Thursday, February 12, 2009

Does Larry Weber Get the Social Web?

Back when the first edition of Larry Weber's book "Marketing to the Social Web" was published in 2007, I noted that he didn't have a blog.

Now, there's a second edition out, and still, Larry has his minions blogging about the book on his behalf, and shooting YouTube videos for him.

After a quick glance today, it seems that Larry has no Twitter account, no Facebook account, and no MySpace account. (There are other Larry Webers on MySpace and Facebook, but not the famous social media guru.)

I guess it's possible to really understand this stuff in the abstract, without really using it?

Here is Larry's first YouTube video, to promote the book. Does this count as social media, or is it really just a TV commercial?

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Anonymous Dharmesh Shah said...

Interesting contrast to the "inbound marketing" video:

Both are about next-generation marketing, and both are actually marketing something. But, very, very different.

February 12, 2009 10:53 AM  
Blogger Chuck Tanowitz said...

I think you need some involvement to understand it. I know that I didn't full understand Twitter until I tried it out. Especially since most of these technologies are about developing a voice. I still gain insights from my personal involvement that I can apply to my professional life.

But on the other side, do you need thousands of followers to be good at utilizing social media in your marketing?

February 12, 2009 2:26 PM  
Blogger POPS said...

i agree with your skepticism. he's like a coach who never played ball.

February 12, 2009 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Kyle Austin said...

Scott – I wouldn’t consider myself Larry’s protégé or one of his minions, but I guess I’ll take it as a somewhat backhanded complement. I’ll take POPS’ coaching analogy and run with it. Let’s look at football. I’d say there are about 50 percent of NFL coaches that have no NFL playing experience. Does that make them bad NFL coaches? Belichick never played in the NFL…

Larry may not participate within social media today, but he’s lived the media for the last three decades. While I don’t necessarily agree with some of his ideas (CEO’s not blogging), if you listen to him talk about the evolution of media and read his book – he gets it. I think a lot of that comes from understanding where the media is coming from, in order to understand where it’s going to.


February 12, 2009 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyle, you do know that Belichek comes from a famous football family and was somewhat of a college football legend?

From his official bio, "Belichick lettered in football, lacrosse and squash while attending college at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. He earned three letters in football while competing at center and tight end."

Scott's point stands: it's odd that Weber fancies himself an expert at tools he himself doesn't use (and likely doesn't understand in the way a hands-on user would).

February 13, 2009 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All one has to do is view the video and realize that Larry Webber doesn't understand social media. Facebook matters? No kidding!!! Thanks for the update.

The coaching analogy doesn't work either. You need to be a talented athlete to compete in football. Everyone can participate in social media. That's kind of the point behind it.

So the question remains: why does Larry Webber decide against participating in the subject he's decided to write a book about???

He's claiming to be an expert yet he's never tweeted, doesn't use Facebook or even blog. I don't even understand why he wouldn't. What's his explanation???

February 13, 2009 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry makes money for a living. He cares just enough about the medium to turn a profit, no more, no less.

February 13, 2009 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Kyle Austin said...

Hi Anonymous #1 - If you're going to criticize someone for not using digital or social media tools, I would think you’d leave your name. The purpose of comments in general is to further the conversation and that's tough to do without knowing who you are speaking to. It’s also just proper digital etiquette – which I found out the tough way earlier in my career.

I was fully aware that Belichick played in college and was a very good player, although not at the Division 1 level. That was my point for bringing it up. Like Belichick, Larry may not have spent the earlier part of his life & career in social media, but he has lived the media for the last three decades. He built one of the largest global communications companies in the world in Weber Shandwick and on the technology side – he’s the founder and Chairman of the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange, the nation’s largest interactive advocate association.

Larry may not use all the tools (I know he uses LinkeIn and Facebook however), but that’s not the point. He’s an expert on this evolutionary shift to the Social Web, not the physical execution of using the tools on a day-to-day basis. That’s why he sat down with those people that are at the forefront of these tools, like Jeremy Allaire and Jimmy Wales. They bring the real-life examples, implementation and day-to-day execution insight to the pages.


February 13, 2009 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Larry Weber said...

Hi Scott, thanks for keeping up with me. Your copy of the book is in the mail. Enjoy! -Larry

February 13, 2009 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Apolinaras "Apollo" Sinkevicius said...

My criteria for any expert is that you must be an expert USER in order for your opinions to have any value to me. Larry Weber fails this rule, hence his "expertise" has no value to me.

February 13, 2009 4:21 PM  
Anonymous John Stack said...

Dharmesh, the video was great and perhaps the single redeeming aspect of this thread. In a funny way, it really drives the point home that companies have to leverage as many mediums as possible to get their message out and bring leads in.

As for whether or not Larry gets the sweb, who cares? 30K on a first edition, bully for him! A second one coming out? Hmmm.

People who are truly interested in knowing how to get SMM done in an effective manner will pull from a variety of sources, some good, and some bad, some truly inspiring, and some posers.

Quite selfishly Scott, I like your blog the most when you're publishing inspirational successes, thought provoking pieces to help people avoid failure and embrace opportunities as opposed to drawing attention to stuff like this. Mr. Weber is one guy amongst thousands.

February 18, 2009 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Kathy O'Reilly said...

On the flip side, book authors like David Meerman Scott ( and Dan Schawbel ( actually do walk the walk when professing their social media expertise. Both have loyal followings on Twitter and countless blog subscribers. These guys dish out great advice on how to make the most of social media. Or follow @mashable @hubspot on Twitter. Great articles, comments, feedback - all for free. Enjoyed your piece.

February 18, 2009 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very late to the thread, but what Larry Weber is saying about social media has been known for a while...and I'm pretty certain he wasn't the visionary behind his "common sense" claims regarding social media; instead of buying his book (where proceeds probably go straight into his wallet), why not read about social media/social web/trends for free online...just about anywhere, where you'll get the perspective of a non-PR exec (who undoubtedly tries to sell client prospects on "common sense" social media initiatives).

February 19, 2009 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Anonymous. The one above me.

February 19, 2009 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on the stimulating video, I'm wondering if Mr. Weber came up with his compelling and unique thoughts on his own or if he borrowed them and simply neglected to attribute them to Forrester.

February 19, 2009 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on your defense of Weber, I would classify you as one of his minions

February 19, 2009 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Former RPG Client said...

I have worked with Racepoint and heard Larry Weber speak on multiple occasions - I was never impressed. If his knowledge and track record were even a fraction of his ego the W2 group would be a smashing success... If you heard Larry speak..let me guess.. He took credit for the success of Lotus Notes... ummm.. he had some story about kids texting so much they were growing bigger thumbs. ummmm.. He pretended that he knew everything despite not having the slightest clue what you were talking about.

February 24, 2009 5:37 PM  

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