A month ago Shel Israel swung through Calgary on a “promotional stop”:http://www.meetup.com/third-tuesday-calgary/calendar/11278682/ for his latest book, “Twitterville”:http://redcouch.typepad.com/weblog/twitterville.html. Intrigued by his previous work, “Naked Conversations with Robert Scroble”:http://books.google.ca/books?id=8tD1OOLUbJgC&dq=naked+conversations&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=dj3qSr7pBI30sQOR3fHWCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAw, Half of the Armadillo team attended his talk to see what Shel had to say about on twitter. Shel spent the evening doing what he does best; regaling the audience with anecdote after anecdote about the growing importance of Twitter for business (and to a lesser extent society). Needless to say, very few attendees of that event left without a copy of twitterville under their arm.

Shel is a gifted story teller and _Twitterville_ is nothing short of enthralling and inspiring. From a business perspective if you are looking to properly explore the world of Social Marketing, in particular Twitter, consider picking up a copy.

See Twitterville easily overshadows the “plethora of other Twitter books”:http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&ved=0CA4QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dummies.com%2Fstore%2Fproduct%2FTwitter-For-Dummies.productCd-0470479914.html&rct=j&q=twitter+for+dummies+book&ei=30zwSpzYCJLWtgPO7LiABg&usg=AFQjCNFPwJyyZ2O85EOsh5qHKEYzgsPJ0g, because it is *an honest look at the evolving community, from the viewpoint of someone who truly cares*. Shel enthusiasm clearly demonstrates his appreciation for the subject material. His business anecdotes have an intimate feel to them, due to the relationships he has built with the major protagonists in each story. Within each chapter he is promoting and championing businesses that understand Twitterville and are pushing it in a positive direction. More importantly, he showcases the people behind these successful accounts, who are leverage their own generosity and compassion to further the community and their own bottom-line.

In a sense, the basic take-away from Twitterville, revolves around the divide between the personal and impersonal. As Shel notes throughout the book, the downfall of many business strategies on Twitter are routed in the impersonal and archaic _broadcast_ tactics many companies are familiar with. Where businesses are seeing favourable results on Twitter, is when they shift their focus towards a more involved and open two-way communication strategy. Shel’s philosophy is that *Businesses will succeed on Twitter only when they are personable*. And he leverages many examples throughout Twitterville; from the success story of “comcastcares”:http://twitter.com/comcastcares to “scottymonty”:http://twitter.com/scottymonty and his ability to suppress Ford Ranger Fan-club backlash to the small business success of Houston’s “coffegroundz”:http://twitter.com/coffeegroundz.

That is not to say that Twitterville is only for the novice twitter user. Rather Twitterville is an important read even for the most seasoned of power users. From his own personal ideal _That Twitter is the Place where People Act The Most Honest_ to the concept of _Lethal Generosity_, Shel is able to show Twitter’s evolving ability in a different light. In addition, Shel’s business cases and anecdotes are well researched and provide even experienced marketers with ideas and concepts to work with or bring to their clients. That is not to say that there aren’t any remedial chapters intended for the novice users (the Last Chapter is dedicated to the basics of Twitter and there is a detailed chapter geared towards the darker side of twitter).

It’s easy to be sceptical of the magnitude of literature popping up regarding the business opportunities within the Twitter community; the technology is far too young for anyone to truly comprehend the future ramifications of the tool. But Twitterville is a fantastic first step in that direction. It is a book which is chalkful of insightful ideas and positive concepts, that showcase ideas that promote the community rather than exploit it.

If you are small business looking to engage with your clients on Twitter, take the time to seek out _Twitterville_.