This review was first published by Booklist on November 1, 2016.
Luckett and Casey are established authorities in the world of social media. If anyone can help us understand this digitally connected world, it’s them—and they don’t disappoint. They propose that the best way to comprehend the nature of social media is through the model of the seven characteristics of biological life. The book offers a deeply informed and nuanced portrait of the social-media landscape, supported by numerous examples. Although the outlook is hopeful, the authors clearly recognize the pitfalls and dangers social media presents and argue that we must guide its development if we want to make it better. The title implies that this will be a practical how-to manual for anyone who wants to take advantage of social media. It’s not. This is an overarching theory of social media, spanning disciplines from biology to anthropology to business to computer science. Whether or not you agree with their vision for what social media can be and do, this work offers a compelling model to understand what social media is.