of information known as memes, the world's social media users are facilitating an evolutionary process just like the transfer of genetic information in living things. Memes are the basic building blocks of our culture, our social DNA. To master social media - and to make online content that impacts the world - you must start with the social organism.

With the scope and ambition of The Second Machine Age and James Gleick's The Information, The Social Organism is an indispensable guide for business leaders, marketing professionals, and anyone serious about understanding our digital world - a guide not just to social media but to human life today and where it is headed next.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2016 Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey (P)2016 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

" The Social Organism's exploration of social media goes far beyond a recipe for clicks and 'likes' and presents a deeply convincing theory of how life is changing in the digital age, and how you can use social media not only to transform your business but to help change the world." (Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post)
"As individuals, we are the authors of our own thoughts. But, social media has triggered emergence. The sum of our public thoughts has become greater than the whole - a new life has manifested. The Social Organism brings context and perspective to this, our hyperconnected ecosystem." (Biz Stone, cofounder of Twitter, Medium, and Jelly)
"Social media is the most obvious recent way that human life is being forever changed by technology. This book's brilliant unifying metaphor, the Social Organism (which is the converse of my mentor Marvin Minsky's book Society of Mind) illuminates how the ground is shifting beneath our feet." (Ray Kurzweil, inventor, author, and futurist)

What members say

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A unique and incredible take on social.

What did you like most about The Social Organism?

How the authors gave real world examples of when examples of how social content emerges, spreads and dies.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Social Organism?

The Chapter about the transformation of memes.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-02-17

Great read if looking to gain further insight into social media from a liberal sociopolitical perspective

Let me first start off by saying I am extremely liberal and hail from an uber conservative evangelist family. Context in mind, I can fully see how someone not sharing my particular viewpoint and the viewpoint of the author's, could be so turned off by the content that they find it unreadable.

I loved the author's insights and his correlation of his scientific/biology background to social media but also felt that it seemed a little too agenda-y.

I mean, I work in the marketing/PR/content development industries and some aspects made me cringe a bit at how the author really just seemed to be pushing some agenda more so than creating useful and insightful content.

Don't get me wrong--it was very insightful, and I found much of what was heard very useful for the purpose of storing in my metacognitive database on the subject -- but I would liken the experience to that of being wined and dined by [insert philosophical icon crush] only to come out on the bad end of a walk of shame after a one night stand to find that they were nothing more than a narcissistic corporate mouth-piece only interested in harnessing your attention to further their own self-promotion.

Pce.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • 04-01-17

It becomes something else

If you could sum up The Social Organism in three words, what would they be?

Touted as and (for the most part) written as a comparison between the functioning Social (Internet) Marketing and Living organisms. And, solely from that perspective, it is 3 Stars, but could be better.. The author is American by birth but now lives in Northern Europe. Throughout the book there are references to American political viewpoints which are unnecessary and cloud the stated purpose of the book. Take out the political interjections and the book would easily be 4 to 4.5 Stars.

What other book might you compare The Social Organism to and why?

None that I've ever read.

What about Oliver Luckett’s performance did you like?

The detailed manner in which he explains the similarities.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, but negatively, every political reference. If i wanted to read about agentized politics i would have purchased a book on that subject.

Any additional comments?

Author is clearly intelligent, highly educated and experienced.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-12-16

Too Preachy

Too much Theory not enough practicality. Not what I thought book was about. Felt like author had other motives in writing this book. Maybe author should write a anti Trump book instead!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert Lazar
  • 25-10-17

I fully recommend this book

I am a marketer, social media specialist snd also a personal development coach and trainer.

This book confirmed me some information and also gave me a deepee understanding of how our world, dociety and humanity works.

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  • Greg
  • 24-09-17

No factual information that is applicable to the real world of social media marketing.

Nothing but virtue signaling and self promotion by the author. More like a grade C high school theme paper than a valuable text.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-08-17

Best book I have read in a while

Such a great book learned a lot does a great job explaining and helping to understand social media and life in general in biological terms!

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  • Julia Moore
  • 04-08-17

Why mass communication really is viral

Michael and Oliver make the biology model a perfect framework for understanding social networks. If you are in marketing, communications, brand building or community development this is a must read.

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  • Andrew Donegan
  • 28-06-17

very interesting perspective

Very interesting perspective wish his political opinions were kept to himself and not regurgitated throughout the book. with that being said I still loved it

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  • Joshua
  • 19-01-17

Good but definitely biased...

I enjoyed the concept of this book, and completely agree with his examples and comparisons to biology, but the author presses an agenda, mostly unnecessarily, throughout the book. The only thing I appreciated about that, though, was the fact that you knew his personal beliefs but he still went down the road of advocating for free speech through social channels even though most with his same political bent seem to push for silencing the opposition. Good book overall, gets a little heavy (maybe just me) with some of the biology occasionally, but all good stuff...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Travis Haglin
  • 09-12-16

Social Media is a living organism.

Enjoyed the comparison of communication and biological evolution. Intriguing read (listen). To keep an organism alive it needs to be feed and allowed to grow with little constraint, direction yes, constraint no. A must read