FREE SPEECH ZONE | The Dragonfly Effect: 2010 winter addition to Henn Cty library


The Dragonfly Effect: 2010 winter addition to Henn Cty library; book looks at psychology of social media.

Reviewed by Nicholas P Heille

Jan. 17, 2011

The heart of The Dragonfly Effect is the “why” of social media, the likes of Facebook and Twitter.  Co-author Jennifer Aaker, uses her expertise as a social psychologist and marketer to demonstrate the importance emotions, especially happiness, to engage of users of social media. 

Like the four wings of a dragonfly, that allow it to hover dart land and takeoff, the book covers four principles of the psychology of social media: focus, attention grabber, engagement, and action.  Focus, keep it simple; attention grabber, use imagery that is original, simple, and grounded; engagement, tell a personal story; and, encourage the user of social media to take action.

Free Speech Zone
The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases.

The authors use recognized examples of social media, like President Obama’s Campaign, as well as student projects, from classroom work at Stanford University’s School of Business, to illustrate their principles.  While President Obama’s election is the best known, this reviewer was impressed with a lesser known, but very powerful example, of the use of social media done by the public affairs officer of the U.S. 7th Fleet.

On July 8, 2009, as the USS Shiloh, a guided missile cruiser of the U.S. 7th Fleet, steamed to port in Yokosuka, Japan, a crewmember fell overboard.  Regular navel channels of communication, which often take days or weeks, were too cumbersome to let those who waited to welcome the Shiloh know about the event.  The 7th Fleet’s public affairs officer, Commander Jeff Davis, decided to use the Fleet’s Facebook page to communicate the tragedy.  Facebook was quick and simple. Within minutes, the news swept through the people at port, who awaited the Shiloh.  The Shiloh was able to communicate its loss; and, let them know of their efforts to search for the lost crewmember.  Within days, the Shiloh’s Facebook page became a forum of action, where its readers were able share their messages and feelings of condolence.

The Dragonfly Effect is a great weekend read about the “why” of the psychology of the emotions, especially happiness, in effective social media.  As the authors quote Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

(The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith; John Wiley & Sons; 2010).